Wednesday, October 19, 2016 2 Comments

Book Review: The Secret Diary of Kasturba by Neelima Dalmia Adhar

Finished reading "The Secret Dairy of Kasturba" by Neelima Dalmia Adhar (Westland Books).

About the author:

Neelima Dalmia Adhar divides her time between writing and pursuing her interest in Poetry, Hindu Philosophy and the Paranormal. Her first book, a one-of-its-kind biography on her father titled Father Dearest, the life and Times of RK Dalmia, is a widely acclaimed bestseller that made it to several international lists and earned her critical acclaim. Her second book, Merchants of Death, a highly controversial work of fiction also rode the bestseller charts for a sustained period of time.

The book says some intriguing things:

"I don't know what evil resides in me" he wrote to a friend, "I have a streak of cruelty in me that compels people to attempt the impossible in order to please me."

He is the Mahatma, a man the world venerates as a prophet of peace, but for Kasturba, the child bride who married the boy next door, Mohandas was a sexually driven, self righteous, and over bearing husband.

The Secret Dairy of Kasturba is a brave attempt by the author. This book voices Kartuba's feeling. How she managed with a dominating husband who was loving but couldn't trust her. Supportive but unreasonable at times.

The book starts when Kasturba is on her death bed, and it beautifully moves towards her birth, carefree childhood, early marriage full of romance, and then her tough married life and motherhood. The language is crisp and beautiful (two words, Sweet and Beloved, were repetitive and a little irritating, but considering the setting and the time, I thought it was okay). I loved the way Kasturba expresses her anger and frustration wordlessly. Just screaming inwardly. We all do that, sometimes.

"Why was he embarking on a journey of penance and celibacy oblivious of the people he would inadvertently victimize, wound and mutilate on the way. Who has given you the authority to enforce a ruling on me that affects me with such a cruel, brutal force, without my consent? Who?

While the book is skillfully crafted, I can't say it's flawless. There are certain things that bothered me. First, the POV. The book is written in diary form thus in the first person, but it is omniscient, seemed more or less Mahatma Gandhi's biography. I understand that people tell us about certain incidents (thus we know about those incidents even when we are not present there), but it was odd to read some intimate moments of her son's life from Kasturba's point of view which I doubt he would have told her.

Then, the author has mentioned 'a lone, naked bulb suspended from a frayed wire from the ceiling lights up the dingy room'

I don't think in the year 1885, in India, in a town like Rajkot, in a brothel, we can expect/imagine a wired bulb (electricity, precisely). So, this line acted as a brake. But, as I have said before, this book is boldly and beautifully crafted, so such thoughts didn't affect my reading but it did stir a thought.

The book is enlightening and shocking at times. Kasturba's anxiety and longing for her sons are nicely expressed. For me, reading this book was a learning experience. In my opinion, The Secret Diary of Kasturba is a must read for any book lover.

I thank Westland Books for sending me the review copy in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, October 17, 2016 0 Comments

Writing Romance? Four Things To Avoid.

Romance novels. They bring a smile on my face. Yes, it’s my favourite genre, but even though I am an avid reader, I can’t read any random romance. Even your favourite genre cannot guarantee entertainment, sometimes.

A reader’s perspective is closely related to a writer’s writing. They go hand in hand. As I was writing my first novel, We Will Meet Again – a love story, I tried to think as a reader, and tried my best to avoid things that I may not like as a reader. I think it worked!

If you are a first-time writer, and writing romance, there are chances that editors and even readers don’t take your work seriously. It’s not to discourage you, but to make you familiar with the fact. I have seen readers dismissing this genre right away. Maybe, they are prejudice against few things (in romance) that don’t go well with their tastes.

What could possibly go wrong? 

Read the full article HERE

If you like reading mature love stories, you will like my book, We Will Meet Again. It's not about insta-love. It's about growing in a relationship. It's not mushy. It's about strong and relatable characters.

You can get my book here @ a super discount! Or get it from Amazon. Or enter giveaway on Goodreads. 

Friday, October 7, 2016 14 Comments

A Gift, So Precious!

A gift, so precious
I lost, hues of life faded
Frozen black and white

Vast emptiness ahead,
Endless path, going nowhere
Where shall I find it?

Sharing with: Haiku My Heart

Thursday, October 6, 2016 0 Comments

Book Review: Graffiti by Joanie Pariera

I received this e-book from Writer's Melon for an honest review.

Graffiti by Joanie Pariera deals about complex relationships and emotions.

Rene sees some weird dreams and thinks her dreams have some meaning (now this was the biggest hook for me). Unexpected break-up with Agni has left her shattered. 

She meets Vipin who is depressed after his wife's death and blames himself for the accident. Then there is Mark who is inexplicably obsessed about Rene and spies on her. Then there is Upi and Hari and Kunal and Subbu and....

This is the biggest problem in this book. There are so many characters and the story seems scattered. For me, it was difficult to keep the track. The author introduces a new character in every chapter. The POV is confusing. Vipin's part is written in first person. Other characters in third person. I didn't get this idea.

I liked the cover! The 'dream' thing disappointed me as it doesn't make the story intriguing as I had expected. Characters and situations are not relatable, and they don't carry the story forward and sometimes seem unnecessary. However, I liked some friendly moments and conversations between Rene and Vipin. The author has expressed the agony of Vipin well.

Some nice reviews call this book hilarious. I didn't find it funny. I don't why it is called 'Sexocomedy'?

Overall, for me, it was not an enjoyable read even though the plot is interesting. I think, it could have been crisp and intriguing if handled and edited well. 

Tuesday, October 4, 2016 2 Comments

In writing, there is no safe zone: Guest Post by Adite Banerjie

Adite Banerjie is a writer. No Safe Zone, her recently released romantic thriller is getting nice reviews. Her screenplay has won first runner up prize in an international contest. Many congratulations, Adite.

Here, she is talking about writing, and switching from romance to thrillers. Welcome to my blog, Adite. The post is all yours.

Writing a new book is always an adventure—much like a journey to a dream destination.  It begins on a high note. The preparations are full of excitement. You plot and plan, find out as much as you can about the best places to visit, the routes to take, the things to pack. You are dreaming all the fun things you are going to do. You chart out your trip meticulously. And then the D-day arrives. You are off on your trip.  And then, reality bites. Real journeys always pan out a bit differently from the one that you had charted in your head. Even the most meticulously planned trip will throw up some unexpected twists and turns. But if you are a seasoned traveler you buckle up and enjoy the ride.

That sums up the process of writing a new book.  When an idea grabs you and won’t let go, you are flying high. For a while you are in uncharted territory, almost like driving down a new road, without a map or a compass, reveling in the wind in your hair and the sun on your face. Nothing can beat that tremendous rush of feeling. Like real life journeys, writing too needs a lot of planning and plotting. And that’s when the doubts begin to set in. You begin to opt for safety rather than taking those risks. Why go for something untried and untested? Why not stay in your comfort zone?

As a writer, romance has been my ‘comfort zone’. Exploring the highs and lows of relationships through fiction has perhaps come a little more easily to me than any other kind of fiction. On the other hand, I have always been an avid reader of thrillers. Adrenaline pumping action movies are as close to my heart as mushy romantic films. A good action plot has always appealed to me. The kind that has a compelling hook, draws you into the story and doesn’t let go. The ever-present danger. The tension between hope and fear, leading up to a high-octane finale. I wondered if I would be able to pull it off.

To make things a bit easy on myself—I guess you cannot totally discard your comfort zone :)--I decided to experiment with the genre of romantic suspense or romantic thriller.  And that’s how No Safe Zone was born.

One of the biggest challenges was to figure out the right balance of suspense and romance. It required a lot of drafts and many, many rewrites to get it right. And of course feedback from my editor and beta readers helped me to navigate my story without getting totally lost.

If there is one thing I learnt from the experiment it is this: in writing, there is no safe zone. All the planning will take you up to a certain point and then you have to simply dive in at the deep end and risk the consequences. Believe me, it can be one heck of a thrilling ride!

Saturday, October 1, 2016 0 Comments

Book Review: 03:02 by Mainak Dhar

I got this book from Writer’s Melon for an honest review.

It was supposed to be a different read. 03:02 by Mainak Dhar (Westland Books) is a science/action fiction. It’s been long since I read any science fiction. I read some really nice reviews, and thought to give it a try. Recently, I have realized that it’s good to experiment with the genre. I have got some wonderful reading surprises!

Okay, coming back to this book. 

After celebrating his promotion till midnight, Aditya wakes up at 03:02 a.m. to find complete darkness, switched off mobile and not working fridge. Assuming it a normal power cut, he goes back to sleep. 7 in the morning, nothing has changed. Everything has stopped working even elevators and automobiles. 

Can this be considered as normal power cut? There’s definitely something serious! What went wrong? Who’s behind this, and why? Someone whose intention is definitely dangerous. 

The book is all about unfolding these mysteries, chasing the troubles and fighting with them.

Sounds intriguing? It does! And it is.

The book started off really well. I was eager to know what was this all about, thinking 'what next'. But, after some pages it becomes very slow and repetitive. It’s not uneventful. So many things happen but these things seem like a whirlwind. Whirling at the same place, going nowhere. And, this made my mind whirling with so many questions. Such stories need to be fast paced, but here, 150 pages and there is no lead, no cues.

The writing is good, but I didn’t think it’s very intelligent, especially in the first half (Or maybe I didn’t get that as several things go unexplained).

For example, nothing is working, but someone manages to start the generator, and the elevator starts working. Interestingly, no one in the nearby society is eager to know that how people of Aditya’s society have managed to do so! Just two days of power cut and everyone is just concerned about water and food supplies. Come on! We keep our kitchen stocked enough to manage for couple of days, don’t we?  We have gas cylinders to prepare foods. 

People  are looting and killing for food supplies (even guards of a politician!). There are several shops (not just electronically operated malls) where people can easily buy goods. They are thinking about fetching water from swimming pools! If generator can work, then why can’t motors work for water storage? A woman suggests to grow their own foods in the garden! And, Aditya’s feels that she is a genius! I mean really? No one is trying to approach the authorities to know what actually went wrong?

The author has tried to prove that everyone except Aditya is dumb. Everyone needs Aditya’s lecture to realize what’s wrong or right in this difficult situation (an elderly man is reading novel lighting his torch until Aditya lectures. A politician refuses to cooperate until someone lectures). Everyone is coming to Aditya’s society as if it was a refugee camp. I wondered why that person who started the generator was not trying to start another generator in the society nearby.

It was so disturbing. Sometimes, it seems like a moral/social story.

There’s no strong female character with prominent role, still I liked the character of Megha and the way her relationship with Aditya burgeons slowly.

As I said the writing is good. The plot/theme of the book is unique. It is packed with action and insights. So if you like action thrillers/science fiction, (It didn’t give me the feel of science fiction though) you may like it. Going by the wonderful reviews, you should try this! For me, it was a confusing read (And the confusion killed the excitement), But that's just me.

Thursday, September 29, 2016 2 Comments

Book Review: Metro Diaries 2 by Namrata

Image result for metro diaries 2 namrata

Finished reading Metro Diaries 2 by Namrata

The book says, "Give life another chance. Laugh a little longer. let go of your past. Hold onto what you love. In short LIVE rather than just exist!"

Metro Diaries 2 is a collection of 20 life stories. The book cover reflects the theme beautifully. That life is a journey and an enthusiastic storyteller. The last story of this book, "The Last Goodbye" is the perfect example of this fact.

'Not all journeys of life take you somewhere, some are meant to mislead so that you know what the right path is!' I loved this thoughtful quotation from the story 'Labour of Love'

Talking about my favourites - I really liked "Magpie of Memories" where Cara, a confused little girl explores her sexuality (and finally finds the destination). Namrata has expressed it beautifully. Then, two stories 'Stain of Love' and 'A Pinch of Love' are short, simple but really beautiful that speak about common yet special relationships. "The Filch" is about friendship and betrayal, and this one is crisp and smartly written. A story with an interesting twist - Veil Thy Love - tells about a very different kind of love, and it left me pleasantly surprised.

When it comes to expressing emotions, Namrata is brilliant. And, the stories here reflect that!

Writing is good, but I have three problems. First, careless editing. I hope it gets rectified and the stories would be more polished then. Second, sometimes it feels more telling than showing. I like stories to be explored through writing and dialogues. In some stories, I missed that. And finally, the voice of the characters. They sound almost same. In other words, they sound like author's expression. But, it is just about preferences, and maybe, it's just me.

Overall, it was a nice, emotional and easy read. Easy because stories are short and make a quick read. If you like short life stories, you will like it. If you have read Namrata before, you will like it. If you haven't, then do read it. You will like it. :)

I received this book from for an unbiased review.