Friday, May 25, 2018

#BookReview : The Shrine of Death by Divya Kumar

On the jacket: 

Prabha Sinha, an IT professional in Chennai, is plunged into a murky world of idol theft, murder, and betrayal after she gets a mysterious phone call one night from her old friend Sneha Pillai. As she races to find answers before the people she loves get hurt, she seeks the help of Jai Vadehra, a troubled young man with a tragic past, and the gorgeous DSP Gerard Ratnaraj of the Idol Wing, CID, whom she can't help but be drawn to. Their search takes them from Chennai's newsrooms and universities to the abandoned sepulchral shrine of a Chola queen in the heartland of Tamil Nadu, and nothing, and no one, is as they seem.


I rarely get to read thrillers by Indian authors so every time there is an opportunity, I try to grab it. Divya Kumar's The Shrine of Death by Divya Kumar is about friendship, relationships, the dark side to personalities, a thesis and an idol theft. Prabha Sinha is an IT professional who after a lot of thinking, has quit her full time job and is in the phase where she isn't sure what she should do next. A mysterious call from her ex-bestfriend throws her off guard since she had not spoken to Sneha in fours years and considering the fallout they both had, the latter would never have called her had it not been very serious. Why had Sneha called Prabha? The call couldn't be completed and Prabha was clueless about what happened. Her concern piqued since Sneha's number was unreachable from after that. She decided to try trace Sneha in person and talk to her. This leads her to her friend's place of work, PhD professor, place of residence and more. In her quest to find her friend, Prabha gets pulled into a web she had not the wildest dream about.

Now, I am not a fan of historical plots. They drag me to a story which apparently has a lot of semblance from the past, but I have no clue about it mostly and most often, I get terribly confused. The first great thing about The Shrine of Death is that this is what the story didn't do. Yes, the base of the plot is historic but here are no pages after pages of descriptive details of uninteresting facts. Kumar has been innovative with the plot and kept multiple storylines, almost all of which are in the present. 
There are decent numbers of characters introduced and all of them add to the story, even if not directly. This, while is a great factor, is also what takes away from the thrill factor. 
The Shrine of Death is a historical thriller yet it did not keep me glued to my seat all through it. The plot kept going in and out of different loops and my mind would wander too. The narration was crisp, however there was a lot of casual Indianised language used in the dialogues which I wasn't quite expecting.
A quick read you'd enjoy, specially if you love mysteries.

Rating: 3.5/4

Friday, May 18, 2018

#BookReview : You Can Achieve More: Live By Design, Not By Default by Shiv Khera

On the jacket:

A person with a positive attitude cannot be stopped and a person with a negative
attitude cannot be helped. Both success and failure have a limited lifespan. Success
is neither a miracle nor a mystery. It does not depend upon special skills, formal
education or superior intelligence. It is the natural outcome of consistently applying
certain principles on an ongoing basis. The ultimate goal is to sustain success and
eliminate failure.

Acquiring facts is knowledge, understanding facts is comprehension, and the proper
application of facts is wisdom. The principles in this book can help you to:

1. Live by design, not by default
2. Gain confidence and optimize your potential
3. Become proactive and develop a winning attitude
4. Balance your health, wealth and relationships
5. Overcome day-to-day problems and make better decisions
6. Make positive choices and avoid pitfalls

The secret to a meaningful life is in your hands. Through inspiring ideas
and basic values, this book will help empower you to Achieve More and
become unstoppable.


The thing about self-help books is that they don't have anything new to say. Yet, they say things which make a lot of sense to whoever is willing to take home something from them. Basics of like which we are all aware of, yet most of us disregard and don't follow, need to be reminded to us time and again. You Can Achieve More  does exactly that.

Now I am not a great fan of self-help books because honestly, I don't like reading something I already know but am also guilty of not implementing. But when I got the chance to read You Can Achieve More, I was at a crossroad where I need to read the very evident and obvious. So a week ago, I picked the book, took my marker along, and went to my favourite cafe to read.
Shiv Khera is synonymous to self-help books and helping people wade through difficult times with encouraging words. You Can Achieve More  is ideal for people who are stuck in crossroads of life, knowing and wanting to achieve more, but being clueless about how to. 
The first thing the book talks about is having a win-win attitude and what stops us from having it. Mostly unknowingly, we all have turned bitter in our lives at some point of time, and our attitudes have gone sour. To achieve more out of life and yourself, one of the most important things is to stay positive. The win-win attitude which is most required depends on our attitude. Again, the books tells us what we know. What is stresses on what we might have forgotten or needed to be reminded. Like when faced with a problem, approach to thinking of the solution and not with the thought of how huge the problem is.
In 23 chapters, Khera has divided all that can stop us from achieving more and explained with examples how we can overcome them to stride towards more achievement. I specially loved the part where he tells how much we have to learn from ants. they care about nobody, but keep moving ahead with a single goal in mind. If there is an obstruction, they either climb or over it or deviate, but they keep on walking. Us humans, we at times stop, bewildered and scared when we have it in us, to keep marching ahead.
If you feel you need some clarity or a push, this is a good book to pick up right away.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

#CoverReveal ~ Corridors of Time by Vinay Krishnan

~ Cover Reveal ~
Corridors of Time by Vinay Krishnan

Corridors of Time tracks the story of a sensitive young man who grows from carefree childhood to eventful manhood - one who stumbles before learning to stride through those dark and dense passages.
Set in Bangalore - a city of paradoxes. of gardens and garbage heaps. of technology and traffic snarls. of friendly people and failing infrastructure. when bungalows had gardens and pavements were meant for pedestrians. this is a narrative of the human spirit.
Rohan, an idealistic young sports lover experiences rejection, dark dejection and isolation and hurtles down the path to self destruction.
Shyla, attractive and successful is everything his heart yearns for and his body desires, except, she is married!
Chandrika, simple and devoted fails to understand the man she loves.
The shuklas long for justice denied by the system.
And khalid fears nothing and no one ...anymore.

About the Author:

Vinay Krishnan describes himself as a ‘complete Bangalorean’. A student of Clarence High School, he graduated in Humanities from St Joseph’s College. Earning a diploma in Business Administration, he began his career at Usha International Ltd and rose to a position of Senior Sales manager. Vinay has now set up a construction firm of his own. He also writes and devotes his time to an NGO assisting people with disability. The city of his dreams, Bangalore, where he stays with his wife and daughter, continues to inspire and exasperate him. He can be reached at –

Praises for the Book:

The book is simple in style and content, for often it is this simplicity that bewilders and rouses Interest.
~ Shri S . Rajendra Babu, Former Chief Justice of India

The book has excellent literary craftsmanship, passion humour and adventure. Highly recommended.
~ Mr. Namboodiri, former Asst. Editor, Deccan Herald

This charming book about old Bangalore is written in a racy easy-to-read style.
~ Deccan Herald, Bangalore

This Cover Reveal is brought to you by Author's Channel in association with b00k r3vi3ws

Thursday, December 7, 2017

#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 abandoned her. But now that her father’s married again, Yoshita’s world is turned upside down by her new stepbrother, the ten-year-old true believer, Tanay Mukherjee. 

On his tenth birthday, Tanay makes a wish which whisks them away to a magical land where all the fairy tale characters are real! While Yoshita wants to do nothing but leave this place behind, her stepbrother wants to stay. 

Will the rather unfortunately timed adventure tear the stepsiblings apart or will it play a hand in bringing them closer together? 

Join them on An Awfully BIG Adventure to find out!


It is not unknown that I have great faith in the stories Aniesha writes. I know they will touch my heart.Still, with every new story comes an anticipation of what this will be about and will this book keep up to the expectations. Same happened with An Awfully Big Adventure.

Irrespective of my age, i dig children's stories and enjoy reading and re-reading them. An Awfully Big Adventure also came with a very interesting blurb and an attractive cover pic. Story of to step-siblings, this is different from the ones we are accustomed to reading. While Yoshita has grown out of fairy tales, Tanay is in the ripe age of believing in them. He makes a wish which take him and his sister Yoshita to a land of magic.

Aniesha has taken a story of two siblings who are put together by fate, and then taken on an adventure against the wish of one of them, put them inside a fairy tale and included real time situation of there relationship being tested. Not a very long read, the author has put together a story all lovers of magical tales will devour. Going by the kind of weather there is across the country these days, An Awfully Big Adventure is an ideal read for this holiday season.

Aniesha Brahma wanted to be an author since she was six years old. She was born and raised in Kolkata, India. She studied in Dolna Day School and completed her college degrees (including MPhil) in Comparative Literature from Jadavpur University. She works as a social media strategist/marketing executive, is the founder and editor of BUZZ Magazine and blogs (almost) regularly at Her debut novel was The Secret Proposal. It was followed by The Guitar Girl, When Our Worlds Collide and All Signs Lead Back to You. She has also worked on children’s books like P.C. Chandra’s Awesome Four and General Press’ Children’s Classic Stories. She was part of the UK-India 2017 India Wales’ The Valley, City and Village (VCV) Project and a speaker at Hay Festival 2017. Aniesha is extremely active on social media and you can get in touch with her by writing to her at

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

#BookReview: A House for Mr. Misra by Jaishree Misra

On the blurb:

‘Whatever came over me? Agreeing to move to the other side of the world was mad enough but to build a house slap bang against one of the widest, wildest oceans in the world?’
And so begins a journey of hope and anxiety as the author and her husband, the phlegmatic Mr M, set off to build their beachside home in Kerala. The obstacles are many and mostly unexpected, like neighbours waving cutlasses over the wall, venomous snakes and mercenary union men at the gate, not to mention a large and complicated piece of legislation called the Coastal Regulation Zone.
Obstacles, however, are meant to be overcome and so they are, with some quick thinking and a few helpful friends, an honest cop and an equally straight-talking scientist, and Excel sheets pulled up on demand to outwit corrupt builders. All of which make for a great story, filled with laughter and despair, and sharp yet good-humoured insights into the Malayali way of life.


I'd read Jaishree Misra a few years ago and quite loved the book. i've often wondered if she'd written more but never got around to read any more of her work. Recently, I saw the cover of A House for Mr Misra and I was sold. What a beautiful cover. Not only is it attractive, if made me wonder and wonder what the story is about!

Coming to the story, it begins with a couple who have come back to live in India and are on a lookout of a house they'd want to buy and make their own space. The story has been written in an autobiographical manner and revolves around the Misras - the author and her husband, and their house in Kerala. 

Back to India from London, the couple decide to settle in Trivandrum, the author's hometown. The house they fall in love with and want to buy comes with a lot of baggage and issues. The story goes back and forth in time and a lot of if from the past, the present if when the house is being bought and remodelled as per their requirements. From resistance coming from local goons against buying the house, to rules and regulations regarding construction they were to undertake to remodel the house - the story takes you through life in Kerala in a very beautiful manner. 

A short, breezy and entertaining read this book is something I'd happily refer to someone as a sunny, winter afternoon read.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

#BookReview: Turtles All The Way Down

On the jacket:

Sixteen-year-old Aza never intended to pursue the mystery of fugitive billionaire Russell Pickett, but there’s a hundred-thousand-dollar reward at stake and her Best and Most Fearless Friend, Daisy, is eager to investigate. So together, they navigate the short distance and broad divides that separate them from Russell Pickett’s son, Davis.

Aza is trying. She is trying to be a good daughter, a good friend, a good student, and maybe even a good detective, while also living within the ever-tightening spiral of her own thoughts. 

In his long-awaited return, John Green, the acclaimed, award-winning author of Looking for Alaska and The Fault in Our Stars, shares Aza’s story with shattering, unflinching clarity in this brilliant novel of love, resilience, and the power of lifelong friendship.


“The worst part of being truly alone is you think about all the times you wished that everyone would just leave you be. 
Then they do, and you are left being, and you turn out to be terrible company.” 

I love how John Green writes. He is one of my writer goals. While I love his style of writing, I must also admit that his stories leave my exhausted and overwhelmed. Yet as it happens every time  book of his releases, I must read them, to soak in his style of writing. Like all the books I have read before, Turtles All The Way Down too left me anxious and stunned.

Th cover of the book is unlike any John Green book, while his overs usually are really attractive. What made up for the unattractive cover is the  jacket poster on the inside of the jacket. However, as you read the book, you begin to realise why the cover looks like it does and after some time it starts to make sense. 

Aza and Daisy, her best friend, on Daisy's insistence embark on a journey to find  Russell Picket whose son, she'd studied with. Teenagers with eloquent vocabularies with lifelong friendships, fighting existential crisis are common to John Green novels and here too we have Aza, trying to deal with her issues.  She and her best friend decide to take part in finding a rich man who seems to have disappeared. The characters are relatable and the friendships enviable. Aza Holmes are her fight with mental illness, trying so hard to be the best she could be - I wish I'd read both her when I was 16. 

It's been a day since I've finished reading the book and I am still overwhelmed. If you are a John Green fan, you must've already read the book. If you haven't, go grab it. The six year wait has been well worth it.

Monday, November 6, 2017

#BookReview: The Boys Who Fought: The Mahabharata for Children by Devdutt Pattanaik

On the jacket:

‘When you can fight for the meek without hating the mighty, you follow dharma.’
In the forest, the mighty eat the meek. In human society, the mighty should take care of the meek. This is dharma. A hundred princes should look after their five orphaned cousins. Instead, they burnt their house, abused their wife and stole their kingdom. The five fought back, not for revenge but, for dharma. What came of the hundred’s fight against the five?
India’s favourite mythologist brings to you this charmingly illustrated retelling of the Mahabharata that is sure to illuminate and enthrall a new generation of readers.


My oldest memory of the Mahabharata was a picture book, sort of a comic with pictures and text next to them, which my father used to read out to me when I couldn't read. It was a post lunch ritual. It was read out to me so many times that I remembered the story by the pictures and if he even skipped a page or two out of boredom from reading it every day, I knew he'd skipped a part! I still remember all the pictures of the book - it, along with few other such books, was my first introduction to Hindu mythology.
That was in the 80s. Ever since, I've never seen the great stories simplified for children, or maybe children now aren't read the stories any more. Either way, Devdutt Pattanaik has made knowing, reading and enjoying these stories easier and more enjoyable with his art of precise storytelling and all the artwork.
In The Boys Who Fought, Pattanaik has told the story in his signature style with animated sketches which not only enthral but also captivated. Each page also has important tidbits and information which, because written separately, have more impact on the mind. Pages also have these boxes where children will derive basic yet important moral science lessons from. Pattanaik has also included in the book, information pertaining to different versions of the Mahabharata wherever applicable. The story is told in its broad sense and is ideal to acquaint children to the crux of the story. As they grow older, they can be introduced to the finer sections of the story.
Rating: 4.5/5

#BookReview : The Shrine of Death by Divya Kumar

On the jacket:  Prabha Sinha, an IT professional in Chennai, is plunged into a murky world of idol theft, murder, and betrayal aft...