Friday, December 18, 2015

#BookReview: What is Your True Zodiac Sign? by Greenstone Lobo

On the jacket:

What if what you thought all your life to be your zodiac sign was Wrong? People who think they are Arians, could actually have their Sun in Pisces. More than three quarters of the world's population have been assuming the wrong zodiac sign. Can 12 types capture the mind-boggling diversity of personalities in the world? Astronality-186 systematically demonstrates that the various permutations and combinations of Sun, Mercury and Moon, correctly placed, create 186 distinct personalitytypes, not just 12. Which of the 186 types are You? Narendra Modi is not just a meticulous and hard-working Virgo, but also a zealous and decisive Scorpio, aka VirScorp. Salman Khan is not a stuffy, politically correct and conservative Capricorn, but an outspoken, passionate and rebellious Scorpio-Sagittarius-Aquarius ie, ScorpSagAqua. Sachin Tendulkar is not a bull-headed Taurean, but a forceful, powerful, playful yet down-to-earth AriSagPisces. Barack Obama is not a flamboyant and arrogant Leo, but a sensitive yet tough TauCan. Etc... Know your true zodiac sign and understand the psyche of the people who matter in your life. 


I like to read about sun signs. Well, no. I like to read about my own sun sign. I am a Virgo and pretty pleased about it. If you ask me why I am interested in horoscopes, I will tell you that almost all my traits match with what a Virgo is supposed to be. And that makes me feel very special. Also, that when the same traits match with other Virgo friends, there is an unspoken bond that is formed. As if, we belong together.
So, when this book came for review, I obviously jumped to the occasion. I love to read about traits, compatibility, etc.

But when this book came, I was thrown off my chair. As per this book, I am a Leo which didn't please me at all. I was sure there is not a single trait in me which is similar to the Leo. Yet, this book claimed that our horoscopes are different to what we have always believed it to be. So, now what?

Armed with curiosity and determined to find fault with the author's claims, I sat with this thick book. I read the introduction chapters which explained the rest of the content page. You see, according to Lobo, we are all combinations of sings. I am not an out and out Virgo. Or, a Leo. This is what grabbed my attention. When I had picked up the book, I'd decided to read Virgo's section and then skim through the book. But now, I read every word and actually needed to sit back and think. The book has been a great eye opener. My entire outlook towards myself as well as others has changed. 

A must read.

Rating: ****/5

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

#BookReview: The Bestseller She Wrote by Ravi Subramanian

On the jacket:

He was a bestseller She wanted him to make her one. Paperback king, Aditya Kapoor life is straight out of a modern man's fantasy. His literary stardom is perfectly balanced by a loving wife and a spectacular career. With everything he touches turning to gold, Aditya is on a winning streak. Shreya Kaushik is a student with a heart full of ambition. Young, beautiful and reckless, Shreya speaks her mind and obsessively chases after what she wants. And what she wants is to be a bestselling author. What happens when their worlds collide? Is it possible to love two people at the same time? Can real ambition come in the way of blind passion? Can trust once broken, be regained? Master storyteller Ravi Subramanian, delves into the glitzy world of bestsellers and uncovers a risky dalliance between a superstar novelist and his alluring protege. The Bestseller She Wrote is a combustible cocktail of love, betrayal and redemption.


I have been reading Ravi Subramaniam from the time he wrote his first book and quite like him. He is probably the only Indian author of recent times I have read all the books of. When I heard that he is trying his hand in a new genre of writing, I was highly impressed. It being a romantic thriller, made it more interesting. Moreover, when men write romance, I pay attention. The emotions are different and a totally new approach can be seen from how women approach romance. Well, that is my personal opinion. Nevertheless, when I picked up The Bestseller She Wrote, it was with a lot of expectations.
As the blurb suggests, the novel revolves around Aditya, Shreya and Maya. Aditya is a banker with an MNC, who is also India's most celebrated writer. He attends important boardroom meetings during the day and writes bestsellers at night. When he goes to give a talk at his Alma Matar, one student dares to cut him short and accuse him to making a commodity out of a book which is an insult to the book and the hard work behind it. Egos clash, though not for long. A friendship is formed after Shreya reads Aditya's book and becomes a fan.
As fate would have it (with a little help from Aditya's friend), Shreya joined Aditya's bank as a trainee. What started off as a casual friendship, turned into flirting, and before Aditya knew, he was cheating his family for an illicit affair with someone much younger to him.
Aditya has it all. A succefful banker, a celebrated author, a lovely wife, a great son, a flat stomach despite not working out and being a banker - what else could one want. He was perfect on paper. But he was a cheat. As is the thing with cheating and lying, they start of as harmless but turn into something evil. To cut the story short, Aditya's wife Maya finds out about the affair, throws him out, almost dies, still doesn't forgive him and all this while Shreya had turned into a conniving girlfriend who was blackmailing him. Suspense builds up and what happens next is a question one keeps asking at the turn of every page.
The book that Shreya wrote had gathered my interest. The publisher, at one point, tells Aditya she thinks that the same draft had been sent to her before and she’d read it earlier. One wonders if there is some mystery behind it. The title of the book and Shreya’s behavior around it, piqued my curiosity. But that angle was not dwelt into later.
What I really liked was how much potential the climax had. The book is definitely a page turn. Ravi’s style of writing is flawless and he is no doubt a good story teller. He managed to create an antagonist out of his protagonist and bring him back to being the good guy again.
These very things also didn’t work for me. The story’s climax was gold. It had so much potential. But, in my opinion, it fell flat. The actual antagonist’s character didn’t really have any negative shades. Of course, it is a thriller and the antagonist needs to be revealed only in the end, but even in flashback, not much was shown. I was half expecting that Sanjay and Maya were in it together, but was pretty disappointed to see I was wrong. Ravi is a good writer. And frankly, I expected new characters from him. Not characters who are influenced by real life celebrated authors, or what was even worse in my opinion, real life characters, editors, being a part of the plot. The plot is a work of fiction; it’s nice if the characters are too.
I am a picky reader, the editor in me dissects the content while I read. So what bothered me, might not bother a lot of readers, of course. If you are planning to read a decent thriller, have a few hours to spare and are looking for a light read, you’ll like The Bestseller She Wrote. Because, one needs to know what happens when an author becomes a characters in someone else’s story.

Rating: ***.5/5

I am reviewing ‘The Bestseller She Wrote’ by Ravi Subramanian as a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!

Saturday, December 12, 2015

#BookReview: When Our Worlds Collide by Aniesha Brahma

On the jacket:

Akriti has led a pretty much sheltered life. 

Zayn has been shuttled from city to city when he was growing up.  She is comfortable watching her life from the sidelines.  He wants to feel rooted to a place he can call ‘home’.  They meet each other quite by chance.  And both seize the chance to be someone they both need in their lives: For Zayn, it’s a 'Partner-In-Crime'.  For Akriti, someone who just knows how to be there for her…  When their worlds collide,  It is not what either of them expected it to be.  Zayn has a steady girlfriend. And Akriti has a crush on him.  What happens when these two become friends?  The biggest adventure of their lives? Or the road to heartbreak?  What happens when two completely different people collide?  Do they become friends? Or, is their friendship doomed from the start?  'When Our Worlds Collide' is the story of two twenty-three-year olds, Who are finally growing up and finding their feet in the world.  A tale of friendship and love, crushes and betrayals, messes and second chances,  Marriage and divorce… and the elusive happily ever after!


Two young people from very different worlds cross path without knowing that they will meet again. And when they do meet again, what happens is beautiful. No, this is not a chic-lit. This is also not a happily ever after story. It is what the title of the story suggests - about worlds of two people colliding. 
I will be very frank, I sat to read this book, ready to find flaws. Why? The cover pic is too pretty for the story to be flawless. I have not read Brahma's previous books so for me, this is her first book. But, going by what I read, this is the writing of a seasoned author. 
Aakriti comes from a broken home and lives with her mother. After her masters, she chooses to run her mother's cafe as it gives her the opportunity to hide from the world. Zayn has lived across multiple cities of the country; they were always on the move. As a result, he had never found his hold and a place to call home. Both came with their own insecurities when one day, they met after years, through a common friend. What conspires is mainly friendship, with a hope of something more. However, life isn't simple for any of us, is it? Neither is it so in a story.
The characters are most interesting. I think Brahma's strongest point is characterization. She's created them and given them life. Be it Aakriti's mother, her estranged father and his new family, her help in the cafe Abdul, his cousin and her friends, Zayn, or Nimmi - in every scene I felt like they are around me and the dialogues are being exchanged right in front of me. 
Brahma's other strong point just might be keeping the plot realistic. I personally keep a watch for places in the plots where my mind goes - whaaaaat? how is that even possible? - and I was ready to do that, but alas! there was not a single scope. While the end disappointed me initially because I was expecting something (our minds have been seasoned to expect only the obvious) but once the end registered in my mind, I actually like it!
I will not delve into the story any more. I plan to read it again soon, and before that, I hope you have read it to!

Rating: ****/5

[A copy of this e-book was provided to me by the author as a part of the blog tour by B00k R3vi3ws Tour. Views expressed in this review are my own nonetheless.]


About the Book
Akriti has led a pretty much sheltered life. 
Zayn has been shuttled from city to city when he was growing up. 
She is comfortable watching her life from the sidelines. 
He wants to feel rooted to a place he can call ‘home’. 
They meet each other quite by chance. 
And both seize the chance to be someone they both need in their lives: 
For Zayn, it’s a 'Partner-In-Crime'. 
For Akriti, someone who just knows how to be there for her… 
When their worlds collide, 
It is not what either of them expected it to be. 
Zayn has a steady girlfriend. And Akriti has a crush on him. 
What happens when these two become friends? 
The biggest adventure of their lives? Or the road to heartbreak? 
What happens when two completely different people collide? 
Do they become friends? Or, is their friendship doomed from the start? 
'When Our Worlds Collide' is the story of two twenty- three-year olds, Who are finally growing up and finding their feet in the world. 
A tale of friendship and love, crushes and betrayals, messes and second chances, Marriage and divorce… and the elusive happily ever after! 

Book Links

Character Interview: Suzanna & Surbhi

Suzanna: Why am I stuck in an interview with Surbhi? She’s a minor character! 
Surbhi: A minor character who is a catalyst! 

Is there anything you do not like about your characters?

Surbhi: Yes. I don’t like how she doesn’t judge people. Isn’t that not human?
Suzanna: No. I loved my character to a T.

Do you have a favorite scene in When Our Worlds Collide?

Surbhi: Sure. I love the fact I slip drinks to people. 
Suzanna: I kind of love the fact I am a one-woman force behind Poetry Slams. 

Do you have a favorite character, besides yourselves, in the book?

Surbhi: Sure. I love Esha. Even though I do not get a scene with her.
Suzanna: I like both Akriti and Zayn. In fact, I really love those two kids. 

Why do you think people should read When Our Worlds Collide?

Surbhi: Because they’re bored out of their minds?
Suzanna: Nice, Surbhi. *rolls eyes* I think they should read it because it is a coming of age story. And because it tells you right from the start that it is not always about the happy ending. Sometimes, it is about the story.

Do you think either of you will feature in subsequent sequels to this novella?

Surbhi: Pfffftttt!!!
Suzanna: It’s really too early to say. 

About the Author

Aniesha Brahma knew she wanted to be a writer since she was six years old. She was schooled in Dolna Day School and went on to pursue B.A., M.A., and M.Phil in Comparative Literature from Jadavpur Univeristy. She currently lives in Kolkata, with her family and five pet cats. The Secret Proposal was her debut novel, followed by The Guitar Girl. She was a contributing author with her story The Difference, in the anthology: Voices, Old & New. When Our Worlds Collide is her third work of fiction, and first novella.

Stalk Links


Prize 1: One really Lucky Indian Resident can win a Handmade Book Jacket made by Diptee Raut of DIP & DIY


As Diptee says, its ideal to ~ "Keep your books cozy and warm and away from prying eyes with this book cover. A classy way to carry your book to your favourite coffee shop/library/park for a quiet read."

Prize 2: One really Lucky Indian Resident can win a  Surprise gift from the Author 

Lets keep you guessing ;) Rest assured, it is going to be something pretty!

Check out the Tour Stops

#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...