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.

#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...