Book Review: Once Upon a Time in College by Gumlat Maio

I just read Once Upon a Time in College by Gumlat Maio.
Here is what I thought.

BOOK COVER:

The cover is simple, elegant and catchy. The characters on the cover are extremely cute and I thought it was witty of the author to use illustrative images rather than real people. It gives a more lively, fun vibe.

Cover Rating – 4 / 5

TITLE JUSTIFICATION:

Given that the plot is centering around the emotions and the vibrations of college life, I will say that it is best suited. The title ‘Once Upon a Time in College’ has been written inventively on the cover which adds to the attraction factor.

However, the title did not catch my attention as it didn’t justify the beauty of the plot completely.

Title Rating – 3.5/5

PLOT

The genre is romance and also contains dashes of humour within, but it allows the plot to go deeper that that as well. The credit goes to the author for being able to entwine emotions with depth and a touch of philosophy as well. The main characters ‘Gaam’ and ‘Sonam’ have been portrayed very well. I love the characterization of both these protagonists though my personal favourite of the two is Sonam.

The plot traverses in and around romance while highlighting very important features of college such as the relationship between a senior and a junior, how stress from peers can cause repercussions, the mentality of a college student and the result of impulsive decisions. Now all this concludes on quite a philosophical note, teaching us not one but many lessons along the way.

It was an enjoyable read. The writing style is great with minimal errors and the plot in interesting.

Rating – 4 / 5

OVERALL IMPRESSION:

Anyone who is in the peak of their college lives or would like to relive their varied aspects should definitely read this book for nostalgia and relativity.

Final Rating: 4 / 5
Verdict: Recommended!

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Book Review: The Highway Man by J. Alchem

Usually, when I hear about a book of short stories,  it is usually a collection of 12 – 15 stories. But with this one, I was surprised. It only consisted of three stories and was a pretty short read. So, I’m going to center my review in a detailed manner around these.

Firstly, the synopsis. I was quite disappointed with this mainly because of the grammatical errors. It didn’t manage to capture my attention. But nevertheless, I will add here that the book did hold more surprises than the synopsis did. I would suggest for the author to get a couple of expert opinions before rolling out the synopsis of his next books as that is what draws attention of the readers.

 

 

Second, the cover. This is entirely to each his own which is why I won’t say much but though it was classy, I wasn’t thoroughly impressed. I generally look for two factors – how catchy the cover is and how it connects to the plot. I wish the author chose something like a blend or an abstract form for his cover.

Now, the plot. There are a total of three stories. ‘Catherine‘ shows a side of love that deals with mindless obsession of an author with  a physician. What’s beautiful about this story is how the  author dealt with the ending of the plot. I personally found it quite entertaining and that is the steal of this story.

Sidzy, for a day‘ is a story  between a ‘very much in love’ couple who go out of their way to express their feelings for one another. This was the weak link in the book for me and I personally did not enjoy this story though I am very sure that a lot of people did. However, I did love how the author vividly described the romance between the two characters.

Finally, ‘The Highway Man‘. I heard a lot about how this was the best story of the book and given that the title of the entire book revolves around this one, I was eager to find out. It’s about a widower who copes with life as a single father. I thought it was touching and very moving. The author’s writing style really shone through.

Overall, it was a short and enjoyable read. I definitely recommend it. A special mention to the ‘acknowledgements’ section of this book – It is unlike anything I’ve read before. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Cover Rating – 3.5 / 5
Plot Rating – 4 / 5
Title Rating – 3 / 5

Overall Rating – 4 / 5

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Book Review: Karma by Kevin Missal

I just read Karma by Kevin Missal and found it quite thrilling.

The book cover was fantastic and had an eerie feel to it. It has the vibe of a horror film which made it even more appealing to me. I love the colour combination and the feel of it. Coming to the title,  I have to say it was bang on to the plot. Short, catchy and intriguing. It had all the right elements to it. Also, I have to mention, this being an ‘instaread’, which basically means it’s much smaller than the usual novel, I definitely was excited because I’ve never seen anything quite like it… A tiny book with so much of depth to it. Great job on that.

 

 

Now, the main plot. The blurb behind the book is excellent. It’s very short and creates a lovely anticipatory feeling.  It is a very engaging read about a widower who begins to see his dead wife. What follows is a series of events, twists and lessons that unravel a rather complicated mess. The book leaves you feeling content, yet with a hint of a doubt in your mind, which seems like what the author intended to do with his story.  The writing style is good, the flow is constant and I wasn’t bored anywhere. Another factor to take into consideration is how the author cleverly inter-played a few of our societal issues today, in a caste-based as well as legal mix-and-match. This fits well with the theme.

Overall, it was an enjoyable read, one that takes less than an hour to complete. Definitely money’s worth. I recommend it.

 

Cover: 4/5
Title: 5/5
Plot: 4.5/5
Overall: 4.5/5

Book Review: Twenty Twenty – A Race Against Time by Anuraag Srivastava

I just read Twenty Twenty – A Race Against Time by Anuraag Srivastava.
Here is what I thought.

 

BOOK COVER:

I personally did not like the book cover. It just didn’t seem like a lot of effort was put into it. It is unoriginal and bland. Sadly, this just did not work for me.

Cover Rating – 2.5 / 5

TITLE JUSTIFICATION:

The title is perfect for the plot and the story. I felt that it fit well with the essence of the novel. Time is always something that we have no control over. It slips out of our grasp before we even know it. That justifies the plot as well as the title quite well.

Title Rating – 5/5

PLOT

The genre is Thriller, which is very evident both from the cover and the title. However, there is so much more to the story than just that. The story revolves around two siblings who find themselves caught in a seemingly impossible situation where they have just twenty days to relieve themselves from their own stressful adventure.

The part I loved most about this book is that it has two female protagonists, both portrayed as powerful and sophisticated women who are able to hold their ground. It revolves around the troubles they face, the manipulations they have at the center of their hands and the relationships that are tethering at the edge of breaking points. It is very admirable to see that the author has been able to portray a side to women that isn’t really acceptable within the Indian Society. These two sisters do everything that a man does and gets away with – be it sex, power and even redemption.

It was an enjoyable read. The writing style is very good and the book is quite fast paced.

Rating – 5 / 5

OVERALL IMPRESSION:

Definite recommendation from my end. Worthy of reading and will linger with you for a long time.

Final Rating: 4 / 5
Verdict: Recommended!

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Book Review: Sick of Being Healthy by Monisha K. Gumber

I just read ‘Sick of Being Healthy’ by Monisha K. Gumber and it was a joyous experience. Here is what I thought.

BOOK COVER:

I love the book cover. It’s bright, it’s elegant and it portrays the essence of the theme perfectly.

Cover Rating – 4 / 5

 

TITLE JUSTIFICATION:

When I first read ‘Dying to Live’ by the same author, I was fascinated by the title and quite honestly, that was the main reason for my wanting to read this book. I LOVE the way the author uses wordplay in her titles.

Title Rating – 5/5

PLOT

 

This plot is very personal to me as weight issues are something I’ve dealt with my whole life. I could find a couple of relate-worthy instances within the book which drew me in completely. The novel deals with a chubby teenager who is self-conscious about her appearance and this stops her from getting what she wants. It revolves around the troubles she faces academically, peer pressure , anxiety, depression and unrealistic aspirations.

The story is about loving yourself from within and accepting yourself for who you are. It’s a big boost to a lot of people and I highly recommend it to anyone who has ever been put down for the way they look. It is filled with illustrations, screen grabs and images.

Love the book.

Rating – 5 / 5

OVERALL IMPRESSION:

A wonderful read, and a definite recommendation from me.

Final Rating: 5 / 5
Verdict: Recommended for Teens!

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Book Review: Treacherous Desires by Kritika Sharma

I just read ‘Treacherous Desires’ by Kritika Sharma which turned out to be quite entertaining. Here is what I thought.

BOOK COVER:

There are three elements I look for in a book cover of which I take two very seriously. The first is the connection to the plot and the second is the attraction factor. The third element, which is as important as the two but is difficult to create is mystery.

The cover of ‘Treacherous Desires’ perfectly nailed the first two.

Cover Rating – 4 / 5

TITLE JUSTIFICATION:

There is a lilting melody in the way the title just dances off the cover. It’s seductive, it’s catchy and it sounds quite interesting. My only comment, if any, would have to be that the lack of mystery was what made it slightly less than perfect.

However, great job!

Title Rating – 4 / 5

PLOT

I will be honest when I say that romance isn’t always my first choice. However, when it came to this book, an apprehensive start turned into a wonderful burst of vibrancy across the pages.

The protagonist Kaya is a married woman who finds that trouble comes across her way in the form of another man – One whom she desires far more than she ever has her husband. In a series of heated moments, passionate circumstances and romantic sessions, Kaya finds herself thoroughly trapped… with no surrender.

Starting with the negative aspects of the book, which aren’t many, I felt that the writing didn’t travel at an even pace. What seemed strong and forthright in one scene was slow, pedantic and weak in another. Other than that, I wished that the writing style could be slightly more polished. It seemed like an amazing story lost among diluted dialogues and ill-constructed scenes.

What appealed to me in this story line was the high level of possibility of a similar situation occurring in reality. The author was able to perfectly capture the essence of an unhappy marriage, the innocence of a stranger’s attraction and the suffering of guilty consequences. The reader is automatically transported into a likewise situation and is left wondering – what would I do in a situation like this?

The best part about the writing style is how conversational it is and how it makes the story bounce off the pages without a moment of boredom.

Rating – 4.5 / 5

OVERALL IMPRESSION:

It has been ages since I read a book this light, breezy and engaging. The author is bold, her story has the right amount of intimacy it requires and balances off very well.

Final Rating: 4.5 / 5

Verdict: Most Definitely Recommended

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Book Review: The Krishna-Christ Connexion by Oswald Pereira

I just read The Krishna-Christ Connexion by Oswald Pereira and found it quite fascinating. Here is what I thought.

BOOK COVER:

This was one of the cutest things about the book. I know it’s available in Kindle format only but even then, since the cover does play a major role, I will say it was quite attractive, fitted the title perfectly and did a great job at connecting to me.

Cover Rating – 4.5 / 5

TITLE JUSTIFICATION:

I haven’t seen many titles like this one. In fact, it’s one of a kind. it’s very intriguing. The first time I read it, I was perplexed and it made me automatically want to read more. This, I will say, is a very strong point about the book. Not to forget, the misspelled word ‘Connexion’ fit in quite well too!

Title Rating – 5 / 5

PLOT

Centered around the main prophecies of God and religion, the true yet selfish purpose of prayer as well as the political scenario revolving around religion, the author takes us through the journey of his pen to an alternate dimension. It is witty, loaded with satirical comedy and is great in its narrative, but what sticks out is the heavily loaded conversational style of writing. This, in my opinion, is the reason this book stands out.

Had it been a pedantic novel revolving God, it probably would not be garnering much appreciation. The length of the book is just 55 pages, which is perfectly suited to the central theme (Though I did wish it could have been longer!) and as the pages went by (or swiped by, in this case!) I was more and more involved.

The language was good, the devotional verses were quite aptly placed and the flow was electric.  A lovely read and you will probably catch me reading it a second time pretty soon!

Rating – 5 / 5

OVERALL IMPRESSION:

It is very interesting that the author chose a topic that is controversial but added his own personal touch to it, thereby making it seem more perceptional than judgmental. I am glad I stumbled upon this book.  I didn’t expect to read it so quickly but it was pleasantly surprising.

Final Rating: 5 / 5
Verdict: Definitely Recommended

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Book Review: It Ain’t College, It’s War! by Subhodeep Mukherjee

I just read ‘It Ain’t College, It’s War!’ by Subhodeep Mukherjee. Here is what I thought.

 

BOOK COVER:

This isn’t the most fascinating part of the book. I didn’t find the cover very appealing though it is symbolic to the plot.
Then again, this is purely based on perception.

Cover Rating – 3/ 5

TITLE JUSTIFICATION:

I haven’t seen many titles like this one. My only complaint is that I found it a bit too long. Other than that, it is a catchy title especially for those who are in the age surrounding college and its multiple experiences it teaches us in life.

Title Rating – 3.5/5

PLOT

To be honest, when I first picked this book up, I was apprehensive. Would this be the right choice for me to read? Being one who has never experienced college life, I wasn’t sure if it would catch my interest. But rest aside, I will definitely say that the author has the gift of converting a normal situation / scene into an interesting narration. That, I will say, is the strongest point of this book. It goes a long way in keeping a reader engaged.

Centered around a refreshing college atmosphere with student groups, peer pressure, ego-driven fights and steady infatuation, this book leads us through nostalgia. It is a conglomeration of new experiences, bad decisions, sudden consequences and life’s mysterious obstacles.

The author has a lovely style of writing and can weave imaginations with ease. The conversational, first person style of narration is a definite positive.

 

Rating – 4 / 5

OVERALL IMPRESSION:

An enjoyable read, a pleasant experience and a good impression. Will read more from the author.

Final Rating: 4 / 5
Verdict: Recommended.

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Book Review: Dying to Live by Monisha K. Gumber

I just read ‘Dying to Live’ by Monisha K. Gumber and it was a joyous experience. Here is what I thought.

 

BOOK COVER:

I wasn’t very happy with the book cover for the sole reason that I found it too be overwhelming. So much was going on and it became difficult to concentrate on the central purpose of the cover design. That being said, it definitely sticks out as a catchy and interesting cover because of its blast of cover

Cover Rating – 3.5 / 5

 

TITLE JUSTIFICATION:

The title was one of the most interesting things about the novel. It had everything that I was looking for as a reader and something more. Catchy, Interesting and Short. But to add to that, the contrast within the title itself was fascinating. ‘Death’ and ‘Life’ in one sentence. I googled this author and found that this is something she’s done with her other book as well.

Please continue this title trend. It’s amazing.

Title Rating – 5/5

PLOT

The author was able to beautifully capture teenage experiences in a way that made me relive them. It is a stress buster but also comes with so many lessons that one can learn while reading the book. I loved the way the author made the language simple and intriguing at the same time.

This is one forte the author seems to master splendidly. At one point, I was really frightened that the story would take a negative turn and end tragically. However, with great relief, I can say that did not happen. Megha’s character fits beautifully into the plot and thankfully, she lives through.

A special mention to the illustrations! They were wonderful.

Rating – 5 / 5

OVERALL IMPRESSION:

Given that this book is for teenagers and about teenagers, I was pleasantly surprised. This is a one-of-a-kind book I have seen by an Indian author. Overall, a splendid effort.

Final Rating: 5 / 5
Verdict: Recommended for Teens!

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Book Review: Broken Radio by Nishant Nishit

I just read ‘Broken Radio’ by Nishant Nishit. Here is what I thought.

BOOK COVER:

This wasn’t very appealing to me. It was too straightforward and lacked the element of surprise that I was looking for. The cover symbolizes the title and vice versa. That is all there is to it.

Cover Rating – 2.5 / 5

TITLE JUSTIFICATION:

The title was one of the most interesting things about the novel. I loved the symbolism of it to a misinterpreted and wrongly directed ‘frequency’ which is the main subject of the book – The treatment of the outcast, the shoddy and the anti-social elements.

Good job on the title!

Title Rating – 4/5

PLOT

If it hadn’t been for the blurb at the back, I would have gotten quite annoyed with the novel. I am giving extra points to the book and the author for being to the point and boldly stating that this novel is NOT for everyone. That part is true. It really isn’t. It deals with some of the least spoken and most taboo subjects of the Indian mentality. It is harsh, it is brutal and it gets gritty in places. Which is why it doesn’t make for a calm and peaceful read. But that isn’t a complaint. It’s just a fact.

I, for one, am not into such gore or any gore for that matter. But I was interested to see the depiction more than the story line. Most often, it isn’t about what is said but the way it is said. I have to say that I am neither impressed nor disappointed. Because while the author focused on the ‘realistic’ elements of society that people often don’t like to think about, he lost track of the way it was portrayed.

The writing style was good. It was written clearly and in a sophisticated manner. However, the editing was not on point. There were too many repetitions of words and the vocabulary seemed quite restricted. If I had to suggest one thing to the author, I would say that I will be waiting to see something more mellowed down from him. He has true potential. While I am not going to expect for him to follow the herd, I would certainly love to see different dimensions of writing without having him lose his identity along the way. Something along the lines of – erotica, drama or a thriller, perhaps.

Rating – 3.5 / 5

OVERALL IMPRESSION:

I was really looking forward to seeing how the story would end. But it traveled at an even pace with a couple of dull moments here and there. A salute to the author for staying true to himself and standing out in a commercial crowd. Congratulations for a valiant move.

Final Rating: 3.25 / 5
Verdict: A Brave Attempt!

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