The Age of Azmoq (Book 1: The Valantian Imperium) by Rajamayyoor Sharma

“The man raised his hands and jumped with such grace, it seemed he was going for a swim and not jumping in to end his life.” – Rajamayyoor Sharma

Ola, readers! Yes, it’s been ages since I’ve read a book or done a review, but you know how life is, right? It’s awfully busy sometimes and then some other times, it gives you time to breathe, a.k.a, read. This time, I read, *Drum Roll*  The Age of Azmoq (The Valantian Imperium) by Rajamayyoor Sharma

Let us get into the review, shall we?

Blurb:

 

Azmoq is the rarest and most coveted metal on the planet. It’s the ultimate source and symbol of real power, and the Valantian Imperium controls it all.

Or so they thought…

For the first time in generations, the Valantian Imperium, masters of the Valantian continent glimpse the first tremors of fear. There are rumors abound. Rumors of legends. Legends of both ancient Azmoqian weapons and men of godly powers, long thought to be myths.

As these rumors grow, a small group of people, from various walks of life, some commoners, some within the mighty Valantian Imperium itself, by pure coincidence, have set in motion a chain of events. The legends, if true, along with these set of events, might reignite the flames of a revolution. A revolution the Imperium had long suppressed. A revolution that might alter the balance of power in the continent, and eventually the entire world…

Title:

First of all, there is an aura surrounding the title that gives it a rich, vibrant vibe of fantasy. It is deep, thought-provoking and definitely induces curiosity among readers.

When I read the title and saw the words ‘Book 1: The Valantian Imperium’, I knew for a fact that I was on an amazing journey to a series that would most definitely be some of the greatest that I would read.

Title Rating – 5 / 5

Cover:

“I didn’t really care if he slept on a mat. Or what he did with the mat.” – Rajamayyoor Sharma

Upon first glance, the most striking attribute of the cover is how the colours blend together. The colour choices are bright but not domineering the title, they blend but also stick out wonderfully and all in all, I was quite impressed.

Further, the sync between the title and the cover is complimentary to the entire theme.

Fabulous.

Cover Rating – 4.5 / 5

Plot:

“The hills itself looked like a part of the blue sky, as if sent to our world by the heavens to cover the world with a part of its beauty.” – Rajamayyoor Sharma

Without a doubt, this read is one of my most engaging and engrossing. Right from the start it pulls you into another dimension till you start believing that you are with the characters. This is the highlight of the novel.

One of the other standout points is the conversational style that carries through the narration. For a fantasy theme that is so intricately woven, the elements of conversations really do add so much of enchantment to the story. Another really cool feature of the book is the illustrations which help us visualize the story with a more clear sense, almost like virtual reality.

“I felt sadness. I had never been this afraid in my life, but I had experienced grief.” –  Rajamayyoor Sharma

The author’s sense of language is evidence that he is meant to write. That, and the way the author chose to make most of his sentences complex, add a very strong grip to the story. One of the most important elements of writing  a novel is the language – the grammar, the punctuation and the sentence construction. Rajamayyoor has nailed this.

“I knew I was still young, but when someone that old implied that I should have done something by then, it made me feel I hadn’t done enough in my life.”  – Rajamayyoor Sharma

One of my most favourite characters is Grim. The portrayal of this character was done flawlessly and lingers long after you read the book. Further, though the genre is that of Fantasy, the book is packed with values, morals and elements of life that we can all easily relate to.

Overall, it is a highly engaging and an enjoyable read.

Plot Rating – 5 / 5

I loved…

  1. The writing style
  2. The complex sentences

I wanted…

  1. More one-liners
  2. More Illustrations

Overall Rating: 4.75 / 5

Verdict: Definitely Worth Every Penny!

 

Order your copy from any of the links below:

Amazon India

Amazon (US)

If you are interested in getting your book reviewed or would like me to take an author interview, feel free to reach out to me at shravya.gunipudi@gmail.com

 

Book Review: Bombay Swastika by Braham Singh

“Their two banshee wails came together to wax before dying off into the distance.” – Braham Singh

Hey there, readers! I know it’s been long, but I’m back now and this week I was able to get my hands on Bombay Swastika by Braham Singh. 

Let us get into the review, shall we?

 

Blurb:

Bombay Swastika swings from a Nazi Berlin gearing up for its Final Solution, to 1964 Bombay, where Ernst Steiger, a German Jew, accidentally finds himself caught up in the murder of a young tribal, killed amidst allegations of something being stolen from a secure American compound. With the monsoons laying siege on the city, the reader accompanies Ernst past Bombay’s refugee camps and haunted whorehouses; food shortages, textbook mafias, communist protests against American PL 480 Food Aid, and peculiar happenings at India’s nuclear facility; where Dr. Homi J. Bhabha, the nation’s atomic mastermind, gets drawn into a conspiracy hatched in his absence.

This one-of-a-kind thriller unfolds through the eyes of a motley cast-Salim Ali, the South Indian, Muslim engineer and committed Marxist; Bhairavi, the enigmatic and sensual refugee girl; Sethji, the dowry messiah; Tsering Tufan-Homi Bhabha’s Smiling Buddha-dying from radiation exposure; and Andhi Ma, the blind mendicant who sees what we can’t.

Bombay Swastika is an exploration of the dark world of absolute truths.

Title:

The word ‘Swastika’, a symbol of spirituality, was twisted into a symbol of hatred by the Nazis as they used it to inculcate widespread rallies across Germany. The author here, used the titled to represent the connection of the Black Swastika in the form of Ernst, a Jew, who lands up in Bombay.

Besides the literal meaning, what is amazing about the title is how sophisticated and catchy it sounds while also managing to remain relevant to the plot of the book.

Title Rating – 5 / 5

Cover:

 

Upon first glance, the cover is nearly ordinary. However, it is only on looking closer that it becomes evident how striking the imagery really is. A woman wrapped in a red cloth, with a swastika locket dangling  behind her down to her back. To me, it depicted strangulation by a weirdly contorted symbol of well-being.

Fabulous.

Cover Rating – 4.5 / 5

Plot:

“Truth be told, he still didn’t know what to make of his father’s life or his mother’s death..” – Braham Singh

There is no doubt that this book is an outright thriller right from the start.  Without having the elements of an action, the adventurous approach to the plot made it seem all the more fast-paced while realistically setting us towards a gripping experience. It isn’t just a story, it’s a movie in words. Bombay has been portrayed in very high detail though set around the 1960s and this provides an insight into India from the past.

“As with most buildings, bulbs were optional and the corridors cast long shadows.” –  Braham Singh

The author has a very strong sense of language and it was nearly impossible to find any errors within the book. That being said, the diction and the vocabulary seemed a little too overpowering at times, making it a little difficult to stick to the scene. In some places, however, this seemed necessary. The author did a fantastic job in connecting loose ends and finishing off the story on a sweet note.

“A beauty of sorts crept into the night and a feeble moon looked down at India.”  – Braham Singh

There is such keen characterization in the novel that one almost misses to focus of the story. Each character has been etched with such depth and glory that it easily dominates the plot. This, in fact, is a good thing because it ensures that the novel sticks with you for long afterward the reading is done.

Overall, it is a highly engaging and an enjoyable read.

Plot Rating – 4 / 5

I loved…

  1. The writing style
  2. The Characters
  3. The plot

I wanted…

  1. A more realistic ending
  2. Less profanity

Overall Rating: 4.5 / 5

Verdict: Definitely Worth Every Penny!

Order your copy from any of the links below:

Amazon India

Amazon (US)

 

 

Book Review: The Elephant Chaser’s Daughter by Shilpa Raj

“No matter what, love doesn’t die with death.” – Shilpa Raj

This week I was able to get my hands on The Elephant Chaser’s Daughter by Shilpa Raj  which is a memoir of this young woman’s experiences as she and her family was forced to face the wrath of society’s disease called ‘untouchability’ and fate’s destiny called ‘poverty’.

Let us get into the review, shall we?

 

Blurb:

Saved by her grandmother from being killed at birth for having been born a female, Shilpa’s life took many unexpected turns and twists through her early years. She faced abandonment by her mother, the formidable constraints placed on her by her family, and the barbs of village elders bound by hundreds of years of oppressive practices and customs that subjugate women. Shilpa is torn between the contrasting lives she leads: one of servitude and injustice experienced by her family; the other of opportunity and empowerment offered by a good education in a school started by a philanthropist.

Just when all seems settled, an unforeseen death under mysterious circumstances shatters whatever stability remains in her life. Pulled in opposite directions, and torn between despair and dreams, Shilpa finally makes a choice for her future. Is she strong enough to stand up to the people she loves, and pursue what she wants?

At its heart The Elephant Chaser’s Daughter is about hope, when all seems lost. Written with raw honesty and grit, this is a deeply moving memoir of a young girl confronting her ‘untouchable’ status in a caste-based society, and her aspirations for modernity.

 

Title:

The title is beautiful and it aptly describes what the memoir is about. Shilpa’s narrative is shown to readers through her eyes but the title has a sweet connection to her roots. I found it beautiful for her to fearlessly tag herself as an Elephant Chaser’s Daughter and proudly show her history to the world.

Title Rating – 4.5 / 5

Cover:

The cover of the memoir is that of a young girl amidst a village background. Her face is unseen from the sun’s rays. The cover is serene, picturesque and has a melancholic feel to it. I love the way it fills me with peace but also how it gives a peek into what the narrative is all about. It’s apt with regards to the title and to the storyline. I loved it.

Cover Rating – 5 / 5

Plot:

“As years passed, I often found myself feeling guilt-stricken at how I came to have so much compared to my family.” – Shilpa Raj

As I read through the pages of the memoir, I found myself getting increasingly absorbed into Shilpa’s tale. She tells her story beautifully through the first person narrative and that adds to the connection that the reader builds with her. The tale talks about her entire family, the troubles they went through and the hardships they had to face to get to the stage they are at today.

“The word ‘plane’ made everything seem so distant…” – Shilpa Raj

The language is fluent and simple to understand. It has a wonderful flow to it which makes it all the more appealing. I love the way the paragraphs are split as that helps the story flit from past to present which is how it is written. My favourite part was that about her sister which was told beautifully.

“I was anxious to see my mother, and nothing else could be more important.” – Shilpa Raj

There isn’t a systematic flow to the tale which is very engaging and, for me, one of the highlights of the novel. I feel like the entire story became double the times more interesting because of the timelines interchanging and Shilpa’s history mingling with her present. What makes it even better is that there is no confusion despite the form of this narrative which shows the author’s skill of story telling.

Plot Rating – 5 / 5

I loved…

  1. The fluency in the writing
  2. The diverse timelines the tale travels through
  3. The author’s ability to tell her story without creating confusion in the reader’s mind

I wanted…

More conversations! That is my only suggestion / critical aspect about the book.

Overall Rating: 5 / 5
Verdict: Worth Every Penny!

Order your copy from the link below:

Amazon India

 

 

Book Review: Brahmahatya by Rajiv Mittal

“Sleep alone could bring the peace he sought.” – Rajiv Mittal

Hey there, readers! I know it’s been long, but I’m back now and this week I was able to get my hands on Brahmahatya by Rajiv Mittal which stands for ‘the act of killing a Brahmin’ in Sanskrit.

Let us get into the review, shall we?

Blurb:

A story of revenge and redemption and deeds shaped by forces that humans believe they have defined through mythology and scriptures but still struggle to understand.
A woman employee of a retirement home is shocked to discover that a new resident is in fact the son impersonating his father. The son is seeking revenge. She, by her past actions, is unwittingly complicit in his being there and now tries to thwart his peculiar plans. A senile woman-resident and an enigmatic founder offer him sage advice. The samudra manthan (a major episode in Hindu mythology), a slightly dim secretary and a sinister boss play their part in ensuring justice is finally served but in an unexpected manner.

The novel quotes frequently from the ancient Hindu scriptures and stories that the protagonists use to justify their actions. The treatment of the elderly in society is a major theme.

 

Title:

The most appealing thing about the title is the Sanskrit meaning to it. I found the depth of the word and the possible circumstances surrounding it to be quite fascinating. It has the two elements I search for in any title. The attraction factor and the arousal of curiosity.

Title Rating – 5 / 5

Cover:

The cover has a holy feeling to it and makes it seem as though the book has a very religiously philosophical approach to it – both of which are fabulous as it sets a record with the readers before they start reading the book. However, my only comment is that I wish it was more catchy as the current cover is a bit bland and dull.

Cover Rating – 4.5 / 5

Plot:

“The sound of its siren was now strident, continuous and very frightening in its urgency..” – Rajiv Mittal

At the start of this book, I was wondering how a heavy topic could be portrayed in a fictional  and light-hearted manner. But as I read through the pages, I realized that the author did a fantastic job in deducing a wonderful flow among the situations and the characters. What specifically stood apart for me was the character ‘Bhavna’ who connected to me instantly due to the strength of perseverance.

“His father’s bed seemed to be waiting for him to return.” –  Rajiv Mittal

The language is fluent and simple to understand. It has a wonderful flow to it which makes it all the more appealing. There is a third person narration which I found quite apt though a singular narration from a specific point of view would have also suited the story immaculately. That being said, this is probably one of the more descriptive pieces of writing I have read so far which makes it appealing to me.

“The two men remained silent visitors of the night.”  – Rajiv Mittal

It is a highly engaging and an enjoyable read. The author did a fantastic job in connecting loose ends and finishing off the story on a gentle note.

Plot Rating – 5 / 5

I loved…

  1. The writing style
  2. The conversational aspects
  3. The author’s clarity of thought
  4. The plot

I wanted…

  1. An element of mystery
  2. Less confusion among a couple of dialogues

Overall Rating: 4.5 / 5

Verdict: Worth A Read!

Order your copy from any of the links below:

Amazon India

Amazon (US)

 

 

The Elephant Chaser’s Daughter, An Awaited Memoir

 

Amidst the lull of three generations lies a tale so splendid that it is sure to awaken our minds and spirits. Such is the story of The Elephant Chaser’s Daughter which promises to show a glimpse into the backward society that we often fail to realize as a part of our own. Set in the backdrop of a tiny village down in the south of India, the book talks about the taboo that surrounds the ‘untouchables’.

Coming from one such family herself, Shilpa Anthony Raj is the first person to recall her own memories and showcase her livelihood from an insider angle. Delving into societal issues such as poverty, discrimination and hardships, The Elephant Chaser’s Daughter deals with some major hindrances that can be related to. Shilpa’s ease and flow make the writing all the more diverse, showcasing a unique perspective towards our societal issues. The writing follows a narrative style that makes the connection with readers more personal.

For decades spanning over centuries, the upper castes have been crudely dominating the voices of those beneath them – thereby forming the main essence of portrayal. As the title suggests, this first person memoir is one of its kind in the way it captures pain without glorifying circumstances. While each minute detail has been painstakingly written to the most realistic possible sense, there are multiple undertones, characteristic portrayals and sequences that surpass the worst that can be left to imagination.

Caught between the world where the burden of suppression looms large and the world of windows where opportunities come through, Shilpa’s has a question of a lifetime. Where does she truly belong? It is the author’s ability to rise beyond the oppression and continue to pursue her passions relentlessly despite the traditional values weighing her down that forms the central theme of the memoir.

Shilpa’s journey of self-discovery highlights the pages of the book and has created quite a buzz right before its release. Expectations are high on this one and they all, I am sure, will be met. The Elephant Chaser’s Daughter is already available for orders since 10th of July, so, you can get the book before it’s launched officially on 28th this month! Block your calendars!

 

Shilpa Raj, An Exciting New Arrival

Sweet Sixteen. A young age for discovery, expression, and inspiration. For Shilpa Raj, it marked the literary beginning of a lifelong journey. With a mindset to become an author, she began a fruitful research into her past that centered on the hardships her family faced, as she strung together decades of memories to form the basis for her central theme. Now, at 23, she is ready to showcase what can only be anticipated as a debutant’s masterpiece.

The Elephant Chaser’s Daughter’ is a memoir of the harsh experiences that multiple generations of her family has had to endure. What I find enthralling about this book is that Shilpa is the first person of her age from the ‘untouchable’ community of three hundred million to write about the unimaginable hardships, indignity and violence experienced as an insider.

Coming from a background that is downtrodden, this inspiring young woman has risen strong, representing those like her whose dreams are shattered by unending trauma and lack of opportunity. It is admirable how Shilpa has taken it upon herself to become a role model, not only through her words but also through her deeds. Shilpa spends her free time counselling those from similar backgrounds and also teaches English.

In the seven years that it took to build this narrative, Shilpa also became the first member in her family to complete her higher education with an MSc in Psychological Counselling. Her hobbies span towards photography and dancing, both of which she embraces with the same passion she has for writing. To add another feather to her cap, she is also a major part in a Netflix Original Documentary titled ‘Daughters of Destiny’ which tells the lives of five young women, Shilpa included, who have had the courage and the determination to rise from the ashes. This series is awaiting release around the same time as her book.

The Elephant Chaser’s Daughter is all set to hit the stores by the 28th of July and will definitely prove to be a stellar display of raw emotions, complex perspectives and empathetic instances that will linger in readers’ minds for a long time. Stay tuned to this section for further updates!

Book Review: If Wishes Were Horses by Tim Hemlin

I just read If Wishes Were Horses by Tim Hemlin which is a collection of short stories. Here is what I thought…

BOOK COVER:

I personally did not find the cover too appealing. It was dull and not catchy at all. I feel like something different can be done too make it attractive.

Cover Rating – 2.5 / 5

TITLE JUSTIFICATION:

I loved the title. It’s from a famous quote “If wishes were horses, beggars would ride.” It is catchy and interesting. Makes a person want to grab the book and give it a read.

Title Rating – 4.5 / 5

Theme

This is the first part of a mystery series by Tim Hemlin centered around the character “Neil Marshall”. It has a ‘Richard Castle’ vibe to it from the famous ‘Castle’ series. This book is a gripping tale of an emotionally damaged and financially unstable man whose passion is literature. When circumstances require for him to work for a restaurant an move in with his friend, he finds himself trapped in a sticky situation. This is centered around his friend’s murder and the horses he breeds for a living.

What really shone through was the research and the situations that the author very clearly has thought through thoroughly. It is impeccable and shows the passion that he has towards writing. I really commend him for his skill. The narration is done very cleanly, without even a little confusion and the style of writing is very clear.

There aren’t any major grammatical errors. The suspense is maintained very well throughout the book.

Rating – 4 / 5

OVERALL IMPRESSION:

All in all, this was a great read and something I would definitely recommend to anyone who is interested in mysteries or thrillers.

Final Rating: 4.5 / 5

Verdict: Recommended!

Order Now!

My new novel, ‘Twisted’ is now out in stores. Take a peak into the sample chapters and order your copy today at Amazon!

Read Sample Chapters of ‘Twisted’ for FREE!

Hey Guys!
My new book ‘Twisted’ is now out in stores. So, I thought I would share the first two chapters with you all so that you can read it and decide if you would like to buy the book! Order links will be at the end of this post.

Prologue

The umbrella refuses to open.

I look around the crowded street, wondering if anyone is watching me struggle with the inanimate object. But they are too busy trying to escape the rain. So, I try one more time. Another gust of wind threatens to blow my clothes off me as I cling onto my skirt for dignity’s sake, muttering curses out loud for choosing to wear it on this particular day. The air is filled with the scent of moist earth. 

As I step out onto the curb, looking up at the sky, I warn it not to shower all over me. Just then, a drop plops onto my nose, making me flinch. I begin fishing in my bag for a tissue, squinting awkwardly as the drop rolls down the tip of my nose and hangs there precariously, threatening to fall off if I don’t act immediately. 

Then it happens.

As if in a movie, it drops in slow motion, staying mid-air for a very long time. Then it suddenly splashes to the ground with a deafening noise that I know only I can hear. As it touches the floor, it bursts into a million, tiny, colourful droplets and I look up, to see if anyone around me even notices my presence. That is when I realize in horror that everything has come to a standstill.

Literally.

The adults stop walking, the children aren’t crying anymore and the cars freeze in the same position. Movement no longer exists. But before I can react, I feel a hand on my shoulder. 
“Mom,” I say smiling, without turning.
I don’t need to turn around to know who it is. It has to be her. That cold palm on my shoulder is a touch that I have known for so many years in my life that it no longer feels like a surprise.
“How could you tell?” she chuckles as I face her, taking in her beauty.
The sight of my mother fills my heart with more warmth than dread.
“Your fingers,” I say, laughing. “I’ve known them for years.”
“You looked beautiful last week,” there is a glint in her eyes.
I frown, trying to remember meeting her seven days ago. I would have remembered if it happened. I turn back towards the colourful droplets in an enthusiastic attempt to show them to her. But they are gone. The people around me begin to move again, minding their own lives. When I face my mother, she is gone too.

It is weird that I still wish to be with her every single day, that I want her to love me like she used to. I want to live in the same house with her again, instead of in my own. I am 35 years old with a child and a husband. So much of my life has gone by but that is not really why it is weird. 
It is because I haven’t ‘seen’ her since 18th September, 20 years ago.
Because that is the day she died.

 

Chapter 1

“Are you really that desperate?” he asks, cocking his eyebrow like he just won the ‘Comment of the Year’ Award.
“Excuse me?” I look at him angrily.
“You heard me! You are pathetic!” He shakes his head at me. “Get out of my house.”
I glare at him. My fists clench.
“I am not paying you anything,” he says, “Do whatever you want.”
But instead of punching him, I reach into his bulging shirt pocket, pull out a wad of cash and say in my most professional voice, “Thank you, Sir. That should cover your cable bill for the month. Oh, and I appreciate the generous tip.”
He looks at me, confusion written across his face.
Then, he grits his teeth.
“What is this? Are you a thief now or did you just want an excuse to touch me?”
I sigh, turn around and start walking away. This client is just not worth talking to.
Yes, before you ask, I work at a cable company. My job is to collect money personally from defaulters. Generally it is only from the women but I suppose there must have been some sort of mix-up.
It isn’t glamorous work, but at least the pay is good.
Okay, fine, I admit it. I hate what I do. Especially when the clients are this repulsive.
“Hey lady!”
I turn around and look at him.
“How do I know you aren’t stealing my money and that you really are from the cable company?”
“I have a badge, sir!”
“So? You could be a prostitute with a stolen badge for all I know!”
I fight the urge to kill him and instead, continue to stare at him like an idiot. It has finally happened. Words have failed me. If only my husband could see this now!
As I look away, it hits me.
This man is accusing me of selling my body. He is accusing me of being a thief. What is worse is that I am letting him get away with it. A wave of feminism surges through me. Women do not deserve to be treated this way. If this was a man in my place, they would be bonding over chilled beer or at least a cup of coffee before ending this on a peaceful note. But this man is trying to take advantage of me because I am a woman. I refuse to let him.
Gritting my teeth, I turn back and barge into his living room.
“Look, mister! You have no right to insult me that way!”
“It is not my fault that you work at that disgusting place. I haven’t been able to watch a single thing for more than two weeks.”
“Well, if you weren’t so cheap, maybe we wouldn’t have had to cut the cable connection!”
“Look who is talking about being cheap,” he snorts. “You are in my house, begging me for money and I am the cheap one?”
“Look. I don’t appreciate this. You have called me a lot of names just because I am doing my job. I could call the company and have you removed from the customer list.”
“Oh, really?” he challenges. “Then you really will be out on the streets doing god knows what. Customers come first. Remember that… No matter what you end up doing.”
His double innuendos enrage me. Over my dead body, I think.
If I were to sleep with someone for cash, which is what he is implying, I would definitely be very choosy.
Err, I mean, I am married! Married women do not sleep around.
Looking around frantically, I find a glass of water on his dining table and pick it up. In a moment of rage, I hurl the water at him. For good measure, I also throw the glass at his face. Even though he ducks, I feel proud.
“Jerk,” I spit. Not very original, but at least it’s something.

As I am descending the stairs, my face burning with anger, paranoia strikes me. What if he is dangerous? What if he chases me and kills me in the middle of this empty street? There isn’t a single house or person in sight. Who’s going to save me? Oh my God, does he have a gun? You can get those weapons anywhere these days!
That is when I start running. At this point, you have to know something. I have always been terrible at sports. I failed in PT class, was never picked in games period and often faked an ailment during Sports Tryouts. So, needless to say, running is not my thing. But I manage to get into my car, panting, my hands shaking so badly that I can’t insert the key properly.
A sudden knock on my window makes me freeze.
Without looking, I scream loudly (Also not my thing so you can imagine how weird I sounded) as I force the key in and floor the accelerator at once. There is a sudden jolt, the car rams into a tree, the safety balloon bursts, I feel a shooting pain in the side of my head and before I know what has happened, I blank out.
Death is my last thought.

***

When I open my eyes, everything is hazy. But eventually, as I adjust to the surroundings, I see that I am now in a white room. For a second, I think I am in an asylum. Oh my God, I gasp in my head. I have finally been diagnosed as insane. But then I realize it is actually a hospital. I close my eyes, trying to remember what had happened.
Nothing.
No memory, whatsoever. I have no recollection of what put me in this room.
Realizing that there is no point in stressing over something that I have no clue about, I start looking around instead. Out the glass pane, on my right, I see my husband on the other side.
He is talking to someone, smiling. The person he is talking to is the doctor. My doctor. I know, because he has a stethoscope around his neck. This is proof enough that I haven’t lost my mind completely. Yet.
I relax a little. Just then, something happens. The room starts to spin, very slowly at first but then it gains speed. I panic, looking around, desperately hoping that my husband turns my way so that he can help me. Is this what death feels like, a horrible merry-go-round?
Clutching the sides of the bed till my knuckles turn white, I start breathing heavily. The terrifying sound of my own heartbeat is replaced by a piercing noise. Instantly, I turn to face the glass window. It is slightly cracked, almost invisible. But then, it starts spreading like the branches of a tree, getting bigger and bigger till the whole glass looks like a spider web of cracks. Then, it shatters. I flinch, expecting the tiny bits to come and cut me into shreds, but nothing happens. I finally open my eyes slightly.
“Honey?”
It is my husband. I sit up and hug him tight, sobbing. I then realize that his face is very unfamiliar to me and that sends a jolt down my spine. Feeling awkward, I pull away. The spinning has stopped. Everything is back to normal.
“The window… Spinning… I… Thank you, Anuj. You saved my life”
He smiles but even though I can’t recognize his face, I can tell he is disappointed.
“What happened?” I ask.
“Nothing, sweetheart” he says, kissing me on my forehead as I try not to flinch. “Thank God you are safe.”
It is then that I see his office tag. A very silly detail under the circumstances, surely, but I am drawn to it.
‘General Manager,’ it says, ‘Offshore Technologies.’
Under that is a photo from when he was younger.
But the name on the tag isn’t Anuj.
It is Jay.

 

Synopsis

“It is weird that I still meet my mother almost every day.
I am 35 years old. But that is not why it is weird.
It is because nobody else has seen her since 18th September, 20 years ago.
Because, that is the day she died.”

Meet Ria, the charming woman with an edge. Her life is nearly perfect. Or so it seemed, until one fateful day an accident wipes out parts of her memory. Suddenly, she starts to experience strange visions involving repressed childhood memories which send shivers down her spine.

A man called ‘Anuj’ whom she can’t remember.
The sadness that led to her mother’s sudden death.
Answers that her husband Jay refuses to share.
Secrets begin to resurface and Ria is left with no option but to confront her own fears.

Twisted is a tale of love, family and friendship, where bitter memories and shocking truths drive everyone to the point where they have to decide – Will the relationships crumble to dust or can love really conquer all?

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Within India:

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International:

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Book Review: Psycon by Varun T

I just read Psycon by Varun Tejwani. What started with apprehension ended with amazement.
Here is what I thought.

BOOK COVER:

I love how the cover has an element of suspense and mystery to it. Darkness is the most intriguing factor and upon first look, it develops in readers a sense of curiosity. Good job on being able to do that.

Cover Rating – 4 / 5

TITLE JUSTIFICATION:

The title is a conglomeration of what I presume as psychological and a con based story. It is unique and unlike any other I’ve seen. I like the build it presents of the story,  leading to a variety of guesses about the plot.

Title Rating – 4 / 5

PLOT

This novel falls broadly into the genre of a Political Thriller which revolves around the  IT department, black money and corruption. It builds slowly yet steadily into a massive tale of gripping suspense. It falls rightly into the thriller category as the author has beautifully woven a serious masterpiece.

The infusion of ‘Satyameva Jayate’ with ridiculed patriotism and the intervention of CBI are commendable, to say the least. The story revolves around Prateek and Yashwardhan who constitute ‘Psycon’ in an attempt to get involved in the ruling party’s regime and con their way out with massive wealth.

The writing style is strong with a good sense of language and grammar. It is an easy ready and will keep you hooked till the end. The plot compliments the author’s sense of satire.

Rating – 4.5 / 5

OVERALL IMPRESSION:

If you are into a thriller of its best kind, then Psycon is the book for you. Pick it up, give it a shot and you are sure to be enthralled. This will be an excellent addition on your shelf. I guarantee it.

It is available both as an e-book as well as paperback and the best part is that whatever royalty the author makes from this book gets donated to the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund.

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Final Rating: 4.5 / 5

Verdict: Recommended!

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Book Review: The Moon in the Sun

I just read The Moon in the Sun by Sanjay Kumar Singh and found it quite refreshing.
Here is what I thought.

BOOK COVER:

I loved the symolism of the novel though I did not find it to be very attractive.  However, the plus points are the strength and the vibe that resonates from it.

Cover Rating – 3 / 5

TITLE JUSTIFICATION:

My only complaint is that I found the title quite long and difficult to remember. It comes with a byline ‘A novel in the poetry of love, life, soul and wildlife’. I really like how it all sounds though I thought it could have been shortened a bit. The main title is witty, catchy and quite mesmerizing.

Title Rating – 4/5

PLOT

The book is a lot different from most that I’ve read which is why I will definitely give it brownie points. The author is clearly fascinated by the natural aspects of livelihood which shines through the book. The main plot centers on how the protagonist finds his oneness with nature and wildlife.

What really moved me was the interception of the tiger in this person’s life and their similarities which was the underlying factor of the novel. It is incredibly difficult to portray these aspects but the author has done a very good job. It is obvious that he put his heart into it.

Rating – 4.5 / 5

OVERALL IMPRESSION:

The book is a pleasurable read with interesting scenarios and moving scenes. Do opt for it if you are a nature lover or if you would love to discover how much it affects our lives.

Final Rating: 4 / 5

Verdict: Recommended!

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