Thursday, 15 February 2018

Fear is the key - book review

Fear is the Key by Juggi Bhasin is story of a girl who has just disappeared. Nothing is known about her. Simon disappeared from a party where everyone from her office, including her boss cum boy friend Rahul was present. Rahul is shattered by her sudden disappearance. Neither the police is able to find any lead. That is when Rahul takes the investigation in his hands. There are three suspects. A pizza delivery boy, a swimming instructor and a driver. They all have seen Simon’s inviting bronze complexion and were drawn towards her. Some for lust and some for the money that voyeurism offered. The story unravels and we come across a gory, scary end.

I liked the book for its narration. It creates characters that are true to life yet intriguing. There is something which each of them in holding back. There are ulterior motives and hidden agendas. The office space is nicely described in the book. The same stands true with Rahul investigations. The Haryani cop Kripal appears to have fallen from the bollywood movies and landed up right into the novel. He hardly has any investigation to do. Rahul and Suhel’s past continues to haunt them. Suhel arranges a psychiatrist for Rahul. She too soon disappears – as if the earth had gulped her down.

The book cast a spell on me and I simply couldn’t put it down. Though I didn’t like the climax, it doesn’t mean that Fear is the Key is a bad book. If you love thrillers, you shouldn’t miss this.

Thursday, 8 February 2018

Where there's a Will - Book Review

Where there's a Will marks the fantastic debut of Piorre Hart. Mr. Pratap Sharma, a billionaire business is found dead. He has left behind a will with his attorney, with strict instructions to open it only in the presence of all family members. The will is in the form of couplets which make no sense. Pranita Roy is a novice in the detective agency. This is the story of how she discerns the hidden meaning in the will.

There are no flaws in the book. The author maintains a superb pace in her writing and hooks up the reader from the first page. Though this is her debut novel, she knows very well how much to reveal and how much to withhold. The language is error free and the editing is superb. She succeeds in weaving all the suspects in front of your eyes. She makes the plot murkier by drawing Pranita towards Rohit, Pratap's son. Pranita's family is a huge put off in this story. I felt like turning the pages during her insipid conversations with her sister. The couplets remind you of Da Vinci Code, but fortunately all the similarities die there.

As I said earlier this in undoubtedly one of the most impressive debut I have ever come across. I look forward to read more from the same author. This book is highly recommended. 

Tuesday, 6 February 2018

St. Botanica's Hair Repair and Anti Dandruff Shampoo

St. Botanica’s Hair Repair and Anti-Dandruff Shampoo comes in an attractive bottle. It is enriched with vitamins B3 and B5, almond oil, soy protein, moroccan argan oil, organic extra virgin coconut oil, lavender oil and tea tree oil. It is free from harmful chemicals. It contains no paraben, no sulphates and mineral oil.

Unlike the other shampoos, St. Botanica’s Hair Repair and Anti-Dandruff Shampoo left my hair moisturized. It has been my experience that whenever I shampoo my hair, the shampoos leaves my hair dry. But not with this shampoo. This was the most pleasant thing about it. Yes the white colour and lack of fragrance of the shampoo did disappoint me. But if this is because of the lack of harmful chemicals, I am ready to embrace St. Botanica’s Hair Repair and Anti-Dandruff Shampoo. This shampoo is worth giving a try. 

Monday, 5 February 2018

Brahmahatya - Book Review

Rajiv Mittal’s Brahmahatya is a daringly original novel. It opens brilliantly. There is an old widower, whose only son is abroad. The old man meets with an accident and is rendered immobile. There is an elderly woman, devoid of any emotions. She provides (both unofficial and unprofessional) health care services. Dejected as his father is unable to secure admission into the plush Govindarajan Memorial Residency, Ravi is forced to admit his father in the rickety Blessings. The old man dies and then a saga of revenge unfolds.

I really liked the premise of the novel. It keeps you hooked, at least initially. The writer succeeds in creating believable, real life characters and setting. But then starts the confusion. Initially I thought that there was spelling mistake when the author was referring Ravi as Naru Sir. I felt that the impersonation should have been more swift and clear. The novel drags after a fantastic start. The reference to mythology and scriptures though works at some places, appears disjointed with the narrative at more places than one. Bhavna’s sexual fetishes were unnecessary. Dr. Chari, though eccentric, doesn’t come across as a villain who deserves to be murdered.

Yet the writing is clean. The language is lucid. With a little tight editing Brahmahatya would have been a terrific read. Yet for the enchanting dark world that it sucks you into, Brahmahatya deserves to be read.

Wednesday, 31 January 2018

The Big Switch - Book Review


The Big Switch by John Thomas is the story of Keith. Keith is a software engineer who has a nasty boss Mathur. Both promotion and the expected pay rise elude Keith for a very long time. Work is becoming monotonous and Keith is losing the love for his job. His personal life is on the rocks too. He has broken up with his girlfriend. Then one day a chance encounter with Ramesh changes everything for Keith. This life coach rekindles Keith’s passion for life. How? To know this you will have to read the The Big Switch by John Thomas.

The Big Switch pays a tribute to Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist, but smartly deviates from being its carbon copy. The writing is clean and the editing is good. The author uses simple language to narrate the tale. While reading the book, you keep on wondering if this is the personal tale of the writer. This is because there is a budding writer in the story and his first book is autobiographical.

I didn’t really enjoy the football part in the story. I have never played the game, so I was unable to understand most of the stuff. I thoroughly enjoyed the writing part though. I feel the romantic angle involving Kyra could have been avoided. The book appears to be a realistic. Any working class youth can identify with the protagonist. Yet towards the end the book takes a melodramatic turn, which is difficult to digest. The grey colour of the font in the kindle edition makes the reading difficult. I wish it was standard black.

I liked the following lines from the book. ‘Everyone starts small. Be positive.’ ‘The destination is just an illusion. It is the journey that matters. Think about all the stuff that you have learned. Think about all the new people that you have met. I am pretty sure it wouldn’t have been possible if you didn’t follow your heart.’ ‘I understand that nothing seems to be falling in place for you. But you shouldn’t be scared. These setbacks are inevitable. The path to one’s dream is loaded with setbacks. These tough times, shouldn’t worry you.’

The Big Switch is a simple, motivational tale. That is the reason why it is highly recommended.

Saturday, 20 January 2018

Transit Lounge - Book Review

I love travel writing. It gives the immense pleasure of visiting the most wonderful places in the world. No wonders an arm chair traveller like me lapped up the book Transit Lounge. It documents the travel experiences of the author across thirty countries. This book is his personal account of travels to places in Africa (Nigeria, Ghana, Egypt and Mauritius), South America (Venezuela and Argenina), Asia (China, Iran, Kuwait, UAE, Singapore, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Thailand), Europe (UK, France, Italy, Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Belguim, Georgia, Turkey, Croatia and Romania), USA, Australia and New Zealand.

The write ups are small. Neither too long to bore you, nor too short to leave you high and dry. The book is full of nuggets of the authors experiences. The author tells us how in Ghana the funeral is actually a sendoff ceremony rather than a mark of sorrow and grief. The writer is quiet in awe about motor cycle taxis in Africa. He seems to be unaware that in the tiny state of Goa these motor cycle taxis are a ubiquitous affair. Speaking of the middle east countries he says that Most of the times we do not realize that the world knows these countries from the lens of the western media which is not very kind to them. He says the family bondage in the small towns in US is as good as in any middle class family in India. London tubes he says need substantive investment to be called anywhere modern. London is a city of walkers, it has a widespread city transport too which helps people move around easily. His experience of checking into an unmanned Western Europe hotel is both harrowing and intriguing.

The author tells us how the imported goods, that were most sought after a few days ago, have lost their sheen. Denmark he says is the most prosperous nations in the northern Europe, where some people commute every day to work by flight. European cities are very tourist friendly he says. The common saying in Singapore he says is -irrespective of the economic status, everyone has a house, mostly built by government.

He bursts the bubble of prosperity by keeping the immigrant’s life stark naked in front our lives.

The book though very well written is ridden with mistakes. These typographical errors play a spoil sport. So incident becomes inddent, civic becomes dvic, class becomes dass and the crest jewel – click becomes dick. I wish the book was well edited and these mistakes were avoided. Yet I loved the book. It didn’t disappoint me.

Friday, 12 January 2018

Carthick's Unfairy Tales - Book Review

As a child I loved fairy tales. As I became an adult I started thinking over those tales. The flaws were apparent. The good people were always fair and beautiful, while the evil ought to be dark and ugly. The sole aim of the heroine's life was to win the heart of the prince. The tales were fatalist and some where even downright sadistic. Do we wish to tell such tales to our children? Certainly not.

Against this backdrop Carthick's Unfairy Tales comes as a bright change. This collection is a retelling of seven tales. To be honest out of the seven I had heard only three that of Cinderella, Pipe Piper and the frog prince. So the rest of the stories were brand new for me.

I really liked the way the author has shaped up the Frog Prince's story. He gives the Princess a spine. She comes across as a strong woman who can make intelligent choices and whose aim is certainly not marrying a man only because he is a prince (read rich and powerful in the modern connotation). I am sure I will be more than happy to tell such a tale to my toddler. Undoubtedly this is the best story in the collection.

These stories are told in unique voices. While the rat's narrative works well in the Cinderella's story, some voices appear inorganic, like a patch work just to sound something different. Also the Pipe Piper's story offers nothing new. Its just the same old story. With Cindrella and the Frog Prince the author had raise expectations. I wish there was a novelty in other stories as well.

What I liked about the book is that the writing is clean, the editing is superb. The author succeeds in maintaining a pace. The stories are of appropriate length. They are neither too short nor too long to lose attention span of the reader.

Carthick's Unfairy Tales is a unique book and you should not miss it.