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Birds of Prey : Book Review

Birds of Prey Book Cover Birds of Prey
Archana Sarat
Psychological Thriller
Readomania

I just want to say "Just go buy the book, and read it (have tissue papers handy)" to people who are *thinking* whether to read this book or no.

What a fantastic book! God, it took me two days to literally throw the lead character Swarna out of my head. Okay, over to the review.

The novel starts off with an awesome punch, Archana Sarat almost giggles at us in the first chapter saying "What do you think? that you can crack the thrilling suspense in this chapter? No baby!" I was flattered right there at the first twist.

In a matter of a few chapters, if you're an ardent reader - you'd definitely figure out the whole plot but what keeps you hooked is Archana's way of writing.

The novel parts into two - One embarks on an emotional roller coaster ride called Swarna's life. The life history of the person just slaps hard on your face asking "what are you crying over a break-up? or are you sad because you can't afford an iPhone? Do you know what's life?" - The impact of the chapters affected me profoundly.

The second part - About the crime, and investigation. Archana has done a wonderful job here. Bewildering changes and raw details leaves you gasping.

Archana Sarat has touched a very important social crime in the society that questions the cultural climate of the world. She has torn the fabricated illusions about the beautiful world we live in. This novel left a profound mark on me! A very brutal-raw-mind-numbing-clamouring-hard-emotionally wrenching novel. I thoroughly loved it.

These are books that are not to be reviewed or rated but digested.

The Alphabet Killer – Review

The Alphabet Killer Book Cover The Alphabet Killer
Prachi Sharma
Crime Thriller
HALF BAKED BEANS
29th January 2017
Paperback
180

A crime thriller by Prachi Sharma. A clean crime thriller - the story starts off with serial killing and clears the knots of ‘why’ and ‘who’ as you read. I observe that Prachi as an avid reader knows what would work and what might not, she has a clear vision so as to what she wants to do in this novella and just did that. Prachi sets a good benchmark for Indian authors who aspire to write a crime thriller. The language - so simple, grammar - on check, and vocabulary - hand-picked words. Kudos!

Am not diving into the story but to what I liked and didn’t.

What did I like?

  • Mia Santos - a feminist. The word ‘feminist’ -- are you raising your brows? I know, it’s not a ‘wow’ nor is an ‘ewww’ but in-between. (Most of them, not all), In this novella, Prachi has ETCHED this character - You can see Mia Santos fighting like a pro to save a woman - Don’t judge her there, wait up! She walks out of a relationship - she caught him red-handed with his ‘other’ woman. No, unlike most novels, the author did not describe Mia being all against men here, she brings the right emotions - yes, she hates him now because he cheated but, a big BUT, she also misses him, a part of her is still in love with him for what he was to her. This was so beautiful. You grow as a reader who is learning a character with every chapter; each chapter brings an aspect of Mia Santos onto the dias. A feminist is someone who voices/acts towards gender equality - otherwise, the emotions, reactions, etc.. have got to be as that of a normal woman and yes, Mia Santos is that for you. She feels sick and is threatened when she receives a blank call as well. I loved this character etching more than the novel itself.
  • Damien - a cop. Someone to fall in love with. Right from the first scene, we are left with hints that something clicky is about to happen between Damien and Mia, and it so beautifully does. Damien is just picture perfect, a character that one would instantly love. Though the scenes following are a bit slowed down, but there are different ‘what’ factors creeping in. So, in each chapter, there’s something to look for. This indeed is one of the most admirable factors because, there are books where the first chapter deals with a murder and the next few chapters turn a normal drama and suddenly there’s something about the murder. Whereas, Prachi handles the readers and holds them tight with hints that ‘something is out there.'
  • There are beautiful lines that I love from the novel: “Sometimes we make choices we don’t really like making.”

“To laugh at their pain, slice into their skin, slit through their carotid, feel the warmth of the blood that gushed out over him, and to sigh in orgasmic satisfaction as the light went out of their eyes and left their bodies – all was pure bliss,”

“..these misogynists! Can‟t stand strong, independent women; so they think trying to make our lives miserable will compensate for their lack of power,”

  • Prachi has beautifully weaved in lines about ‘people’ who pass insensitive comments on sex crimes against women. About the irritating questions that cops come up with
  • Also, there is a short flashback in the story which is all the more powerful. And, that connects to a scene that makes a lot of sense soon after the read

Frown factors:

  • I didn’t like the ‘second’ killing because it was killing my time. I know that it’s coming and I didn’t want to read more about it
  • Cliche scenes - Mia throwing up after two scenes, shouting ‘Nooooo’ and waking up from a nightmare, the past with her ex to justify why she suspects, etc..
  • The climax -- Pretty much predictable
  • Expected more brilliant execution and investigation - It was not as ‘page turning’ as I expected it to be.  

Overall, a good read. And, as Prachi has said in the book, I hope that she ‘takes the literary scene by storm.'

 

Dancing with Demons: Book Review

Indeed an enticing cover and title different from usual rom-coms, and the blurb says that the novel is based on ‘boxing’ which is new to me as a reader, and hence I picked this book for review when The Book Club offered.
Excellent characterization – be it Karan or Sonia, the author has fleshed the characters pretty well. Especially Sonia, her character resonates with the reader in you for hours together post reading.
A beautiful novel with the events that concoct to keep the reader in you engaged. The author has done justice for the time spent on this novel. A sheer recommendations for a light read in one go. The chapters are knit well, fast and intriguing throughout. Very well written novel.
There were interesting details about the rule and regulations of boxing which amused me to a great extent.
The novel is also on par with excellence with respect to grammar and sentence structure, the editor deserves a good pat on his/her back for this. Tremendous job!
The only disappointing factor is the abrupt ending, otherwise a very promising novel by the author. Looking forward to read more by the author.

Vikram Rana Investigates: Tales of Murder and Deception in Hyderabad

A book of 160 pages with 2 murder mystery stories – Vikram Rana Investigates. It was amusing at first because the title was engrossing and the cover was interesting, so I started reading the story with some anticipation. My review below:
The opening scene starts with the family chart and introduction of characters as chapters, am not really a fan of “telling” but “showing” – so with respect to the craft of writing, I am a bit disappointed.
The character of Vikram Rana is compelling, but other than that I didn’t sympathize with any other and the pace was slow to medium as well. The punch of a murder mystery went missing.
While I loved the worldbuilding and setting of the novella where each scene felt rooted and properly etched with the place in mind, and the dialogues were natural as well, but at some instances I felt it is detailed more than required, Could have been a bit more crispier.
 I feel delighted that the author took enough care with respect to the language, grammar, sentence structure, punctuation, etc.. It is on par except at a few places. More than the story, I think the responsibility of the author to present a good story with the right elements in place impressed me as a reader.
A well-knit story with nothing cheesy to distract, the author did justice and is not carried away with any commercializing factors.
I did like the stories as a reader, since it is a murder mystery, am not giving any spoilers away. It would have been a great read though, because the pace and craft didn’t satisfy the mystery lover in me.
Overall a short novella with 2 mystery stories to read in one go! pick if you like the old-school type mystery with good language.
Rating – 3/5

Secretly yours – Book Review

I’ve not read any of Vikram Khanna’s previous books and hence, I thought I’d read one. The book is published by Penguin Books Limited and thats the only reason I picked this book. The title was not attractive, I didn’t like the cover as well but one thing that caught my attention was the blurb. I read this book with some basic expectations, but, surprisingly, the book didn’t satisfy the reader in me.
The plot was just another love story of a teenager built with a USP that the guy is capable of mind-reading. What I thought with the blurb and what the book offered was entirely different. There were obvious loopholes in the novel throughout, right from the murder parts to the age of the characters, there were mismatches from page one. The characters and the motivation behind each were not fleshed properly, a bit clumsy here. Could have been better though! 30295759
A penguin published book with editing flaws, mistakes, language, sentence structure errors etc.. So, it was disappointing!
Though cliched, a few parts were smile worthy and dialogues were good enough. Some parts were philosophical though. Not a great read, wouldn’t have picked if not for Penguin.
The sensitive topics should have been handled even better. Overall, I felt that a good plot was clumsified with cliched details.

Scarlet Nights by Mayur Patel – Book Review

First Impression: The title, cover, and the blurb is an instant attraction indeed. Pick-worthy novel with a winning plot. I love psychological thrillers and was so excited to read this book.
The story revolves around Malvika, just another Mumbai based businesswoman who is happy with her life. And, then Margrita happens! Read the novel to know more, because, I seldom spill spoilers.
Scarlet nights is a well-knitted novel, the alignment of scenes-chapters and the twin thread running along is commendable. A nail-biting experience precisely!  Author Mayur has done a great job with respect to the story which demands some brave attempts.
Wow Factors: 
  • Plot
  • Language, and diction
  • Editor has done a good job indeed
  • Fast-paced and well-knit chapters
Rating: 4/5
P.S I received a complimentary e-copy in exchange for a honest review.
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6 Degrees – Game of Blogs: Book Review

I adore bloggers turned writers; I follow many a bloggers and adore a few. When I first heard about Blogadda and their #CelebrateBlogging campaign, I was thrilled. To know that Blogadda throws a few characters to them asking to knit a story as a team, judges being dignitaries like Ravi Subramanian Sir and Ashwin Sanghi, and to add more spice a few participants are bloggers whom I follow religiously quickened my interest to read this book. And, when Blogadda posted a call for reviews; I grabbed the opportunity. Click here to read about the birth of the concept.

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I don’t want to compare the 3 stories, so am reviewing each one by one.
  1. The Awakening – A sci-fi fiction in a matter of 150 pages. The opening scene was normal, nothing different from usual fiction but the end of the chapter is a good twist which makes you want to read more. At the end of each chapter there is a plot twist knit, and it was interesting. Good characters and detailed motivation behind each. Overall a good story! I follow Preethi Venugopala and she is one of the team members, so my expectations wrt The quality of writing, language, and diction are on par and commendable
Frown factors: The novel “Shows” than “Tell” – very descriptive. The pacing was not levelled; the chapters are slow from the beginning and at the end it picks speed, could have been done better types. The hype that the end of each chapter created didn’t justify the end of the novel.
  1. Entangled Lives – An exotic murder mystery. Very well-done! One of the best reads this year as I love mystery thrillers. The investigation part was handled properly without amiss. Interesting plot twists, one after the other. A real page-turner indeed. Loved the experience of reading this work. Kudos to the team! Am a fan of Srilakshmi’s lovebytes and I follow Sneha, good job! A fast paced novella with fleshy character traits and motivation. One cannot skim through this story; it has a lot of details in every line.
Frown factors: The world-building was a bit confusing in the middle.
  1. Missing – A journey within – The blurb talks about a child gone missing, I was afraid if that would fall under the lines of many thrillers I’ve read so far, surprisingly, it is not. A beautiful tale around LGBT and a man getting raped. The emotions are handled well, a very nice story around the plot with good conflicts knit throughout. Kudos to the team for working on this theme.
Frown factors: The guy’s interest towards another guy, and discovering his sexual orientation was not dealt properly.
Rating: 4/5
I received this book from blogadda for a video and blog review.

The Secret of God’s Son by Usha Narayanan

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BOOK BLITZ


THE SECRET OF GOD’S SON

by

Usha Narayanan



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Blurb


‘The seas will devour the glorious city of Dwaraka. People will forget your name and your Gita!


May the world perish!

May the world perish!’


<span style=”font-family: georgia, times new roman, serif;”>With this cruel curse on Krishna, Queen Gandhari plunges mankind into the unspeakable evil of the Kali Yuga.</span><br />

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<span style=”font-family: georgia, times new roman, serif;”>It is up to Pradyumna to try and reverse the dire prediction. To journey into terrifying realms, confront Yama and Shiva, and to vanquish the Kali demon. And to do so, he must shed all that holds a mortal back-his arrogance, his fears, his baser instincts . . . He must lead his people out of the swirling vortex of greed, disease and misery.</span><br />

<span style=”font-family: georgia, times new roman, serif;”><br /></span>

<span style=”font-family: georgia, times new roman, serif;”>And there is one powerful weapon still — the secret surrounding his origin. Will he uncover it in time to fight off the cataclysm? In the answer lies the destiny of all humanity!</span></div>


Grab your copy @



About the author


USHA NARAYANAN


Usha Narayanan had a successful career in advertising, radio and corporate communications before becoming a full-time writer. She is the author of The Madras Mangler, a suspense thriller, and Love, Lies and Layoffs, a light-hearted office romance. The Secret of God’s Son is the sequel to her bestselling book, Pradyumna: Son of Krishna, which was published in July 2015. 


When she’s not juggling travel, writing and interviews, Usha reads everything from thrillers to romances, provided her cat isn’t fast asleep on her Kindle. She would love to hear from her readers here: author@ushanarayanan.com 


You can stalk her @


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Website | Facebook | Twitter 


Media mentions


Praise for Pradyumna: Son of Krishna


Usha Narayanan has taken a quantum leap . . . to the outright spine-tingling narrative from the leaves of a time before. This book is Indian writing coming of ageFemina


Like the best of our mythological tales, this too, is a multilayered one . . .There is valour, there is cowardice, there is glory, there is shame, there is sex, lies and deceptionThe Hindu


This engrossing tale takes readers on a mythological sagaTimes of India


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Hell to Pay (What Doesn’t Kill You, #7)

First Impression: Interesting title, simple cover design and a blurb that took me three reads to get the glitch. I kick started reading to quench my diction thirst, and yes, it paid off.
Overall Impression: A romantic mystery is indeed one of the hardest, because there are times where I read a few of those sorts where I skipped romance parts and read only the mystery. I always felt that romance in a mystery is speed breakers, but Pamela proved me wrong aligning the scenes on par with excellence.
What did I love about this book?
  • Expect the unexpected type of a story that intrigued me instantly
  • As I said, the diction peppered
  • Strong plot, pace so right and characters so believable
  • Humor trials did work out really well
There are no frown factors as such; I just loved the novel’s pace. It worked out so wonderfully, though initially it is tough to get the glitch, Pamela has done a great job with this novel so that it makes sense even as a standalone. Any who reads this book would want to read the previous set of the series, just like me.
Am just holding enough from spilling the beans about the mystery, it is indeed a must read and I would give 4/5 ratings for this nail-biting novel.

Wrong Means Right Ends : Book Review

First Impression: The cover of the novel conveys a confused pair in a trouble, and that matches the blurb. The blurb prompts a question, asking us to read to know what they lead does to get rid of a confusing complication that mushroomed.
Overall Impression: There are different characters, each of a kind which is properly fleshed out in this novel.  This novel makes room for romance and the author has used the space pretty well. A tinge of humor is peppered throughout to lighten the novel, and I would say it did work.
What did I like?
  • This book has fewer errors when compared to the previous release of the author.
  • I was worried about the regional language used in the previous book, and in this book, it has reduced to an extent. Makes the book a better read!
  • Lucid language used throughout – makes it a good read!
Frown Factors:
  • Predictable enough, that makes the reader skim than read
  • Reality takes a miss at some points and drama creeps in
Overall a decent read!
Rating: 3/5