TITLE: If You Only Knew Me
AUTHOR: Divyata Rajaram
PUBLISHER: Cinnamon Teal Publishing
A lot said in just five words.
Apt and appealing, the cover design does give an inkling to what to expect within the covers without breaking the suspense.
If You Only Knew Me is a story of friendship, passion and intrigue set in Dubai, arguably one of the world’s most exciting cities to live in.
Rupali, Anjali, Dipika, Sakina and Monica are five NRI women whose lives are glitzy and exciting as they flirt with high society within the charmed social circles frequented by the Dubai expat community. Beautiful homes, designer clothes, shoes, fast cars and a lifestyle that is envied by all, there is very little these women have not attained. Together they have also woven the closest of friendships and must rely on each other to stay on top.
Appearances are deceptive, though, and often the people you think you know the best, harbor secrets too dangerous to be shared. When tragedy befalls, the investigation that follows opens an ugly box of secrets that will test their friendship and find them struggling to make sense of the madness and deception surrounding them.
Who can they really trust anymore? How far must they go in their fight for survival?
How long will their friendship last once the masks have dropped and none can pretend any longer?
Fresh storyline with a twist that’s sure to take the reader by surprise is how one can describe Divyata Rajaram’s ‘If You Only Knew Me. ‘
Interesting, engaging and enlightening, ‘If You Only Knew Me’ reveals the soft and hard sides of human behavior. It also helps one understand how friendship among the most unlikely too is a possibility and how it works. The book is a grim reminder of the fact that looks are deceptive and the most hostile face can have a heart of gold, while the innocent lamb can be as crafty as a fox and as cruel as Medea.
Loneliness is a state that drives the mind to lengths it would never have even dreamt of if not left to battle it alone. ‘If You Only Knew Me’ portrays this aspect of the human mind beautifully in subtle strokes. There is murder, there is suspense and a lot happening out there in the pages of the book but what actually strikes one is the way loneliness, neglect and the craving to be recognized can actually take a toll not only of the physical self but of the mental state too.
Language is crisp and lucid with the power to make the reader visualize even little details like the settings of Monica’s Yoga Studio or Rupali’s dress style. This in turn transports the reader to the scene of action, making him/ her part of the story and enhances the joy of the read.
Characterization is one point where I felt justice has not been done to a few. While the characters of Rupali, Anjali, Sakina and Dipika are well developed and enable one to easily enter their mind and understand their thought process, the characterization of others like Monica and Rohit seem to be under- developed. One finds it difficult to comprehend the sudden change in Rohit’s nature from one furious at his wife’s amoral escapade to one willingly entering into an extra- marital affair.
Fast paced and easy to read, the book is a page turner.
TITLE: The Coin
AUTHOR: Sandeep Sharma
PUBLISHER: Redgrab Books & Anybook
GENRE: Fiction (Crime Thriller)
“Who likes Sudden death?” That’s the only question he used to ask before killing his prey.
Random people are being abducted from the capital city, Delhi and are being killed mercilessly. Before killing, the murderer is reciting them a story, a story about a 9 year old child who saw the brutal side of the world at a very young age. All the stories are being recorded for the Police department to see.
Raunak Upadhyay, the Police inspector who is handling the case, links the style of serial killing to the case he solved years ago. But the murderer of that case is in jail then who is following the footsteps?
Does the murderer want to convey something?
Whose story is being recited?
Why the murderer is taking personal interest in Raunak?
Is there any other side of this coin or both the faces are just the same?
Welcome to the Brutal world!
‘The Coin’ provides an interesting storyline that finds the reader enter a complicated maze, a maze that sees him/ her encounter many questions, rely on many options and ultimately reach a climax that is difficult to foresee considering that the build-up of the suspense is done cleverly.
A multi layered story, the book reveals a lot in terms of child psychology, criminal psychology and the unsavory happenings that the world is witness today in terms of child abuse. It also throws up some relevant questions regarding the above and nudges us to ponder on the same. In short the book can also be termed as a psychological thriller.
There are some interesting twists and turns that is bound to not only intrigue the reader but at times leave a bad taste. But then what is depicted here is cruel truth, a truth that society can hardly deny and overlook.
The characters are well-developed and the pace is fine.
Language: Though simple and easy to comprehend, there are certain usages that stand out like mismatched buttons in an otherwise fine shirt. They hardly fit in there and thus act as an impediment.
Editing: The story could do with a fresh round of editing to smooth out some bumps and rough edges and make it flawless.
A breezy read with a fresh storyline.
TITLE: Murder in Paharganj
AUTHOR: Kulpreet Yadav
PUBLISHER: Bloomsbury India
GENRE: Fiction ( Crime Thriller)
On a cold December morning, a white woman is found murdered in a cheap hotel in Paharganj, New Delhi. Vicks Menon, an out-of-work journalist, is tipped off by the hotel’s receptionist and is the first to arrive at the crime scene, where he discovers a lead. It’s the bus ticket used by the dead woman two days earlier. But Vicks is battling personal trouble. He has no money, an alcohol problem, and a nearly broken relationship with Tonya, his estranged live-in partner, a clinical psychologist who specializes in profiling hardened criminals. Moving in and out of the shadows, Vicks pushes his investigation harder as it takes him from Udaipur to Bangkok. On his side, for resources, he has a nameless intelligence operative, and to read minds, a lover who is beginning to trust him again. But above all, his instinct to stay inches ahead of death will be the key to his survival. If Vicks lives, this is one story that will change his life forever.
Intriguing, engaging and craftily weaved, ‘Murder in Paharganj’ has all the right elements in right proportions, to keep you glued to the pages of the book right from the word ‘go’ till the end. The best part is that inspite of the author revealing the person behind the crime at the beginning of the story itself, the reader’s interest interest in the story remains intact, i.e. the move does not act as a damper. It has the opposite effect. One can’t help but wonder regarding the motive. The author does a fine job leaving his reader’s guessing till around round-up time.
Packed with a bundle of emotions ranging from love to hatred and fear to relief, the story begins with a murder that at first appears to be simple, but later takes an interesting turn with the role of some covert operatives revealed and clandestine operations standing exposed. Interesting twists and turns unfold as the story moves ahead and we see one fellow racing against time with determination even in the face of sure death.
While shady characters and spooky settings set the perfect pace and background for the story, the style of narrative has the power to keep the reader hooked. Success with characterization is 75:25. While the character of the protagonist Vicks Menon and the antagonist Jamie are well developed, that of Vicks girlfriend Tonya lacks solid story goal. This makes her appear as an unwanted baggage, while in truth she has a lot of potential to contribute and work wonders for the story.
Language is simple, crisp and lucid devoid of nerve- wracking jargon and grammatical errors that tend to act as speed-breakers.
An enjoyable, breezy read that one can pick up either on a lazy afternoon when the sun is hot and one feels drowsy or on a late night when sleep tends to make the eyelids droop. Believe me, in both of cases the brain will be stimulated by the read and put on high alert.
A New York banker is descending into madness.
A being from an advanced civilization is racing to stay alive.
A dead man must unlock the secrets of an unknown dimension to save his loved ones.
From the visions of Socrates in ancient Athens, to the birth of free will aboard a spaceship headed to Earth, The Unity Game tells a story of hope and redemption in a universe more ingenious and surprising than you ever thought possible.
Metaphysical thriller and interstellar mystery, this is a ‘complex, ambitious and thought-provoking novel’ from an exciting and original new voice in fiction.
New York City. The 1990s. One of the world’s leading investment banks.
The Setting: Space
A distant planet. A dry surface orbited by three red moons and circling a distant sun. An advanced civilization living in underground chambers.
The Setting: Death
An open door. A library. A room of knowledge. A garden of dazzling color. The answers to every question that has ever been asked on Earth.
A brilliant scientist and wildly ambitious, David abandoned an academic path to follow the glow of Wall Street money. From a small town in Canada, he is now determined to make the riches he has given up his scientific talents for. He is always on edge, he must prove he is better than the other bankers, he has to win the best deals. However, he is easy pickings for the multi-million dollar bosses who see how they can use a greedy, naïve young man for their own purposes. David falls further into risk, mistakes and desperation, clutching at anything around him as his dreams and world falls apart.
Dry dust. Three red moons. A member of one of the most advanced civilizations in the universe, taught to believe that all the answers come naturally from the incontrovertible logic of the greatest good. Now, facing death, Noe-bouk decides to find out if there is something more than what he has been taught. Accepting a place on a space ship, the further he gets from the moons of Home Planet the more he understands that he knows nothing at all…
A respected lawyer. An adoring grandfather. Alisdair collapses outside his law offices in London and finds himself standing beside his unmoving corpse. He feels wonderful! He spots some wide open doors and bounds through them to discover a library, a garden, and his dead wife. All his life he has burned with the questions of the universe: what is the purpose of existence? What is good and evil? How far does the infinite stretch? With an afterworld guide and his wife at his side, his only limits now are to come up with new questions as all of his horizons expand beyond imagination…
Beautiful, young, angry. Apart from her beloved grandfather Alisdair, Elspeth has been let down by everyone in her life. She’s rejected her parents and their easy choices, she sees no meaning in the structures of society. She has always felt lost, and now the death of her grandfather is forcing her to make choices. With some money he has left her, she decides to follow a feeling and go on an adventure.
Legendary philosopher, pion of bravery and morality, a figure so strong his ideas and presence pervade the centuries and the dimensions of time and space. Who else would Alisdair call upon in the afterworld to help his granddaughter Elspeth, than the man he has revered his entire life, and whose teachings guided him? Yes, Elspeth can be helped, but she must be brought together with another soul – one who has truly lost their path.
“Elegantly written, expertly crafted and a moving message. I found this book very hard to put down. Moving and poignant.” ~ Lilly, Amazon US reviewer
“An engrossing, unique, and totally bizarre tale! I could not stop reading it once I started. Such a beautiful take on the afterlife, and its connection to those still living. A unity game, indeed!”~ Brenna, Goodreads reviewer
Title: Daughter of the Sun
Series: Cult of the Cat Series, Book 1
Author: Zoe Kalo
Genre: YA Contemporary Fantasy / Paranormal
Word Count: 93,000 words
No. of Pages: 330
Storyteller at heart…
A certified bookworm and ailurophile, Zoe Kalo has always been obsessed with books and reading. The pleasure of writing and sharing her fantasy worlds has remained. Today, Zoe passes her stories to you with lots of mystery, adventure, a hint of romance, and the delicious sweep of magic.
Currently, she balances writing with spending time with her family, taking care of her clowder of cats, and searching for the perfect bottle of pinot noir.
TITLE: The Accident On The A35
AUTHOR: Graeme Macrae Burnet
PUBLISHER: BEE Books
The methodical but troubled Chief Inspector Georges Gorski visits the wife of a lawyer killed in a road accident, the accident on the A35. The case is unremarkable, the visit routine.
Mme Barthelme—alluring and apparently unmoved by the news—has a single question: where was her husband on the night of the accident? The answer might change nothing, but it could change everything. And Gorski sets a course for what can only be a painful truth.
But the dead man’s reticent son is also looking for answers. And his search will have far more devastating consequences.
If you’d ask me whether I consider ‘The Accident on the A35’ a thriller or a mystery, I’d say ‘Neither.’
There’s nothing there that hints at it being so. There’s neither a brain wracking mystery to solve, nor interesting twists and turns that take you by surprise or keep you on the edge. In fact I felt the story is something like a character analysis of people with different traits. The story appeared to me as a work of psychological fiction rather than a mystery/ suspense novel, where an array of characters are presented and you get an opportunity to watch them at close quarters, analyze their actions, and reactions and search for answers to the same.
Having worked for a pretty number of years in the field of translation, I know it’s a tough job to translate a piece of literary fiction with perfection. So though I’d not like to comment on the success of the translation of the original here, I’d just like to mention that I did feel that the book could do with a relook and fresh round of editing to smooth out some rough edges, darn some gaping holes, and remove some portions and instead just include the essence of the original so that it holds the reader’s attention from the word, ‘Go’ till the end. A cut here, a stitch there, can I’m sure do wonders for the story and in turn for the book.
The language is simple, pace is slow and the end abrupt.
If you are looking for a fast paced thriller, this one is definitely not for you, but if you are looking for a book that can give you an insight into people with different characters and different tastes, and if you are interested in analyzing them, then you may want to pick this one up.
Non-Fiction / Self Help
The whole world is seeking happiness. Who doesn’t want to be happy? But is everyone happy? Discover the most fulfilling journey to bliss and ultimate everlasting happiness.
There are three peaks of happiness. Most of humanity lives and dies on the first peak, being glad and being sad, experiencing joy and sorrow like a yo-yo.
Twenty percent of humanity is fortunate to live a life of contentment on the Second Peak of Happiness that offers tremendous joy and peace.
A small fraction of humanity goes on a quest for the third peak. The Third Peak not only gives one eternal bliss, everlasting joy, and peace, but also gives one freedom from problems, worries, and pain!
This book is a personal experience of such a traveler who climbed all the three peaks. He shares his journey and shows you the way to the Third and Ultimate Peak of Happiness.
“You can be as happy as you want to be. True Happiness, Ultimate Bliss lies beyond a pursuit of Pleasure and Peace. It is experienced by those who Discover the Purpose of Life!”
Read an Excerpt:
we are all on an eternal journey to destination happiness. Yes, happiness is a
journey, but not many people know that it is the path itself. You cannot get
happiness, but you can be happy. While there is no one on earth who doesn’t
seek this treasure, there are only a few who truly understand what happiness
can choose to be happy or unhappy? Happiness doesn’t just happen; it is a
choice you make” -RVM
joy, bliss and cheer. It is an emotion- energy in motion- that makes one glad,
just as unhappiness is an emotion, that makes one sad. A happy person is joyous
and he smiles and laughs just as unhappy person frowns and cries. We feel happy
and it shows. Happiness radiates through cheerfulness and enthusiasm. Although
happiness may be a common word, it is often quite tricky to define or explain
doesn’t want to be happy? Everybody on earth wants happiness, whether one is a
baby or an adult, be it man or a woman, Indian or American, black or white, or
rich or poor, who doesn’t want to be happy? Everybody alive on this planet
seeks happiness. Not just human being, it seems even animals wants to be happy.
We see that dogs wag its tail in joy, birds fly in the sky, fish swirl in the
water, and the peacock open their wings to dance in bliss. Don’t you think they
all seek happiness too? Everybody wants to be happy.
you were to ask different people around the globe, what they are seeking, you
would get different answers from each one. But if you further ask them, why
they are seeking it, you would get a common answer from all- “Happiness”. The
goal of life is happiness. Everyone wants to be happy, and people do different
things to achieve this one objective. To a businessman, a successful business
brings happiness. To artists, it may be a creative product that is born out of
their imagination. A student may be happy with excellence in exams, just as a
politicians is blissful on winning an election. We all do different things, but
whatever we do, the goal is one: We all want to be happy!
learnt one thing that the goal of life is to be happy, you have learnt
everything!” – RVM
About the Author:
AiR – Atman in Ravi, or the Soul in Ravi, is an embodied soul whose only mission in life is to realize the Truth and help people realize the Truth.
He was born on October 15, 1966 in Bangalore, as Ravi V. Melwani. At a very young age, he mastered the craft of business and became a very successful businessman who revolutionized retailing in India with the stores Kids Kemp, Big Kids Kemp, and Kemp Fort. After making millions, he realized that life is not just about making money. He shut down his business at the age of 40, transformed his life to RVM living by the RVM philosophy – Rejoice, Value Life, and Make a Difference. He started doing H.I.S. work – Humanitarian, Inspirational and Spiritual work. His mission was to “Make a Difference” in this world before his journey was over.
Beautiful, poetic and richly sensory, this is a tale that will haunt and lift its readers.
When she starts to notice her mother crying every time she is alone, Angela is determined to find out why, and to help her mother regain the happiness she herself feels. At the heart of her investigation are questions that now begin to haunt her: Where is her father? Why does no one come to the house? Why does her mother cry when she thinks no one can see her?
classic tale of love and loss will be rewarded with an intoxicating world” ~~ Kirkus Reviews
poetic and, in places, begs to be read repeatedly for the sheer joy of it… A
literary work of art.” ~~ Fiona Adams,
The Richmond Magazine
it is an often dreamy, oneiric narrative rooted in an exaltation of nature… A
lovely novel.” ~~ IndieReader
In 2003 she moved from New York to Kyiv, where she founded and managed Ukraine’s largest Internet company. She studied at Kyiv Mohyla Business School and earned an MBA, which included a study trip around China and Taiwan, and climbing to the top of Hoverla, Ukraine’s highest peak and part of the Carpathian Mountains. She also served as President of the International Women’s Club of Kyiv, a major local
In 2008, she decided to return to her dream of being a writer, and to dedicate her career to literature. In 2011, she completed The Woman Behind the Waterfall, set in a village in western Ukraine. While her first novel was with a London agent,
Leonora completed her second novel The Unity Game, set in New York City and on a distant planet.
TITLE: Krishnaa: Queen Bee of No. 8 West Iyen Street
AUTHORS: Radhika Giridharan and Vidya Nagaraj
PUBLISHER: Notion Press
When a marriage proposal from a much married 30 year old Raghavenrda for 12 year old Krishnaa comes knocking on the door of Gundappa Chowltry, life takes on a dramatic turn for Krishnaa. An official bride-seeing ceremony and a quick peek at the bridegroom seals things and before long Krishnaa finds herself embarking on her new journey with her new husband-a man she barely knows, to the temple town of Kumbakonam. What lies in store for Krishnaa in her new house as Raghavendra’s second wife? Where is Raghavendra’s first wife? Are Krishnaa’s dreams and desires fulfilled? What cards are dealt to Krishnaa by the hands of destiny?
While tracing Krishnaa’s life journey from 1904 to the modern times, the book captures the soul of the Indian Joint family system, the customs and traditions, the love and laughter and the ever green human values. Set in the picturesque temple town of Kumbakonam, on the banks of river Cauvery, amidst the majestic Gopurams of Chakrapani and Sarangapani temples, the story of Krishnaa unfolds in all its colourful glory.
Interesting and engaging, “Krishnaa: Queen Bee of No. 8 West Iyen Street” is the coming of age of not only the protagonist Krishnaa but an entire society or should I say a country. The book along with introducing us to life in the temple town of Kumbakonam and the metamorphosis of a happy –go-lucky child into a responsible adult full of empathy for her fellow beings gives us an insight into changing times, changing relationships and changing status and how they affect an individual. The changeover from a joint family set-up to the nuclear family set-up is woven seamlessly into the story and does touch a cord somewhere within people like myself who have lived in a joint family and have watched the same disintegrate with tears in the eyes.
Narrated in simple and lucid language, the book does spring up some surprises. Krishnaa’s attitude towards her husband’s first wife and Raghvendra’s attitude towards his wife’s family may seem unbelievable to the present day folks. Yet, we must remember that those were the times when one could sleep soundly keeping the doors ajar without fear of being robbed or seeing a knife on the neck. Those were the days when empathy was at its peak and greed a mere speck.
The characters though numerous are well- developed and relatable. The few lines of poetry at the beginning and end are like a fresh whiff of perfume added to make an already gorgeous lady stand out in a crowd. They complement the wearer (read story).
So is there anything that holds me back from saying, “Perfect?”
Well, I felt the book could do with a bit of fine tuning. Maybe a good editor could suggest some cuts, some changes to give the book a more professional makeover both in terms of content and length.
A simple yet engrossing read, one that’s bound to see the dull afternoon hours pass by with lightning speed.