Tormented by passion, wracked by betrayal, torn by the agony of separation, love in its many splendored forms is the origin of these incredibly endearing stories of Prem Purana.
Tormented by passion, wracked by betrayal, torn by the agony of separation, love in its many splendored forms is the origin of these incredibly endearing stories of Prem Purana.
AUTHOR: Bragadeesh Prasanna
As a torture technique, Waterboarding involves the torturer covering the face of the captive with a dripping wet towel to give a sensation of drowning. While the mind knows that it is not actually drowning, the captive’s body sends contrasting signals to the brain making it a very painful experience.
Ved, who just got out of a life-altering accident, finds out that he has gaping holes in the tapestry that was his past memories. He is unsure about his past and uncertain about his future but goes through with the present with the help of his friends Sara. Sara slowly builds Ved’s past for him, filling him in with people and instances he had forgotten.
As Ved struggles with the financial strain caused by his accident and subsequent medical bills and while figuring out whom to trust, Ved is forced to live in the moment, which is getting darker, more terrifying and maddening as his past catches up with him. Will he finally get to know who he was and how his past actions affect his present?
A love triangle woven with elements like love, lust, jealousy and deceit in right measure, ‘Waterboarding’ has at its core the issue of an identity crisis resulting on account of loss of partial memory. Ved the protagonist is at crossroads. The past is a puzzle and the present fails to help him solve the same. Old friends are either strangers or mere acquaintances. The one and only one in whom he places his trust and looks up to act as a bridge between his past and present too fails him. Secrets disturb him and ill health makes him reticent. Life looks bleak. That’s when things look up…..
Jolts and shocks unexpected leave Ved gasping for breath. But will the will to survive, the urge to discover, the challenge to accept help him move on in life or will fear, anxiety and frustration pull him down and let him drown? The twists, the turns and the climax have addressed these questions beautifully. However, certain things especially with respect to the happenings in Maya’s life, her easily giving in to certain demands made by Ved despite the fact that he is not much of an acquaintance and she is quite well educated and has seen much of the world, defy logic.
Narrated from the point of view of the three main characters i.e. Ved, Sara and Maya, the story is like I’ve mentioned earlier, not devoid of flaws. There are inconsistencies in the style of narration at times.
The characters of Ved and Sara are well developed but, the character of Maya is confusing. I’d have also liked to know more about Ramesh. His character has the potential of adding value to the story if handled better.
Language though simple and devoid of jargon, fails to impress at places. A revisit in terms of editing is urgently needed to fine tune certain parts of the book and make it more relatable and enjoyable.
I’ll give the book a 3 on a scale of 5.
A serial killer on the loose who chooses a particular day of the month to kill his victims; a strained father-son relationship, when the father returns home after being presumed dead; a girl who can go to any extent for her career and money; a woman openly acknowledging the presence of the many ‘other women’ in her life; a lady’s dark past finally catches up with her… Life is an ongoing sequence of events meshed with everyday mundaneness so that it becomes difficult to isolate them.
‘Fragments’ captures the essence of those parts of our lives that we are not proud to show to others. It takes you through a range of emotions and leaves a big question mark on what is supposed to be.
AUTHOR: Manoj V Jain
PUBLISHER: Notion Press
Do you have the strength (or folly?) to give up everything in a quest to find happiness?
Inder, age 47, a family man and a successful financial consultant decides to walk away from everything he knows and loves.
He travels through the heart of India in search of himself, meeting new people, learning lessons and giving himself up to serendipity.
Balraj is thought-provoking, troubling and even uplifting at times.
Manoj Jain weaves a simple tale that explores the evolution of a soul-searcher through the travels of a man on a quest to find the answers he set out for.
Overwhelming is the word that comes to my mind. Interesting and relatable, ‘Balraj’ is the story of a soul in search of the true self. It’s not about spirituality. Neither is it about escapism. It is about freeing the self from the hectic often routine and monotonous, life and seeking the actual purpose of one’s being on earth or simply being the true self. It is about shedding off that which weighs you down and accepting that which buoys your spirit. In short it is about seeking happiness that uplifts the self.
Woven beautifully, the story of Inder aka Balraj takes us on a journey of sorts, a journey where Inder the dissatisfied professional unable to put a finger to the reason for his growing uneasiness, decides to quietly quit his life of fame and luxury and set out on an unknown, untrodden path with a new name, a new identity and just a few clothes from his past. The people he meets on the way, the life he lives and experiences while travelling from one place to another, the ideas he shares and implements to better the life of others , the lessons he learns and the peace and tranquility he experiences bring about a marked change in his demeanor making him healthier, happier and more acceptable.
A straightforward story right from the word ‘go’ the book is short and touching. But……the climax…..I must admit I didn’t see it coming.
The book does touch a chord somewhere. It reminds us of those teeming millions who lose their true self trying to compete with the world and building a career big and demanding. They fail to live and love and often in the process become self-centered. While some choose the path that Inder takes before it’s too late, others fail to take the decision till the end and thus lose out on much.
A must read.
There are answers to a lot of questions that the human mind seeks, in this simple yet cleverly crafted philosophical fiction of sorts. One can feel an aura of peace engulf one by the time one reaches the last page of the book.
This is definitely a book one would always like to revisit. I’ll give it a 5on a scale of 5.
TITLE: Unlawful Justice
AUTHOR: Vish Dhamija
PUBLISHER: Harper Collins India
GENRE: Fiction (Mystery)
Baby, the sixteen-year-old daughter of the Diwan family’s household help, has been raped and brutalized. Vansh Diwan, a criminal lawyer, finds himself torn between a shot at justice for the girl and a very powerful client. He cannot bring himself to proceed at the risk of all that he has secured for his family. His wife Priti, distraught and devastated at her husband’s decision, turns to an old friend for help.
Akash Hingorani, top criminal lawyer and best friend to Priti and Vansh, must step up. He is Baby’s last chance. But things quickly unravel as Akash’s probe into the rape suddenly turns into a murder investigation. A powerful legal thriller that moves breathlessly from crime scene to courtroom to homes to lay bare the difference between law and justice.
Cleverly crafted and captivating, the story takes us on a whirlwind journey of a courtroom drama where a battle for ‘justice’ is being fought, justice for one who himself was the perpetrator of a heinous act. Money and muscle power are used to try and circumvent justice. Two loving sous find their relationship on the verge of a breakdown and a minor lives a trauma one that is sure to leave scars deep and dirty.
The twists, the turns all look simple and straight on the surface. The first crime is an open and shut case where the perpetrator is known to the reader and is identified by the police within hours of the crime. What one just needs to know is what fate awaits him. Will justice be delivered or will he escape given that one of the best criminal lawyers is ready to fight it out for him at the risk of losing his family and all that he holds dear? But what comes as a surprise is the second crime one which leaves everyone baffled. The perpetrator of this one is too clever for the arms of the law to catch him/ her.
So what happens?
Packed with drama, emotional outbursts, camaraderie and an exciting insight into a legal battle, the story takes an interesting turn only to leave us stunned in the end. The climax is one that one may hardly foresee.
The characters are well developed and one can easily relate to their actions, reactions, mental agony, outbursts, etc.
Language is simple, crisp, lucid and devoid of heavy legal jargon such that are hard to digest. Hence it is easy for even a layman to enjoy the courtroom scenes which are of course the highlight of this book.
Enjoyable, engrossing and engulfing, the book is definitely a must read thriller. I’ll give it a 4 on a scale of 5.
‘I received a copy from Writersmelon in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.’
TITLE: The Colours of Passion: Unravelling dark secrets behind the limelight
AUTHOR: Sourabh Mukherjee
GENRE: Fiction ( Crime Thriller)
Within days of her fairy-tale wedding with Manav Chauhan, Hiya Sen, the reigning queen of Tollywood, is brutally raped and murdered. As ACP Agni Mitra investigates into the high-profile murder, he meets Neha Awasthi, with whom Manav broke his engagement to marry Hiya, Neha’s father Deepak Awasthi, who was eyeing business benefits through the alliance, Mayank Kapoor, an alcoholic model and Rituja Bose, the diva who had reigned over Tollywood over the past decade. When two more murders connected with the case make headlines, it’s time for Agni to find answers to perplexing questions and unveil shocking truths.
The Colours of Passion breezes through Kolkata’s glamorous world of industrialists, movie stars, models and fashion designers laced with drug addiction and illicit liaisons, with a heart-wrenching tragedy at its core.
Plot/ Story-line: Guess, guess, guess….. only to realize in the end that all your calculations were wrong and the master plotter and his/ her motive was something you had not foreseen. Cleverly crafted, ‘The Colours of Passion’ is a murder mystery thriller that engulfs you making it literally impossible for you to put it down till you read the last line. The murder, the motive, the suspects, efforts to unravel the mystery and the final truth make for an engrossing read.
The twists and turns coupled with the sleuthing activities of ACP Agni and Inspector Arya take one through a maze of activity, activity that sets one’s brain working to fit pieces of the puzzle in the right slot to complete it. In short, the story challenges the sleuth in the reader.
While I loved the twists and turns and the plot and sub-plots what turned out to be the icing on the cake was the climax. Never in my wildest dream would I have thought that the story would take such an unpredictable turn and that I believe sums up the success of the book.
Characterization: The characters are well developed and come across as normal human beings packed with the good and the bad i.e. they are easily relatable. While ACP Agni is level headed and mature as should be a distinguished cop, actress Rituja is an attention seeker, a woman jealous of her competitor, and why not, after all it is the lure of the silver screen that has enticed her. The very thought of someone taking her place can make her insane. The other characters too help take the story forward smoothly either as suspects or as persons in the know-how of secrets dark and disturbing.
Language: Simple, crisp and lucid. The author has been able use imagery to create an air of suspense. Words flow smoothly and emotions find expression thus making the book a veritable treat.
Pace: The pace is perfect, neither slow nor too fast. It is steady and smooth.
THE INDELIBLE MARK
The editing wowed me and I was not surprised.
I could not have expected anything else from ‘The House of Readomania.’ They truly are one of the best in the Industry. Book after book that leaves their desk speak volumes of their sense of perfection and mastery in the field of editing. This exactly is the reason why I have no two thoughts while picking up their books provided the genre is to my liking and the blurb appeals to my senses.
A nail-biting thriller with a twist that will leave you shaking your head in disbelief ( not because it’s unrealistic but because you’d have hardly ever thought on those lines), I’ll give this a 5 on a scale of 5.
TITLE: Behind the Scenes – A Vikram Rana Mystery
AUTHOR: Sharmishtha Shenoy
GENRE: Fiction ( Thriller mystery)
Fading superstar of the Bengali film industry Ryan Gomez is poisoned to death while shooting for a film in the pretty hill town of Darjeeling. Sheila Dhar, the film’s beautiful female lead with whom Ryan had recently broken his engagement is the chief suspect. Sheila attempts suicide and is shifted to a hospital in Kolkata for treatment. The CID, Kolkata, takes over the investigation and the film crew is allowed to move back to the “City of Joy”.
Though revenge for the broken engagement seems the obvious motive for the murder, there are several others who had reason to wish Ryan dead. Powerful film producer Rustom, the love of whose life ended up becoming Ryan’s first wife. Screenplay writer Allan, who was in danger of being fired from the production house thanks to a public tiff with Ryan. Acclaimed film director Paddy, who was in love with Sheila. Sheila’s mother, Jaya, who was strongly opposed to her marrying Ryan. The family of Ryan’s first wife, who bear a deep grudge against him.
There are suspects galore, but the murderer has not reckoned with the tenacity of Vikram Rana.
‘Behind the Scenes’ marks the coming of age of Author Sharmishtha Shenoy in the world of crime thrillers.The author has I must admit come a long way from her first book in the Vikram Rana Series both in terms of plot and style.
An engrossing thriller with the potential to keep one glued to the pages till the end, ‘Behind the Scenes’ takes one through a maze of emotions like love, lust, empathy, jealousy, suspicion and anger. It also brings forth the murky side of the film industry where money moulds souls, entraps the gullible and has the potential to ruin lives.
An array of suspects and two confused investigators a cop and an ex-cop, test the reader’s analytical skill till the very end. The twists and turns only add to the confusion. But ultimately when all the pieces of the puzzle fall in place one cannot not help but empathize with culprit. Yes, a crime is one that cannot be condoned but then sometimes circumstances drive a person to the point of insanity which in turn acts as the trigger. Pent up emotions, love and possessiveness can often turn out to be lethal, lethal to the point of causing irreparable damage and this aspect in a relationship has been brought out well in ‘Behind the Scenes.’
Language is simple, crisp and lucid making for a smooth read. Yes there are a few typos here and there that need to be corrected.
A nice thriller that nudges the detective in you to try your hand to solve the mystery, I’ll give this one a 4 on a scale of 5.
TITLE: The Money Lender: Tales from a small town in South India
AUTHOR: Manju Nambiar
“I am a money lender by profession and belong to a small town in the Southern State of Kerala in India. I help people financially in their times of need, and demand exorbitant interest rates in return. I love money. I think the world revolves around money. Money is one thing that can bring happiness, peace, tranquility to my life. As I spent all my life dealing with money and people who yearn for it, I get to hear several interesting tales about the fascinating people around me. So I compiled few of such amusing stories for my readers. These stories reflect our town, our way of living, our thoughts and priorities and our deepest innermost fears.”
The book is a collection of short stories, narrated through the eye of a small town money lender. As the story unfolds, we see how the money lender gets involved in the town’s problems and provide solutions in the most humorous and practical manner.
59 pages of truly engrossing read, ‘The Money Lender’ had me smiling all the way.
Want to know why?
Well, generally the very term ‘Money Lender’ evokes images of an ugly ruffian, selfish and hard-hearted who is devoid of empathy and just knows how to mint money and entrap the gullible. But here I came face to face with a soul who though out to mint some fast money feels for his fellow beings. Warm, intelligent and shrewd he is the heart of Gulf Town, ever ready to lend an ear to the woes of his simple town folk, part with some sane advice and even connives to bring frustrated souls together and soothe frayed spirits. His attempts bear fruit at times but there are times when his well-intentioned plans fail leading to some hilarious situations and a few heart burns.
The characters are well developed and one can’t help but visualize each and every one of them in flesh and blood as one progresses with the stories. They are live and living.
Language is simple, crisp, lucid and free of jargon making it easy to live the life of the small town and its people; their daily life, woes, worries and aspirations.
MY ONLY GRUDGE
Only four stories! Not enough to satiate my hunger given that I truly relished the fare spread out by the author. It was like you get invited for a sumptuous feast of mouth- watering dishes only to find that the host has run out of them when you are just half-way through. But wait……on second thoughts is it the author’s way of bringing forth the true colour of the Money Lender i.e. his penchant for releasing money in installments and keeping his client on tenterhooks 🙂
Looking forward to a sequel of the book I’ll give it a 4 on a scale of 5.
TITLE: Breathing Two Worlds
AUTHOR: Ruchira Khanna
Neena Arya, a Delhi-born goes abroad for further studies and decides to settle down there. Determined to be a ‘somebody’ from a ‘nobody’ she blends with the Americans via the accent and their mannerisms while having a live-in relationship with her European boyfriend, Adan Somoza.
When illness hits home, Neena rushes to meet her ailing dad. Tragedy strikes and amidst the mingling with relatives and friends, she finds herself suffocated with the two different cultures that she has been breathing since she moved to the United States. How will she strike a balance between both the cultures as she continues to support her widowed mother? Will she be able to do justice to her personal and professional life after the loss?
Amidst the adjusting she bonds with an ally and learns about ties beyond blood. On what grounds will she be able to form an invisible thread that she has longed for since childhood?
Breathing Two Worlds ventures into cultures and ethnicity allowing Neena to ponder upon her foundation and priorities.
Storyline- Plot: Interesting! An uncomplicated and simple read, ‘Breathing Two Worlds’ is the story of a confused soul one which is sandwiched between two extremely different tastes, cultures and mannerisms. The adjustments, the frustration, the suffocation’, the dilemma that the soul i.e. the protagonist experiences are brought out beautifully in the story. While one world is always pricking her back with its prying eyes, the other is least concerned with what she does, how she behaves in public, etc., etc.
The book is also about making choices, bonding, caring for others sentiments and coming to terms with grief. It also reflects the dilemma of those millions who migrate from their roots to lands distant and alien, lands where they have to struggle to make a niche for themselves, lands which have an entirely different set of rules, cultures, traditions and habits. There are philosophical moments and emotional moments.But the thing that stands out is the resilience of the human mind and its ability to adjust to changing situations.
No twists, no turns yet exciting and engrossing that’s ‘Breathing Two Worlds.’
CHARACTERIZATION: The characters especially that of the protagonist Neena, are well developed. The sub characters add to the story and reflect the myriad shades of human nature well.
LANGUAGE: Simple. Yet there were places where the flow was found wanting. The book could do with a fresh round of editing to smoothen out the flaws. Though not many they still have the ability to act as irritants at times.
PACE: Initially slow, but once it picks up there is no looking back.
A simple yet interesting and engaging read, one that you can pick up on a lazy afternoon to beat the heat or soothe frayed nerves; I’ll give it a 4 on a scale of 5.