Thursday, July 28, 2016

Review-An Autograph For Anjali by Sundari Venkatraman




            Another wonderful masterpiece by Sundari Venkatraman…

Sundari is famous for penning romantic novels, and now-a-days she is trying her hands in different genre. An Autograph for Anjali is one such experiment of hers, which has thriller, suspense at beginning with romance as backdrop.


Jayant, a typical Indian male who is pampered by his mother and two sisters before marriage, and expects his wife to do the same and be at his beck and call all the time. Though he keeps himself updated with recent technologies and happenings in business, he, never in 20 years of marriage updated his ideas about domesticity. In this matter his thinking still belonged to 18th century.  According to him, his wife should not have any life beyond him. He treats his wife and mistress as doormats under his feet. Though a top rung businessman, he was a failure as a husband.

Anjali, wife of Jayant Mathur, pretty, fierce, but oppressed by her husband, has her head above her shoulders inspite of being a rich businessman’s wife. She instills good values in her only son Arjun, whom she doesn’t want to become like his father, callous, dominating and calculative. Inspite of being under Jayant’s dominance and influence, Anjali tries to keep herself sane. But her patience wears off when she sees him crossing his limits and openly flaunts his mistress Seema at a party where she is invited. What happens next is worth a read.

Seema, Jayant’s executive assistant and latest mistress is a character not described much.

Arjun, Anjali and Jayant’s nineteen year old son, though he loves both his parents very much, he knows both his parents are poles apart and his Mom got a raw deal from this marriage. He shares a friendly relation with his Mom and is a constant support to her and vice versa.

Parth Temptation, thy name is Parth.  (Loved this).

Parth is that knight in shining armor who rescues Anjali and supports her during her emotional upheaval and helps her cope depression and gives her the respect and love she deserves.

These are the main characters around which the story revolves. The story opens with a murder, and then proceeds to full blown romantic track. Though I loved the story there are few points which I felt out of place or hard to digest.

Dr. Nalini’s identity is hidden from Anjali. But when she visits Dr. Nalini’s house-cum-clinic she is bound to see the nameplate or something which might reveal her true identity.

When Dr. Nalini first visits Anjali, she introduces herself as a friend. Even though Anjali is depressed at that moment, doesn’t she feel it odd after Dr. Nalini leaves, as who invited her to her house, etc?

Though Arjun loves his mom and respects his father, isn’t it little hard to digest that he call ups Parth and asks him if he can join Anjali on her Greece trip?

I would certainly have loved to read more about Anjali’s childhood and life before marriage, Seema’s life before Jayant, little more on Parth and also on Arjun’s childhood (which I think will come out in the sequel Arjun’s Penance).

Also the climax was abrupt and sudden. I would have loved if there was little more suspense or little more drama to give the story a suitable ending.

 Other than these little things, the story is a perfect blend of suspense and romance. Also the manner in which the dreaded D word – Depression is explained or handled in the story is well commendable. While reading, you feel hatred for Jayant, pity for Anjali, fall in love with Parth (sigh…), feel proud of Arjun and get irritated by Rana. Each character is well developed and explained.

My final verdict…must read once if you want to read some light hearted romance mixed with suspense.

Title : An Autograph For Anjali
Author : Sundari Venkatraman
Available on : Amazon.in



Disclaimer: I received a free copy of the book from the author in return for my honest review.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Review-Tales of Sunshine by Sundari Venkatraman




            Tales of Sunshine is a collection of ten short stories. Each story explores a different aspect of life.

            Tales of Sunshine is Sundari Venkatraman’s new release. Sundari is a well-known author, famous for her romantic novels. But recently she has also been trying her hands on different genre. Tales of Sunshine is one of her experiment.

Tales of Sunshine definitely has the flavor of Love, but of different shades. Not only does each story has love as a backdrop but also gives us an advice, each story, its title has a moral which touches the reader’s heart.

Tales of Sunshine explores love between two sisters, a mother and her kid, grandparents and grandchildren; so on and so forth. While reading you can feel an instant connection as most of stories depict our day-to-day incidents, which happen in every household.

For example in Exam Fever, Maya the mother is worried about her daughter Renu’s exam or in Breaking Free from the Mould, grandmother Gayatri is worried that her grandson Aarush is spoiling his future and will fall behind the rat race by choosing over languages instead of opting for some competitive exams.


“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” – Bernard M Baruch


In Ray of Sunshine, Raj is worried not about losing his job but the removal of dozen other people working under him. He is upset about the difficulties they will face rather than his own. Life Goes Out of Control is a typical story of fight between ambition and fulfilling parent’s dreams. Preeti wants to become an artist. Her life revolves around colours, canvas and easel. But her parents want her to fulfill their dreams by becoming a CA (Mom’s dream) or an Engineer (dad’s dream). Neither of them is bothered to know what she wants to become or where her heart lays.

A Promise Given is a heart touching story of Sachin and Aparna. Both meet at rehab where they are trying to come over drug addiction. Sachin is a typical rich spoilt brat, who doesn’t want to recover.  Aparna, who inspite of having gone through severe pain since a very young age, is full of smiles and life and tries to help doctor in helping Sachin recover.

Rakesh Nath’s Recovery is a bit spooky story. As the name suggests it's about Rakesh Nath’s road of recovery. But the plus point of this story is it gives a valuable lesson to all of us who are busy in running race of life. While we are so into race of making money, buying house and settling down in life that we neglect the little joys which life has to offer. But by the time we realize it, it's too late. This story is one of my favorite from the collection.

Until Death Us Do Part, is a thoughtful, heart wrenching story of Rekha and Sagar.  I loved William Shakespeare’s quote


“It's not in the stars to hold our destiny, but in ourselves.”


But what I didn’t like about this story is it gives a wrong message to masses. If Rekha wanted to end her abusive marriage, she could have considered other options. She was an educated woman, but the path she chose was not right.

Is Grandpa Home? is a story of tug of war a man faces when he has to choose between his wife and his father, also of a grandson’s love towards his grandfather. Day Dreaming Mercenary is a story of two sisters Rita and Reema. Rita who is a model feels Reema is just after her money as she does nothing but lazes around. One fine day when Rita follows her sister, she is spellbound when she sees what Reema does with her money.

Last but not the least, The Elephant in the Room is about two friends belonging to diverse financial background. Shruthi who has all the riches in the world and Nandita who belongs to middle class family. Shruthi likes to show off her riches and achievements to Nandita while on other hand she conveniently chooses to ignore Nandita’s achievements and hard earned success.


“Cutting people out of your life doesn’t mean you hate them. It simply means you respect yourself. Not everyone is meant to stay.” - Unknown


My take on book…. “MUST READ”. While some stories help us analyze our life and make it better while some make us sit back and set us thinking. What I loved the most is Sundari has revealed the suspense or important part at the end, which keeps the reader guessing.

Sundari, I am already a fan of your writing. I request you to keep writing and experimenting with different genre more often. J


Title : The Tales of Sunshine

Author : Sundari Venkatraman


Available on : Amazon Kindle  



Disclaimer: I received a free e-copy of the book from the author in return for my honest review.


Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Review-Destiny of Shattered Dreams by Nilesh Rathod



          Destiny of Shattered Dreams is Nilesh Rathod’s debut novel.

The story is about Atul Malhotra’s struggle to fulfill his dream and ambition, his success story and his downfall. In short this book is mix of corporate deals, political games and all that goes on in backdrop of corporate world.

Atul born in a middle class family has big dreams. He had struggled a lot to complete his education and get a job. Not satisfied with his job he gathers some friends-colleagues and starts a small start-up company of mobile service provider. With his will power, hard work and determination he climbs the corporate ladder very fast and makes a name for himself.

Roshni, his girlfriend and wife of 10 years, though born in a rich business family, falls in love with Atul. But as Atul climbs the corporate ladder, a wedge is drawn between these love birds and they start drifting apart.

Aarti is Atul’s support system, his colleague, his love. She joins his office as a trainee but she, too, with her dedication and hard work and with a chance meet with Atul gets closer and fall in love.

As Atul’s business expands, it attracts political bigwigs. That’s one mistake he does in his life…

Was that the only mistake of his life? Was that avoidable? Would his life been different if he had not taken that step?  To know more about it, read Nilesh Rathod’s Destiny of Shattered Dreams.

What I liked about the book:

          The author being a businessman himself has written well about how the corporate world works. The political and corporate nexus too is well defined and explained. The way the characters are introduced in the plot, their roles are well etched. I also liked the use of poems at apt places in the story to depict the mood of the plot.

What I didn’t like:

          A reader would have liked to know more on how Atul and Roshni met and fell in love, which is not mentioned. Some more details on Jyoti, Roshni’s sister on why she was hell bent on destroying Roshni’s life.  Too much of corporate lingo makes a reader, who is not well versed with those words feel lost.

          In short, one must read this book, if you like to read fast-paced, which gives a realistic feel and knowledge of corporate world, laced with passion, love, treachery all in one. 

About the Author :


          Nilesh Rathod is a businessperson, writer and poet. Co-founder of Ensemble Infrastructure India Limited, Nilesh’s company currently employs 2000 people.

Destiny of Shattered dreams is his debut novel. Nilesh is currently working on his second novel. He lives in Mumbai with his wife Preeti and sons Shloak and Parv. You may reach him at Nilesh@nileshrathod.in or http://www.nileshrathod.in

Book name : Destiny of Shattered Dreams
Author : Nilesh Rathod
Total number of pages : 244
ISBN : 978-81-291-3975-7
Binding : Paperback
Cost : 200 Rs
Genre : Fiction
Language : English
Publisher : Rupa Publications

Where we can buy the book from



Disclaimer : I received the free book from the author in return of a honest review.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Review-Dancing With Demons by Nidhie Sharma



DANCING WITH DEMONS
by
Nidhie Sharma



Blurb

Karan Pratap Singh is on the brink of winning the Amateur Boxing Championship, when in a moment, he loses it all. His fall from glory seems fuelled by ruthless arrogance and an out-of-control anger management problem. That, however is just symptomatic of a deeper issue. Buried under layers of his fractured subconscious lies a childhood secret he cannot come to terms with.

Sonia Kapoor is a beautiful, volatile young woman with a secret that torments her at night but a secret that she feels no guilt for.

When fate throws Karan and Sonia together in Mumbai, their personal demons and pasts collide and stir up trouble in their fragile and uncertain present. But, is redemption possible without forgiveness?

Dancing with Demons is a fast-paced action drama of love, loss and resurrection.


My Honest Review

Rarely do we come across novels of debutant authors which hold us in captive the moment the book lands in our hands.      

Nidhie Sharma’s Dancing With Demons is one such book. The story is about Sonia and Karan. Both are facing demons of their past. Both had incidences in past, which leaves them shattered and with deep wounds.

Karan’s childhood loss makes him an angry person and when during a crucial boxing match when he faces a person from past he loses his cool, which results in beating his opponent brutally which results in 4-year ban on boxing. His one mistake makes him lose the most crucial phase of his career.

Sonia, on other hand, too had a past which gives her nightmares. She did what she felt was correct to save that one person whom she loved the most. But alas... that same person instead of being grateful accuses Sonia of destroying her life. That one incident changes Sonia, her prescriptive towards life and people. To know more about Sonia's life and the mystery around her, one must definitely read the book. 

When fate throws these two shattered lonely persons together, how they face and overcome their past demons is worth a read.

Nidhie, being a debutant author has done a nice work. The way in which the boxing details, Karan’s training, each and minute details of the game are described makes you appreciate the author’s writing and research skills. While reading you feel it's written by someone who is into boxing as each and every minute detail is taken care of.

The way in which Nidhie has written about both the protagonist’s life, the way she has revealed their troubled past in bits and pieces throughout the book, which leaves the reader guessing and hooked to book and continue reading as what-happens-next kind of addiction. The twists and turns in the plots are unexpected and mind blowing.

Nice work Nidhie. Must read book if you love fiction, romance, suspense and action. Since it's gonna be made into movie soon (as it's written on the book cover), eagerly waiting to see the actions on screen, as I loved reading each and every part of the book and while reading the images have been played in my mind, can't wait to see those scenes on screen.

Happy Reading… 

Grab your copy @


Watch It...


ABOUT THE AUTHOR


The Book Club introduces Nidhie Sharma to you

1. Tell us a little bit about your background. When did you start writing?

My journey into the world of storytelling began way before I graduated with honours in English literature and was offered scholarship by the university. The early formative years took me into the world of the Panchatantra and classic English literature while I also watched my mother paint. At the same time, I got introduced to the joys of adventure sports too since my father was in the Armed forces. On hindsight, I think these early influences shaped my storytelling ability, albeit in a visual way.

I read voraciously through my teenage years and graduated to Booker prize winning novels quickly. I think reading good literature is hugely instrumental in widening mental horizons and giving the reader an ability to comprehend complex characters, their emotional and physical graphs, along with a unique insight into the geo-political landscape of the times the novel is set in. All of this is a fantastic bedrock and training ground for good writing.

I started experimenting with poetry and short stories initially, and a lot of the early writing during my childhood happened under the open sky in my garden, lying on the grass, dreaming about heroes, action and adventure.

At the age of twelve, I had written what might now be called a Novella. It was about the daily exploits of a girl and her group of friends and how they explored a new part of the nearby jungle every day, in search of wild animals, thrills, and adventure. It was autobiographical of course and my delighted parents had it printed and bound into a small book. They treasure it to this day.

Studying English literature in college helped me enormously in comprehending and interpreting works of literature and soon after, I started to write book reviews for national newspapers. I also wrote short stories every single day during those college years and I think that has helped me hone my craft.

I realize now that writing a drama set in the world of combat sports, which most critics have called visual and action packed, is no accident. Dancing with Demons is a sum total of all my early influences and experiences.


2. How would you describe your book Dancing with Demons? What prompted you to write a book on boxing?

‘Dancing with Demons’ is a gripping romance drama set against the backdrop of combat sports in India. It is the story of two fallen souls who must vanquish their inner demons to become the people they were destined to be. When the story begins, Karan Pratap Singh, an  angst-ridden boxer and the mysterious and volatile Sonia Kapoor are angry and emotionally damaged by their pasts and when fate throws them together in Mumbai, their personal demons and pasts collide and stir trouble in their fragile and uncertain present. "It was some night. Thunder and lightning playing, chasing one another like two furtive, carefree lovers, oblivious to the havoc they were wrecking. Sonia put her hand out of the window as the bus started to hurtle down the highway, to Mumbai. A sliver of lightning fell on the trees just ahead of them, setting a large bush on fire. Then thunder roared again... Perhaps this was an appropriate setting for what was to follow...two tumultuous lives on a head-on collision course.”

This book explores if redemption is possible without forgiveness and also delves into the depth and unsaid connection that Karan and Sonia have with each other. In fact, Sonia’s poems in the novel throw light not only on self-love and forgiveness but also on the passionate and intense relationship that these two anti-heroes share.

“I know I’m not easy to love
On somedays there’s no God above
And maybe it’s a messed up world
Into which we have been hurled
And maybe I remind you of you
So Love yourself darling, to love me too”

Overcoming one's limitations or demons is essential in order to fulfill one's true potential. That is the real core of this story. The good thing is, millions of people find a way to battle and overcome their inner demons. So there is hope for everyone and 'Dancing with Demons' is about that hope. It's about the light at the end of the tunnel.

This novel is a fast-paced story of love, loss and resurrection for both Karan and Sonia.  

3. What prompted you to write a book on boxing?

I was brought up in an army background that exposes you to adventure and the outdoors very early on. Having studied in various army schools across India, I trained in karate, horse-riding and attended adventure camps. Camping, trekking, hiking along with all the unforgettable misadventures shaped my love for the outdoors.

As a teenager, I watched live boxing matches as well. They fascinated me no end. Two men beating the hell out of each other while spectators egged them on. I noticed that every time a boxer bled in the ring, the audience cheered even louder. Human reaction to violence only shows how deep and primal that instinct is and this totally fascinated me back then. I started to watch boxing championships on the internet. Soon I was following the sport like a fan and started going for the big fights to Madison square garden while I was studying filmmaking in New York. I met boxers and coaches out of curiosity and interest. I spent time inside boxing gyms and also started to train and spar.

Personally, I love the raw athleticism in this sport and the fact that it is a skillful craft, needing strategy and forethought . Also, when the boxers fight, it is almost like a dance in the ring, lyrical and rhythmic, and that has drawn me to it visually as well. Given my exposure and interests, I think the stage to write Dancing with Demons, was set long ago.

4. What inspires you to write?

A lot of things actually but my mother’s abstract paintings have been my greatest inspiration. Almost nothing inspires me more than a work of art, even a great piece of music for that matter. The outdoors and the sight of a rising sun sometimes triggers the need to put pen to paper. Since I enjoy observing life and am particularly fascinated by human duality and contradictions, I spend a lot of time creating complex and flawed characters and then throwing them into a world I am familiar with. The writing that follows is automatically organic and un-manipulated. Ultimately for me, it’s almost always about exploring and learning something new through the process of creation.

5. And do you ever have a writer's block? What do you do to get rid of it?

I am very passionate about the stories I want to tell and on most days I don’t feel the block but when I do, I think discipline helps. I’ve realized through personal experience that showing up in front of that laptop every single day is the only way to beat it.


6. Who are your favourite writers and poets and have they in anyway motivated you to be better at your craft? If so, how?

My favorite writers are Rohinton Mistry, Ian Mcewan, Maya Angelou, Kiran Desai, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Samuel Beckett, John Donne and T.S Eliot, to name a few. The unparalleled quality of their writing is a huge motivation for any young storyteller and I’m no exception. Like I mentioned earlier, my journey into the world of writing began with reading good literature and I strive every single day to better my craft.

7. Apart from writing what are your other interests?

I enjoy the outdoors, adventure sports, photography, watching plays and music of all genres.

8. You are also a filmmaker, how do you juggle between both the crafts?

The first step for a Writer-Director like me is to put an interesting story in place and once that is accomplished, then it’s all about visually interpreting and executing it.

As a filmmaker, I think I  am lucky to have a unique advantage by virtue of being a novelist too. It has given me a deeper understanding of story, characterization, plot, subplots, genres, mood and tone,  all of which are an essential part of building an engaging narrative, be it for a movie or a novel. I also have greater understanding of the source material (the novel) and the training to adapt it for the screen. Infact, I have already finished adapting ‘Dancing with Demons’ into a screenplay and thoroughly enjoyed the process.

Although Cinema and literature are principally two different mediums, both aim at telling an interesting story well and despite their own unique challenges and audiences, I think it is possible to straddle them equally well if one has the talent, passion and training for storytelling.

Personally, I fell blessed that I am able to juggle between these two crafts and I’m having a lot of fun doing so.

9. Finally, what is your next novel going to be about and where do you see yourself in the next five years?

I write every single day and am sure the next story will find me soon enough.

The journey for ‘Dancing with Demons’ is still on and my full focus and energies at the moment are on directing the film.

I am a filmmaker-novelist and that’s all I know, so that’s where you’ll find me even five years down the line.



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Disclaimer: I received a free paperback version of this book from the author through The Book Club in return for my honest review.




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