Review: Ashvamedha!

 

Was it worth it? I don’t know. But I have realised that there is something attached to the power of politics that is addictive. Power to influence, power to make yourself heard, power to make you important;

  • Ashvamedha, The Game of Power

A story is interesting as long as the plot is strong and the characters are dynamic. One such book that held me captive is Ashvamedha!

Name: Ashvamedha, The Game of Power

Author: Aparna Sinha

Publisher: Srishti Publishers

ISBN: 978-93-82665-76-2

ashvamedha  Description of Ashvamedha:

Ashwin Jamwal, an ordinary man leading an ordinary life is chosen to be the most powerful man across the globe. His surroundings and the people arround him have been manipulated, threatened and even murdered to get him to the ultimate seat of power.

However the question remains: Why?

On the other hand there waits a man in the shadow of darkness, planning for years to be the most powerful man in the world. However, that can be achieved in only one way: to defeat the current most powerful person on the Earth.

Since power has been divided among people of various sectors, the only way to defeat the most powerful man to create him first. Hades is out there to do just that.

The story of power, politics, love and torture come together to make a gripping story that takes a reader to another level of mystery and crime. With a bated breath jump on this journey with Ashwin to reach the peak of power.

A fair warning: Power is addictive!

To check out the trailer:

 

My take on Ashvamedha, The Game of Power:

Every story has a protagonist and an antagonist. Never had I ever read about an antagonist create and help the protagonist to become powerful.

That is the sole reason I chose to read this book. The verdict: the read till the end was definitely worth the effort!

The story is well written and starts off with Ashwin put into a political drama. The death of a minister and his lover is a great way to bring the curiosity to edge.

Then the story takes us back to Ashiwn’s past and his journey to become the most powerful person in the world.

Here the story seems little unbelievable as most of us know that power is a very fickle thing. Extreme planning may not yield the expected results when power, money and cunning minds are involved. Blow the plot into a global scale and the plot seems rather unrealistic.

However, once the reader crosses the threshold of believing or not, the story is unparallel and reminds me of Sidney Sheldon’s “Tell Me Your Dreams”. I had loved that book as it had left me speechless and now Aparna Sinha’s “Ashvamedha” has left me in the same state.

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Maybe power is something that belongs to the mind. It is an illusion, a palace of glass that shatters the mind once the control slips. The story leads the reader to firmly believe in this aspect.

The best part however is the climax!

Never, ever had I guessed the direction it was heading in and it left me both speechless and shocked.

It was like “all along I saw the signs that lead me to the destination. I ignored it. Then when the destination was just beyond the range of visibility, it slapped me hard in the face while pouring ice-cold water on my head!”

Perfect ending!

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The story may have its share of loop holes and the hero worship involved, however, it makes up with the dramatic style of writing and the suspense it keeps on building with each page.

The other thing that made me love the story was the unique way of character development. The introduction of character was delayed leading the reader further into the author’s trap of suspense.

Together the story was something I really enjoyed reading and I am awfully sorry for the delayed review. I apologize for the radio silence in the matter of books!

My end of semester exams are going on and will last till 7th of January.

If this book had the capacity to make me quit studying for exam, imagine power it wielded over me!!

The plot is 100 times better than all of my text books put together! So I rate it a 4/5 stars!

Lots of love to the author for sending me the book and being ultra patient with me! Also a huge shout out to Tushti Bhatia for the amazing book!

 

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Review: Colorful Notions!!

Ever dreamt of packing your bags and just leaving for a road-trip to unknown destinations and places that signify the cultural heritage of your country?

If yes then I have something to say to you.

Pack light, carry cash and the most important thing – do not at any cost, fight with your comrade.

Where did I ever learn this?

Sitting at home with an amazing book name: Colorful Notions!

Name: Colorful Notions: The Roadtrippers 1.0 (Click on the name to buy)

Author:  Mohit Goyal

Publishers: Srishti Publishers

ISBN: 978-93-82665-80

colorful-notions-197x300  Description of Colorful Notions: The Roadtrippers 1.0

Abhay alias Ab dreams to take a journey across the length and breadth of our country in hopes of witnessing the cultural diversity first hand and get the kick out of traveling the terrain with his car.

With him joins his side kick Shashank alias Sasha and Sasha’s beautiful girlfriend Unnati. Unnati provides the voice over to the video of the journey which is to be made into a movie by Ab.

With just high hopes and big dreams the trio set out to make a record and travel the distance to witness twenty-five amazing places known for their spectacular beauty and notable foodie delights.

On their epic journey they encounter the adrenaline rushing action sequences, haunted forts, tryst with love and fight between friends. They encounter the wildness of the nature and craziness of the humans across states. Meanwhile they delve into the past hidden in the stones and rocks, palaces and caves. Their journey takes them across places that they planned to visit and emotions that they had never planned to experience.

Join in this epic journey with colorful words and feel the emotions of twenty-five places sitting right at your home!

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My take on the Colorful Notions:

I would never ever give up a successful job just to go on a trip. That is something all my friends and family are aware of.

So starting this book was essential to me. I’m an occasional traveler and I only travel with family or friends. Never alone and never in a small group. I never found it fun.

When I started with the book, I was wondering is this trip worth it for the characters. Exactly on the same lines of the parents mentioned in the book. Then the journey just started off without any delay. That’s when I started enjoying the read.

Each of the places is so beautifully described that suddenly I have twenty-five places to visit, okay not exactly, around 20 at least.

That’s because I have visited the beautiful Mysore palace, breathtaking Rameshwaram, calm and soothing Kanyakumari. I guess I would have visited other places when I was young and I practically have no recollection of the places.

leh-ladak * Pictures taken from google. I do not own them*

The book is not just a journey to various different places. It is an emotional journey as well.

That is written so perfectly that the reader will not be able to find where they changed their perspective of going on and about the journey. In the very beginning, the journey is all about making it across the country. Somewhere the purpose is learning the most that you can from each culture and each place. The confusions and the turmoil in the minds of the characters is something that was worth all the effort of reading. It is easy to relate to and believe in. Also, the solutions offered for these are really good.

The fights and stress that the characters undergo are written in a brutally honest way which I really liked. In a travel book the fatigue and travel sickness are a must. Also missing home is something essential just like the song by Passenger “Let her go” suggests.

My most favorite part was Kanyakumari. Love the way author has expressed the ocean, the scenario and the love. I have been there and I know how it feels. Thank you Mohit for such a writing! It really took me to the same place again.

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What I missed in the book is some snow-covered peaks and their description. I would have loved to read more about their trip in Leh and Ladakh. I wish a little more on the people there and also in Kerla would have made the journey better.

Weaving the journey into a story is pretty hard and the author has done it pretty effortlessly. One can just go with the flow.

The greatest and the most epic part of the book is…

Hands down winner of magical moment in the book…..

The Taj!

The description, the situation and the timing, fantastic! no words can express that.

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With all things in mind I will rate the book 4/5 stars!!

I received this book in exchange of an honest review from The Tales Pensieve. Thank you so much for the book!

Review: The Peshwa!

Life is a battle of sorts, there is a story behind every battle fought, written by the winner. The only choice is that, either you choose to write the tale or life will do it for you.

One day the father may pass away but on that day, the son becomes the father. The grandson becomes the son. There is always a father; always a son. Always a parent; always a child.

  • The Peshwa

History has a charm that many of us don’t take a second glance at. The story changes with time and the recorded story is just a document. Until there comes a time when the same story is retold with the emotions and life instilled into the characters. One such story brought back to life is : The Peshwa.

Name: The Peshwa, The Lion and the Stallion( Click on the link to buy)

Author:Ram Sivasankaran

Publishers: Westland Books

ISBN:978-93-85724-21-3

the peshwa.jpg  Description of The Peshwa:

When the sun shines over the Mughal empire, the bearers of the sun, the Marathas fell to the onslaught of the Empire.

Over years, the Peshwa of the Maratha Confederacy, Balaji Vishwanath Bhat gains strength to retaliate and bend the knees of the Emperor on the Peacock throne.

The only thorn in his side is the loyal and faithful Nizam. His cunning mind is the only thing saving the Empire from falling to the Marathas. However, the lion of Mughals makes peace with the stallion of Marathas with a gesture that leaves the Marathas in peace and Nizam in fury.

The Nizam is sent to Malwa to suffer in the barren lands close to the Maratha hold. There he sits and makes his grand plan to extract revenge from the Peshwa.

Unfortunately, before he gets a chance to retaliate, the Peshwa moves on to the other world, leaving his eighteen-year-old son to be the sword and shield of the Chatrapathi.

The young Peshwa with his theoretical knowledge has to prove his mettle and fill in the shoes of the Peshwa heritage. Being the first Peshwa to learn the art of warfare, he has an immense responsibility to bear the confederacy and keep it from falling apart. At the same time, for the Mughals, the time has come to make their move.

How will the new Peshwa make his stand? How will he emerge from the clutches of the lion? How will he lead his men to the battlefield when he has yet to witness one for himself?

What does it take to become a Peshwa?

What is he willing to sacrifice for the peace and lives of his men?

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My take on The Peshwa:

One thing that I understood when I started reading this story was, the future is set in motion for every individual even before the plot has been planned. The only way is to fulfill the role that is designed for the individual.

At the beginning, the story is setting the stage for the young Peshwa to take up responsibilities. Under the guidance of a clever and cunning man, the game is put into action. What he does not know is that another story is overlapping him throughout this journey.

I absolutely loved the story from the very beginning and I am in love with the author’s style of narration. He has painted the 18th century with his words for the reader to get lost into and live a life of court politics and warfare.

In between, he brings the joys of life and gives each and every character the freedom to develop into actual people. The emotions that are portrayed are so good that even a person who does not know history will fall in love with the characters.

The strength of each character, the shrewdness, the love, the pain, the joy and the way they synchronize with each other is something that I really love about the book.

The best part is

The war.

The writing that went into creating a battlefield and then choreographing the fight in a way that leaves the reader, is pure magic! I had goosebumps while reading it. I had not expected the war to be that captivating.

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Another thing that left me baffled and in pain after finishing the book is that the story is not focused on the protagonist and antagonist alone. It is true that the story is from their perspective and the journey is designed in a way that we understand the emotions of the Peshwa. I loved it very very much.

However, the characters that come along this journey are growing and developing with the time. Nobody is forgotten and faded. Everyone is accounted for and everyone gets a place in the story of victory.

I think that is true with each one of us. A lot of people make their presence in our lives. When they leave, there is a hole left behind by them. Maybe someone may fill that gap, however, the pain still remains.

One of my friends said a statement: ” You may join a broken thread, however, the knot will always remain and remind you that the thread is not as it used to be”.

Burning the bridges is the easy part, turning and looking back at the people on the other side is the hardest. The Peshwa is one book where you can actually feel this.

So with everything, I rate the book 5/5 stars!!! I loved the writing, the style of narration and the story itself.

I received the book from Writersmelon in exchange for an honest review and it has in no way affected my views about the book.

Review: A Knotty Affair!

A love story will never go out reading trends, no matter which season the reader is holding on to. Not that I endorse love stories (A lot of you already know the way I treat them) however, I did like the title of this book and requested to read it.

Here comes, A Knotty Affair.

Name: A Knotty Affair (Click on the link to buy)

Author: Dhaval Birajdar Jinadatt

Publishers: Frog Books

ISBN: 978-93-52016-24-2

knottyaffair.jpg Description of A Knotty Affair:

A Knotty Affair narrates the story of Viraj, a guy who has gone through hardships of being from a poor background, having an inherent problem of stammering and immense lack of confidence.

Currently, he has overcome most of his past fears and troubles.

Or he assumes as much..

Until the past calls him on a wrong number and rips apart his present with the floodgates of the past.

His past holds an unhealed wound named Ruhi Khanna. When she waltzes back into Viraj’s life, what should he do? Should he face it and lay the pain to rest? Or should he ignore and move on?

That is one part of the story. There is another part where he has to defend the honor of his father in front of the whole world which defamed him and led him down a path that he couldn’t return from. To what lengths can a son go to defend his father?

My take on A Knotty Affair:

I have a mixed opinion about the book.

There is no match for a well-written plot and amazing narration. Which, in my opinion was lacking on both fronts with this book. The story was good, I’m not against that. However, there are million love stories out there that make some smile while making others weep. This book did neither of that for me. That was quite a letdown.

The editing was very poor as the story is narrated in the same way that a conversation occurs. That is rather irritating when you want to enjoy the story but end up finding mistakes on each and every page. That was a major hindrance while reading. That is also an avenue where newer editions can be developed and rectified.

The best part of the book was the character development.

Ruhi and Viraj are the focus of the book, however, there are other characters who associate themselves with the story and are developed well along the path.

During development, I did find that Viraj is an idiot. Characterizations such as these are what leads to women assuming men to be emotionally weak and desperate to find love. There are situations when Viraj does make himself strong, like the court scenarios. I feel good when I read the subtle strength of the character brought out in a way that the reader can take an example from.

I will not comment on the characterization of Ruhi as I am still in a dilemma of my own regarding her. I find her irritating and confused. I wish she was more sorted out rather than making a mess out of the story. Maybe, that is the reason the book is named “A Knotty Affair”. Now I get it.

So all together I rate the book 3/5! With a better editing the star rating could have been more.

I thank the author and Nishant Joshi for sending me this book. It was a light read for a heavy day!

 

Review: Men and Dreams in the Dhauladhar

 

Standing at the base of a hill, looking at the clouds enveloping the graceful peaks and asking the giant structure: What is it that you see and not share with us?

There is a general opinion that when someone faces problems beyond his comprehension, then he goes in search of forces that are strong enough and large enough to fight his battles for him.

I felt such a thing twice. Once on top of Kodchadri hill. Other, while reading the book:

“Men and Dreams of the Dhauladhar”

Name: Men and Dreams in the Dhauladhar (Click on the link to buy)

Author: Kochery C. Shibu

Publishers: Niyogi Books

ISBN: 978-93-85285-00-4

Men-and-Dreams.jpg  Description of Men and Dreams in the Dhauladhar:

Men come and go in this universe as a part of the life and death cycles. How they come together is a story worth sharing.

Men and Dream in the Dhauladhar tells a tale that ranges over the two ends of India. The story of a Kalari warrior from Kerala who leaves his birthplace to defend himself from his enemies entwine with the story of Khusru, a Kashmiri boy entangled with the terrorists, who wants to get out of the web. In his life enters the beautiful Rekha, a Kathak dancer by passion and a doctor by profession. Her life flows with the rhythm of her heart leading her to explore the world of art, struggles and even a perilous journey of explosives.

In between are the stories of many faces and many strong and weak people who build the story with their presence, their charm, and their lives. Throughout the journey, only one entity lives and looks over the changing times and changing lives of these people. That is the mountain range of Dhauladhar.

Take a look at the trailer before jumping into the story:

 

My take on Men and Dreams in the Dhauladhar:

First and foremost, I should thank the author for asking me to take a look at this book. I promise that this has not affected my views on the book even the slightest.

Now coming back to the book: 3 things that are super amazing about the book

  1. The story is weaved using threads of myriad of colours that dazzle with the depth of understanding and plot development.
  2. There is no protagonist and the only permanent fixture throughout the story is the Dhauladhar itself.
  3. There is no “good guy” who survives against all odds and wins the girl and no “bad guy” who finds his doom. There is a “good guy” within every character and a “bad guy” who emerges when there is too much stress and undue struggle.

What made me connect to the story was the way the author has brought the elements of culture, the unique beauty across the lands and time in a really simple way and within the context of the story rather than an index or dictionary at the end.

That is epic in my opinion as this shares so much of about my own country that I never knew or would understand on my own. That’s why it was as good as winning a free ticket to Kerala and the Dhauladhar.

The best part in my opinion is: There are many people who look at the Dhauladhar simultaneously, their own thoughts get echoed back and they find solace in knowing that there is at least one strong entity in their lives.

When such a belief is washed away with the rains and land slide..

There were cold and gripping moments when the author described the deaths of many without a second glance, I was shocked. However, then I realised that the author wanted to portray that with time and greed there is nothing as a minimal price. It could be a life or a smile that was present today and would never light up in future.

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The dispassionate deaths and cold fear along with the burning requirement to survive every odds, makes this book one of the best reads of this year.

However, no book is without a sin. The book sometimes feels like a vegetable soup of culture and unless you don’t understand it, you won’t love it.

Another major fault that I faced was while reading the English version of Malayam and dihaadi Hindi. It was hard to understand and I couldn’t connect to the jokes or taunts that flew about between the characters.

All together, I rate the book a 4/5 stars! Loved the story and each of the characters that made their presence. They taught me so much in the small number of pages that they appeared in!

 

Review: Skyfire !!

A book containing a mystery, a bone chilling story, a suspense to be held and the solution to break free. Maybe that is how “amazing-time” is gift wrapped!

Book Name: Skyfire (Click on the name to see for yourself)

Author: Aroon Raman

Publisher: Pan Macmillan India

ISBN: 978-93-82616-61-0

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Description of Skyfire:

Set in  the year of 2012, the year which had made people wait with bated breaths to hear about the end of the world, India is being hit by freak accidents. “Freak” is not exactly the right word when you consider storms blasting into the cities in a gap of 5 minutes, weird lightning lingering longer than it should, messing with the electrical signals and communication systems around the affected area.

The crushing blow to the country comes in the form of epidemics that nobody had ever heard of. Meanwhile, in the background, street children start vanishing from their homes. With nobody to look for them, they are lost to the world.

Only one child starts a journey to find the truth which leads journalist Chandrasekhar, historian Meenakshi Pirzada and Officer Syed Ali Hassan to hunt for the boy, unraveling the greatest crime of all time.

A plan started out from the tables of high society of India leading the protagonist to a scary climax in Bhutan turns the blood to ice with its mysterious depths and crazy motivation. What does it take for one man to bring a nation to its knees?

Find out in Skyfire!

If you want, take a look at the amazing trailer here:

My take with Skyfire:

Let me just say this: Skyfire can make you forget to breathe. Be warned. Read at the comfort of your home. Also if it is raining then it is an added bonus!

More on the plot:

I haven’t read the Shadow Throne and directly jumped into Skyfire. It is a feel good factor that I could still grasp the story with the hints and clues left by the author regarding the first book.

The story takes on an exponential growth towards catastrophe from the initial pages itself, leaving no doubts regarding what is to be expected as the characters develop and the plot deepens. The tension in the pages is very visible and one might feel the walls closing in around as one dives deeper.

I personally loved the simple way the story is put across without any technical jargon. The plot is somewhat expected if you have watched a lot of Bollywood movies as it is easy to recognize that the moment you see too rich, too good person then either he is the hero or the villain.

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There are some plot holes if one takes a closer look however it is not such a great sin to make some. It rather lets you think on how certain things could be changed to be made better.

The best part of the book is :

Its contrast between the simplicity of the language and the complexity of cross-border weather terrorism. I loved it completely.

The not-so-good part:

The story involves too much cruelty. Some of the things that the street children go through in this book made me nauseous. So there goes the warning: FOR BRAVE HEARTS ONLY!

Overall the book was an amazing read for a rainy day. Loved the way it broke the barriers in bringing suspense, crime, and mystery to a whole new level. As for a star rating,

4/5!!!

 

Review: 8 Days A Week

My favorite lines of this Bollywood book:

 

I realised I will never get a chance to apply theories of Kotler in practical and I will keep running after people with some product in hand.

Atleast I realised, I am a salesman with no Sundays or holidays, and I have 8 days week.

  • Rohan Nanda (8 Days A Week)

Some books which help people to apply certain theories in life are called “Self-Help” books. How would it be if one such self-help turned out to be a Bollywood movie script?

Introducing: 8 Days A Week (Click on the name to buy the book)

Author:  Niraj Satnalika

Publisher: Half Baked Beans

8-days-a-week   Description of 8 Days a Week:

One man named Rohan Nanda decides to try his luck in Sales when he chooses to study at IMT Ghaziabad. His life determined right there and the journey begins.

That’s the skeleton.

The story is a fun narration mixed with movie style twists and turns that show the reader that all is not sunny in the arena of sales.

Such a tedious journey is usually written as a horror story. However, this story takes a different route making the situations very hilarious and highlights the small but significant perks of a job as a salesman.

My Take on 8 Days A Week:

The book was a fun read, no objections on that. It took me on a journey that I had not expected. I have read books that can make the topic of a certain profession seem like a historic movie of epic battles and the victory of the hero over the villain boss. This story of Rohan  is a satire of sales people, where the author has made fun of every situation, whether it be a happy moment or a sad one.

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I have read books that can make the topic of a certain profession seem like a historic movie of epic battles and the victory of the hero over the villain boss. This story of Rohan  is a satire of sales people, where the author has made fun of every situation, whether it be a happy moment or a sad one.

The best part for me was the perception of  the protagonist aka Rohan of holding to sales even after all the struggles he goes through just because he considers sales as his love. That is something every one of us should understand. There are going to be a lot of problems in any path that we choose, to overcome them is left to us.Once decided to overcome it, the path will eventually open up on its own.

There is also something that I didn’t like and that is the industry jargon at times. However, the author has explained it in a light way where someone who has no clue regarding these terms can still understand it and connect with it.

Another thing that was not so good was the story starting with a typical Indian college scenario and going with the failed love stories. I don’t understand the trend of such stories and it makes me deduct a little brownie point.

Overall, the story was an entertainer and I give it 3.75/5 stars for making me laugh a lot!  Huge thanks to the author and Anuj Kumar for providing me this book in exchange for an honest review.