Thursday, May 29, 2014

#69 : As Life Has No Undo by Abir Mukherjee : A Review


BOOK TITLE: As Life Has No Undo

ISBN: 1631022636

AUTHOR: Abir Mukherjee

GENRE: Fiction


FORMAT: Paperback


REVIEW BY: Shree Janani

HOW I GOT THIS BOOK: The Publishers – Blackbuck Publishers- sent us a review copy. We thank them for it.

SUMMARY : Campus interviews are around the corner for the final-year students of Burdwan Engineering College. Everyone is busy honing their skills at the last minute except Ankit who wishes to see his parents for the last time. Ankit, a simple boy and mediocre student from a lower middle class Bengali family has only two aims in his life-to become a computer engineer per his parents wish and to spend his entire life with Shreeja, the lady love of his life. Shreeja is pretty, ambitious and career oriented. What happens when Debdeep walks into their lives? Does Ankit have more things to lose than he ever imagined? Have you ever loved someone more than yourself? Have you ever felt the need of a undo button in your life?

The story line begins with a suicide episode of the protagonist’s roommate. Our protagonist goes back to reminiscence his own life – A life with no undo button. Ankit is this simple and sweet next door Bengali guy to whom all normal humane stuff (like falling in love, heartbreak & disappointment) happens. It is very apparent that the writer is a True Bengali who has passionately described the Bengali Culture. I really loved the whole “ Bengali” part of the story!

Essentially Ankit’s story could be that of any average Indian male’s story. A guy falls in love, the girl breaks his heart by dumping him for his friend and the guy goes on to become a savaging drug addict and cussing the girl only to bounce back as a better person later.

For anyone who simply knows my reading taste and my reviewing style, they’d simply expect me to rant and ravage the book. But hey! I am not that predictable. Plus the writer is a rookie. For a rookie, he sure has done a great job! Good job mate!

The book truly delivered what the summary promised – “the need for an undo button in your life”. What if the protagonist, Ankit hadn’t fallen in love in the first place only? Could that be undone? And that is exactly what the book delivered. Things can’t just be undone. So there! The book wins a big brownie point for just that.

The narration was perfect. Though the story was predictable, the writer managed to keep me hooked thanks to simple writing.

Nevertheless, I also have a fair share of complaints. Shreeja’s characterisation was pathetic. A girl simply won’t love a guy for money and sex. If she did she will obviously have a good reason for it. At the risk of sounding feminist, the writer hit a wrong nerve by portraying Shreeja as an out and out deceiver (Slut would be the term a man would probably use but I prefer being well-mannered). Also, if a girl dumps you, chasing her to make her realise your love seems such a perverted idea. Sometimes, letting go is a better form of love.

Last but not the least, the cover deserves a special mention. Its pretty! Reminds me of my college notebook’s last page filled with unforgettable scribbles.

 To sum it up, the book did have its moments and of course an equal share of lows.  

VERDICT: I wouldn’t go GA-GA over it! Just another read! But hey why not. Go pick it up!

RATING: 3 on 5

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Abir Mukherjee is an IT professional working as a Tech Lead in MNC. He loves to read and sketch. “ As life has no undo” is his debut novel. He is also a movie freak.


PRICE: Rs.132


Note : This review was first posted in Readers' Muse

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

#68 : Lethal Journey By Kim Cresswell : A Review


BOOK TITLE: Lethal Journey

ISBN: 9780992084

AUTHOR: Kim Cresswell

GENRE: Fiction -Thriller


FORMAT: Digital         


REVIEW BY: Shree Janani

HOW I GOT THIS BOOK: The writer sent us a review copy. We thank her for it!

Manhattan District Attorney, Lauren Taylor, is about to take on the most important case of her career, prosecuting Gino Valdina, acting mob boss of New York's most influential crime syndicate. 

For three decades, Gino Valdina has led New York's Valdina crime family. Since his recent indictment for murder, the leadership of the family is in turmoil, appalled by the death of one of their own, Gino's wife, Madelina. Without the support of the family behind him, Valdina will do anything to save himself. 

But Lauren soon discovers, things aren't always as they seem when she's tossed into a mystery, a deadly conspiracy that reaches far beyond the criminal underworld and a journey into the past makes her a target...and anyone she's ever loved.


A lady lawyer and mafia – an enticing combination isn’t it? But does this combination ring a bell. It would if you had read “Rage of Angels” by Sidney Sheldon. The summary truly would make you believe that Kim (The writer) is obviously a wannabe Sheldon. But hey never judge a book by its cover. A seasoned reader will never do that unforgivable mistake and I am happy I didn’t either.

The book (or novella?!) was pleasantly surprising. The writer’s education as a lawyer is apparent. But the biggest problem with a lawyer turned writer is that, they tend to overdo the legal explanation part. Most often than not, it backfires and causes a migraine for the poor fellow reading the book. Thankfully, the writer didn’t over do the whole law thing!
The plot was cohesive and well strung. The characterisations were perfect to suit a thriller. Also, the book was fast paced. It took me just about 2 hours to finish it. Madness personified would be term I believe (Oh come on. Fast paced thriller. What else do you expect of me?)

One thing I truly don’t understand – Most legal thrillers predominantly tend to have this “Manhattan” backdrop and an Italian mafia. Sidney sheldon’s books! Mario Puzo’s books! You name it! This story isn’t an exception either. This would probably be my only small complaint about this book. I promised myself never to write a thriller involving mafia & Manhattan if I ever take up writing seriously!

To sum it up, this is the kind of the book that will take on an exceedingly fast ride and apply a sudden brake in the form of an ending. I can’t possibly describe the story or characters more without giving away the plot!

VERDICT: Go for it! It’s worth every penny!

RATING: 4 on 5

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Trained as a legal assistant, Kim has been a story-teller all her life but took many detours before returning to her first love, writing. Her debut romantic suspense, REFLECTION, has won numerous awards: RomCon's 2014 Readers' Crown Finalist, InD'Tale Magazine's 2014 Rone Award Finalist, UP Authors Fiction Challenge Winner (2013), Silicon Valley's Romance Writers of America (RWA) "Gotcha!" Romantic Suspense Winner (2004) and an Honourable Mention in Calgary's (RWA) The Writer's Voice Contest (2006). LETHAL JOURNEY was a finalist in From the Heart Romance Writers (FTHRW) Golden Gate Contest (2003)and more recently RomCon's 2014 Readers' Crown Finalist in the thriller category. Her action-packed suspense and thrillers have been highly praised by reviewers and readers. As one reviewer said, "Buckle up, hang on tight!"

EDITIONS AVAILABLE: Digital & Paperback

PRICE: Rs.130.86


Note : This review was first posted in Readers' Muse


Thursday, May 15, 2014

#67 : The Happy Endings Book Club by Jane Tara : A Review


BOOK TITLE: The Happy Endings Book Club

ISBN: 9781760080587

AUTHOR: Jane Tara

GENRE: Fiction – Chic Lit


FORMAT: Digital


REVIEW BY: Shree Janani

HOW I GOT THIS BOOK: The writer sent me a copy. Thank you Jane!

SUMMARY: This Christmas, the women of the Happy Endings Book Club are about to uncover a world of love and magic as they discover how to have their own happy ending or beginning, as they’re often the same thing.

Once a month, seven very different women come together to discuss books. They all love a happy ending, but have lost sight of how to get their own. Paige misses glimpsing the magic in the world. Sadie doesn’t see the beauty inside people. Amanda wonders what she ever saw in her ex husband. Tilda literally can’t see herself. Michi can’t bear looking at her family, while Clementine is blind to what’s right in front of her. And Eva looks for romance in all the wrong places. But things are about to change …Meet the women of the Happy Endings Book Club as they celebrate Christmas, and themselves, in London, Paris, Vienna, New York, Sydney and in love

Having read Jane’s previous books, I really know what to expect from her and she has once again lived up to my expectations. Jane’s book are those which you might want to read when you are down in the dumps. Especially if you are a woman, it makes you feel good about yourself.

Like her previous books, in this book again the protagonist is a strong willed female. Or should I say the “protagonists” are a bunch of ladies from different walks of life with their own shortcomings and positives. A book club in the nearby bookstore binds these ladies together.  The story is essentially about each character’s life and the difficulties that they face and how they help out each other.

One thing that is commonly found in this genere (Chic Lit) is the presence of this Ultra Male (or some “drool worthy” male) who makes our dear heroine go weak in her knees and then hurts her badly only to come back cajoling. It’s all nice to read, but then isn’t it too monotonous? At times I find such stories repulsive. Thankfully Jane has saved me that trouble by not bringing in such a twist of sorts.

Her characterisation as always speaks volumes about a woman. Women are always judged for expecting a happy ending. Jane has beautifully brought out a fact that a happy ending is always possible though the definition of “happy” might not fit in with our expectations. It’s like expect the unexpected to make you happy.

This book is a total mood lifter filled in with so much of positive energy inspite of the struggle that the characters endure.

My weeny bit complaint would be – I knew what to expect from Jane – A Happy ending.

Overall, I loved the book!

VERDICT: Go for it! Be Happy won’t hurt to have a Happy Ending!

RATING: 4 on 5

Jane is from Bondi, Sydney. She has traveled extensively and has lived in Tokyo, London, Vienna, New York and various parts of Australia. Her first book Forecast was first published in 2007 by Dorchester, but they went out of business .So FORECAST was re-released in May. And the long-awaited sequel, TROUBLE BREWING has also just been published. She has over twenty children’s picture books published in Asia, and has written travel articles for many publications worldwide. She has transformed her “itchy feet” into ITCHEE FEET, which publishes travel books for kids.

EDITIONS AVAILABLE: Digital, Paperback

PRICE: Rs.236


Note : This review was first posted in Readers' Muse


Sunday, May 11, 2014

#66 : Love You Too * Conditions Apply by Syed Faisal : A Review


BOOK TITLE: Love You Too * Conditions Apply

ISBN: 1631021109

AUTHOR: Syed Faisal

GENRE: Fiction – (Romance?! More of a rant!)


FORMAT: Paperback


REVIEW BY: Shree Janani

HOW I GOT THIS BOOK: The Publishers sent us a book in exchange for a honest review. We thank them.

SUMMARY:Imaan Siddique, lands in Mumbai with the lowest notes in life and vengeance against system, social structure and professional attitude of the country and against Love too. He is on an ultimatum in his office, his Girlfriend has dumped him, his father has lost his post in an election in his town and he has to take care of his brothers future and education. The vengeance inside the heart turns him a blind runner behind success and makes him to break laws. But he has to cross the barrier of his path, Nikita Modvani, a beauty as well as a talented human resource in Mumbai struggling with her cruel past seeking happiness in her present. With his constructive talent but maneuver planning he turns her to be a pawn of his success and they start to live in present, in Live-in relationship. The combination of success and happiness constructs a boundary wall between them and the real world, the real India, between their present and their future. But then how aged this wall will be? How effectively will the combination of success and happiness work? What will happen when this wall cracks? Love you too Conditions apply is a tribute to all Indian lovers whose love stories become victim of certain tangible and intangible conditions in our country


Migraine. That’s the one perfect word that can best describe my “condition” after finishing this book. I never ever begin a review on a negative note. After all, the writer has put an effort to pen a book and publish it. But then, some books just make us wish that writer really didn’t publish at all in first place. This book came close enough and stopped just shy of being thrown out from the nearest window. No offense Mr.Faisal, I have huge respect for rookie Indian writers, but please, you have a very long way to go.

So what prevented me from chucking this book out? The writer obviously had his moments of brilliance. The parts where he described the innocent childhood of the protagonist, Imaan were simply brilliant. Our protagonist, a typical rustic Indian Muslim sounded so adorable in his childhood and the whole length of his childhood was realistic and simple. The incident where Imaan renders that speech to unify Muslims and Hindus deserves a special mention and was truly touching.  I almost wondered if the writer had some sort of a split personality disorder.

As to what made me want to chuck this book out – There isn’t simply a story line. According to our protagonist, in his narration, his love of his life wanted him to write a book in order for her to marry him.  The book technically switched between Imaan’s narration and Imaan’s actual present. This switch was annoying. The writer obviously needs to work on his narration.

The next thing that thoroughly appalled me was the grammatical and semantic errors. Minor errors are acceptable but multiple instances of grammatical/ Semantic errors just doesn’t cut it.  For a seasoned Indian reader who has grown up reading numerous works of native English speakers, the construction of sentences will certainly sound like a virtual translation from Hindi to English. I can truly understand that we Indians aren’t native English speakers. That really doesn’t entitle us to abuse a language that we have chosen to learn and use. Moreover, I am no master of this language that I’ve chosen to express my thoughts, but I ensure to put in my best efforts to perfect it.  It isn’t wrong to expect the same from a writer.

The one thing that thoroughly irritated me was the swearing. The book is filled with “shits” & “fucks” in places where they are not needed. I understand that our protagonist Imaan is meant to be projected as this angry young man with a violent upbringing. Expressing that using swear words isn’t the most brilliant idea.

Now you may question me as to why I choose to pick this book when the publisher offered me 3 other books. The summary promised something else altogether. The book simply failed to deliver what the summary promised.

To put it in a nut shell, the writer has a long way to go.

P.S. This review does not intend to hurt the sentiments of the writer, it’s just a honest review from a disappointed reader. Mr.Faisal, hope you take good criticism well, it isn’t personal.

VERDICT: Can be missed.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Syed Faisal residing in New Delhi is Memory Design engineer by profession and a writer by passion. He is out in the market with his Debut Novel Love You Too* Conditions Apply. The book is getting good reviews and is touching the middle class Indian lovers.


PRICE: Rs.195


Note : This review was first posted in Readers' Muse