Friday, February 20, 2015

#113 : Book Of Common Signs by Ashok Srinivasan : A Review


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BOOK TITLE: Book of Common Signs
ISBN: 9789351361619
AUTHOR: Ashok Srinivasan
GENRE: Fiction – Collection of short stories
NUMBER OF PAGES: 179 pages
FORMAT: Hardbound
SERIES / STANDALONE: Standalone
REVIEW BY: Shree Janani
HOW I GOT THIS BOOK: Requested a review copy from Harper Collins in exchange for an honest review. Thanks a lot guys!
SUMMARY :
She moves forward with mincing steps in time to an air inaudible to all but her, as if in precise synchrony with a phalanx of other dancers. But she is alone. Weeping and wailing she beats her breasts rhythmically. She passes by—a mourning sleepwalker moving in measure like a male Muharram dancer in a penitential procession in Karbala—bearing the unbearable weight of her dead child as though it weighs nothing at all.

An evocative collection of thirteen short stories, Book of Common Signs is set among the women and men who inhabit the streets and by-lanes, the high-rises and hutments of middle-class India. Passionate, seductive and pulsating with raw energy, they break the boundaries of life and art to inhabit a landscape that is a metaphor for the dark anxieties of their own minds.

Ashok Srinivasan explores the human condition with clarity and compassion. In ‘Mother and Child: Charcoal on Charred Paper’ he tells us the story of a married woman whose life unravels after a miscarriage as she finds solace in the love of another woman. In ‘Not to Be Loose Shunted’ he narrates the story of a young man coming to terms with the absence of a missing father. ‘Ex-votos for a Mask Maker’ is at one level about Srinivasan’s own anguish as a writer—telling the tale of a playwright whose dramatic characters come to life in order to destroy him.

Elegantly crafted and richly layered, these are stories of profound insight and great emotional power.
 
REVIEW:
A book of short stories is not exactly my cup of tea. I prefer reading a continuous proper story with proper character development and substance which I always felt that a short story lacked. My bestie/co-blogger, got me interested in short stories after she sent me few written by her. Having met the humble writer at The Hindu Lit for life 2015, I couldn't help but wonder what exactly he had written to win a literary award. It is not every day does a book of poetry or short story sell like hot cakes - Thus landed this unbelievable literary work in a hardbound form.
How do I review a collection of short stories that is far more intense, well developed and a literary marvel? The “parameter” method seems to be the best suited method for this book, for a story by story would lead to a lot of spoilers.
Character Development – Astoundingly elaborated characters for a short story
Depicting various shades of human behavior which would be primarily instinct based and irrationally rational is a close to impossible task unless the writer has understood the very kernel of human behavior. For a man of 70, I am sure this writer’s own life experiences would have been a rich fodder to process as writing – which the writer has marveled at. He claims to be a painfully shy man who procrastinated publishing this book, in a way I felt he did the right thing. With age and experience comes a deep sense of understanding which is very evident in all the stories. There isn't a single story in this book that “slacked” or scathed just the surface.
Writing – Portrayal of details and flow of the story line – “flawless” would be the apt term to describe it.
Giving importance to minuscule details like surroundings, building structures and clothes of the characters in a short story would ultimately lead the “short” story running to many pages. Filtering, processing and weaving a tale with just the right amount of details which could be vital for the story to convey subtle emotions or imply an action is a herculean tasks. This writer seems to be comfortable with that task. I can’t think of a particular story that lacked or had an overdose of minuscule details.
The detailing in fact aided the progression of the story line in almost all the stories. To quote an example, in the story “ In the Wake”, the protagonist Ambaal, loses her husband (he commits suicide?), the writer describes the surroundings in depth which very simply convey the gloom that has come upon Ambaal. The attention to minute background details beautifully delivered the emotions that could be expected out of death and loss.
The language used was really simple. I was dumbfounded that such simple language could be employed to pack more than just a punch.
The cover & general theme and the dedication
The cover depicts diverging tracks in a crimson-black combination, which to me actually signifies the entire spectrum of human behavior ranging from compassion to insanity.
Though the writer manages to various shades of human behavior, he has concentrated more on the darkness. All the stories are depressing in a luminous way. In sense, there is a rather blurred line between reality and illusion. Almost all the stories dangerously hover around that line, which I wasn't really comfortable with – that would be my only complaint.
The writer has dedicated the book to people afflicted with war and have borne much more than just the hard reality of life. I believe he has done immense justice to this dedication. This is definitely not the work of a debut writer.
My personal favorites : A Hangman’s Tale, In the Wake, Mother and Child : Charcoal on Charred Paper (This is the best!)
VERDICT: Hats off sir! For people who can’t appreciate the true beauty of literature, human emotions, harsh reality – this book is not for you but is best suited for the likes of you (That’s oxymoronic isn’t it? Lest, that is the truth)
RATING: 5 on 5
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Ashok Srinivasan began writing at the age of 14, and after courting obscurity for decades, finally decided to publish his collection of short stories Book of Common Signs.
EDITIONS AVAILABLE: Hardbound
PRICE: Rs. 339 (Hardbound)

BOOK LINKS: http://www.amazon.in/Book-Common-Signs-Ashok-Srinivasan/dp/9351361616/ref=sr_1_1_twi_1/276-1539774-3706565?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1424191689&sr=1-1&keywords=9789351361619

Note : This review was first posted in Readers' Muse
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Monday, February 16, 2015

#112 : Haveli by Zeenat Mahal : A Review


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BOOK TITLE: Haveli
ISBN: 1927826020
AUTHOR: Zeenat Mahal
GENRE: Fiction - Romance
NUMBER OF PAGES: 93
FORMAT: Digital        
SERIES / STANDALONE: Standalone
REVIEW BY: Shree Janani
HOW I GOT THIS BOOK: Review copy from the writer in exchange for a honest review. Thank you Zeenat 
SUMMARY : It’s the 1970′s in Jalalabad, an erstwhile princely state in Pakistan. Chandni is a self-proclaimed cynic and prefers to be called C. An orphan brought up by her domineering grandmother, a.k.a. The Broad, C is rebellious, quick-witted and stunningly beautiful.  . 

The stakes get higher when the father, who had so cruelly abandoned her at birth, returns and C’s dream of reuniting with him becomes a reality. But now she has to choose between her father and his hand-picked groom on the one side, and Alpha Male and The Broad on the other.
REVIEW:
 A charming breezy romance set in Pakistan in the 1970s. Add to that a the concept of “prince”, luxurious lifestyle – Isn’t that a perfect setting for a perfect little romance.  The story is just that – A picture perfect romance.
Our protagonist, Chandini, is a live wire with a soft core who was abandoned by her father and raised by her grandmother. Enters our hero, Taimur who annoys Chandini but is too hot headed to admit she is in love with her. Re- enter C’s long lost charming dad who can manage to charm even a stone who picks out a groom for C. C sadly, seems to be in love with a man who is quite older than her. Thus happens the “triangle” of men with C in centre. Eventually, C picks one of the three men.
The literary charade between Tiamur and Chandini is an absolute treat for pure literary fans. The writing is filled with humor and spunky comebacks which makes the story a pleasurable read in spite of few critical elements missing - I felt there was a vast potential with that "daddy-daughter" episode which the writer sort of missed cashing into. Nevertheless, it's all about perspectives. 

I felt the writer did a bit of injustice to the “daddy-daughter” episode. In sense, the ending felt all too easy (Spoiler in making, I don’t wish to purse this thread of comment. Please read the book to get what I meant)

The characterization is perfect for a short read, though I would have loved to read a bit more of C’s long-lost dad.

VERDICT: Short and sweet refreshing read. Provided the perfect break I needed between hectic project deliveries (The day job circus show that I orchestrate).
RATING: 3.5 on 5
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Zeenat Mahal (@zeemahal) is an avid reader and has been writing for as long as she can remember. She has an MPhil in English literature from Government College Lahore and an MFA in creative writing from Kingston University, London. She won a BBC short story competition in 2001 and has been a regular contributor to newspapers. 
‘Haveli’ and 'The Contract' are Zeenat’s first two published novellas. Her next novel. She Loves Me, He Loves Me Not, is due for release on 14th February, 2015.

She can be contacted on her FB page 
https://www.facebook.com/zeenatmahal....
EDITIONS AVAILABLE: Digital
PRICE: Rs.150

BOOK LINKS: http://www.amazon.in/Haveli-Zeenat-Mahal-ebook/dp/B00H15XDMY/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1424105976&sr=8-3&keywords=Haveli


Note : This review was first posted in Readers' Muse
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Saturday, February 14, 2015

#111 : She Loves Me, He Loves Me Not by Zeenat Mahal : A Review




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BOOK TITLE: She Loves Me, He Loves Me Not
ISBN: B00S1HKGIK
AUTHOR: Zeenat Mahal
GENRE: Fiction - Romance
NUMBER OF PAGES: 260
FORMAT: Digital
SERIES / STANDALONE: Standalone
REVIEW BY: Shree Janani
HOW I GOT THIS BOOK: Review copy from the writer – Thank you Zeenat!
SUMMARY :  Zoella didn’t know whether she was devastatingly happy or happily devastated. 

Zoella has been in love with Fardeen Malik, her best friend’s gorgeous older brother, since she was ten, but he’s always seen her as a ‘good girl’—not his type—and he can barely remember her name. Besides, he’s engaged to a gorgeous leggy socialite, someone from the same rarefied social strata as the imposing Malik family. In short, Zoella has no chance with him. 

Until a brutal accident leaves Fardeen scarred and disfigured, that is. Suddenly bereft of a fiancĂ©e, Fardeen is bitterly caustic, a shell of the man he used to be, a beast that has broken out of the fairy tale world he once lived in. And a twist of fate lands him his very own beauty—Zoella. This man, however, is a far cry from the Fardeen of her dreams. Stripped of her illusions, Zoella creates her own twist in the fairy tale, beating him at his own game.

Zeenat Mahal explores themes of love, longing and arranged marriages in this modern, unusual interpretation of the old-age fairy tale
REVIEW:
I don’t normally pick up a book without reading the book back summary. This book is my first exception and I don’t regret it at all. Having read all of Zeenat’s book, I had become quite comfortable with her style of writing and characterization. Particularly, strong female characters are like a much needed dose of caffeine.
Our protagonist, Zoella, has been in love with her best friend’s brother Fardeen ever since she was 10. While he has never given her anything more than a cursory glance, fate brings them together into matrimony when he is left badly disfigured with an accident which brings out the beast in him. La! You have the beauty (Zoella) and the beast ( Fardeen). The story then moves on to elaborate if the beast finds the beauty’s heart.
There are few elements of the book which I would like to elaborate upon thereby reasoning my verdict.
The Socio-Cultural backdrop – A good way to show modernization of thoughts.
Set in Pakistan, the Socio- cultural practices described in this book are simply intriguing, especially for an Indian who is clueless about the neighboring country. The marriage of Zeenat and Fardeen is essentially a result of a narrow minded social setup where girls are looked upon nothing short of a burden and being open minded is thoroughly frowned upon – especially in the middle class families. Eventually, Fardeen goes on to point out this prejudice to people who think upon Zoella as a liability.  Score one for the writer!
Characterization & Emotions
Zoella, the name itself sounds thoroughly exquisite – the character herself was even more exquisite. That character was everything a simple girl from a similar social set up could relate to.  Her determination, her take on “seduction” and her emotions are something I was able to completely relate to, for I felt I was reading a story that portrayed me. Fardeen’s character would be the quintessential caustic beast. All the other characters (the best friend, the sister-in-law, the brother) supplemented the story perfectly emoting perfectly. A double goal for the writer!
Writing
The story was written in a very simple manner that effectively packed the punch. The writing was laced with appropriate amount of humor and emotions. There is a very fine line between being romantic and erotic. The writer thankfully never ventured anywhere near that boundary and stuck to the classic sense of pure romance. Score 4 there!
VERDICT: A well written romance which does immense justice to the age old concept of beauty and beast. The perfect Valentine’s Day read ;-)
RATING: 4 on 5
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Zeenat Mahal (@zeemahal) is an avid reader and has been writing for as long as she can remember. She has an MPhil in English literature from Government College Lahore and an MFA in creative writing from Kingston University, London. She won a BBC short story competition in 2001 and has been a regular contributor to newspapers. 
‘Haveli’ and 'The Contract' are Zeenat’s first two published novellas. Her next novel. She Loves Me, He Loves Me Not, is due for release on 14th February, 2015.  She can be contacted on her FB page 
https://www.facebook.com/zeenatmahal....

Her email:
zeenatmahal@yahoo.co.uk
website: 
http://www.zeenatmahal.com
EDITIONS AVAILABLE: Digital
PRICE: Rs.150 (Digital)

BOOK LINKS: http://www.amazon.in/gp/product/B00S1HKGIK/ref=x_gr_w_bb?ie=UTF8&tag=goodreads_in-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B00S1HKGIK&SubscriptionId=1MGPYB6YW3HWK55XCGG2


Note : This review was first posted in Readers' Muse
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Thursday, February 12, 2015

#110 : Rapescars... They Never Heal by Gaurav Sharma : A Review




BOOK TITLE: Rapescars… They Never Heal
ISBN: 9788192982748
AUTHOR: Gaurav Sharma
GENRE: Fiction
NUMBER OF PAGES: 150
FORMAT: Paperback
SERIES / STANDALONE: Standalone
REVIEW BY: Dhivya Balaji
HOW I GOT THIS BOOK: I thank Readers Cosmos for the review copy.
SUMMARY:
Rape Scars… They never heal
          A girl is raped! Her parents insist to report. Police tries to scuttle the case. Her fathers influence works! Doctor, the fourth man, sees her bare. The defense lawyer encounters with obnoxious questions. As if, she had inveigled the innocent boys. As if, shes the one accused and her violators are seeking justice against her. She feels & experiences being raped in public again. Her lawyer manages to seek conviction! Akriti wins the case but refuses her culprit to have imprisonment.
          Why does she do this?
          What does she decide then?
          Is this the decision of her or raped mind?
          Rape Scars is the voice of a rape survivor who thrives to stand against the violation of her persona.
REVIEW:
          Before I start the review in detail, I would like to talk about why and how I took up this book for review! We at Readers Muse have reviewed the author Gaurav Sharma’s earlier book Love @ Airforce. (Find the review here). And we have know this book since it was in the conceptual stage. So we were glad to have had an opportunity to review this book.
What to expect when you take this book up:
o   If you have read the author’s previous book, please don’t expect this to be the same. They are radically different.
o   This is a book about a girl who is subjected to rape, and the decision she takes after she goes through the horror. As the disclaimer at the end of the book says, this book does not suggest the correct decision to be taken for every such case.
o   The book takes up a caustic approach towards the holes in the legal system of our country, and most lines are acerbic, too.
o   There are a few logic holes and eyebrow raising moments. Only the readers who could take them in flow would be able to enjoy it.
Now for the story:
          Akriti falls for a boy while studying in college. Ram Chaudry takes advantage of her and gets intimate with her. Once she is confident with him, he invites two of his friends over to the flat where he is alone with Akriti and she is raped. All this is only the first part of the story. The part where it all starts getting interesting is the part from which Akriti’s parents are supportive of her and immediately try to report the matter to the police. Naturally, the police advise against it but they firmly lodge the complaint.
          Soon the legal process starts, with Akriti bearing the humiliation from arrogant doctors to Lawyers who are intent on defaming her character. But her parents and Lawyer are standing with her through the ordeal. Finally Akriti ‘manages’ to prove that she has been raped. But Akriti refuses the conviction of the primary accused. She makes a drastic decision instead. She chooses to marry him. Her reasons are neither meek nor thoughtless.
          What is to be appreciated in the book is the description of the entire humiliation of the victim. Not only during the rape but also when having made to live the whole ordeal again and again through the court processes. The words are not exactly clearly formed but they give the illusion of having poured out of the victim in a rush. (The story is a first person narrative).
          This is just one version of the things that could have happened’. There is no point in pointing out the improbabilities. There are, however a few inconsistencies in the given storyline. Sometimes, readers wish some things had happened differently and made more sense. The book is a good attempt at trying to portray the emotions of the victim but could have had a stronger female protagonist.
          The apathy of the legal force of the country, not to mention the medical examiners and the lawyers are brought out well. It is sadly, the truth behind that portrayal is what hurts the most.
          The story falters in some places, and some tough words hamper the flow of the reader. But basically it has some powerful dialogs too. Some lines are memorable, some are cringe worthy but are needed to bring out the brutality of the incident of rape.
          The cover page looked novel and unique, but on closer look revealed that the text itself was not translated to English. Hope the future editions correct this mistake.
WHAT I LIKED: The whole attempt – that of giving voice to the woman who is raped.
WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN BETTER: The language is inconsistent in some places. But the dialogs are powerful. It would have been even more enjoyable if the language had more structure.
VERDICT: A good attempt on a very sensitive topic that is sure to raise a few eyebrows. Kudos to the author for attempting this on such a sensitive topic.
RATING: 3.5/5
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  
          Gaurav Sharma, a Mathematics teacher by profession and a writer by passion. His first novel is ‘LOVE @ AIR FORCE’ which is a bildungsroman literary novel, brought out by Blackbuck Publications.

          He also contributed a poem in ‘THE ESSENCE OF ETERNAL HAPPINESS’ which is a collection of poems from 29 poets from six countries.

          Lunacy for his dreams, he claims, has helped him being a published writer. As a writer, he doesn’t want to be just a storyteller but yearns to create a stir.
          He can be contacted at, gauravinfinity2009@gmail.com
EDITIONS AVAILABLE: Paperback
PRICE: Rs. 130 for paperback
BOOK LINKS:


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Saturday, February 7, 2015

#109 : Climax by Chirstina George : A Review




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BOOK TITLE: Climax
AUTHOR: Christina George
GENRE: Fiction
NUMBER OF PAGES: 208
FORMAT: Paperback
SERIES / STANDALONE: The Publicist #3
REVIEW BY: Shree Janani
HOW I GOT THIS BOOK: Review copy as a part of iRead Book tours.
SUMMARY:
Kate Mitchell has never forgiven herself for breaking Nick Lavigne’s heart. Now he’s back and he’s moved on, and it’s affecting Kate’s life more than she’s willing to admit.
Kate Mitchell has everything. She's the head of a crazy successful publishing house, engaged to the traffic-stopping sexy Mac Ellis and she's about to sign one of the biggest authors of her career. 
And that's when everything falls apart. Everything is perfect…until it’s not. In a city of 8 million people Kate manages to run into someone she never expected to see again. Nick is handsome, impossibly kind, every girl’s dream, and Kate’s former fiancĂ©. He’s also the brother of the rising star author she’s trying to sign. Now that Nick’s back in town and has moved on he insists he’s over Kate, but part of him still can’t get past how amazing they were, and his sister won’t let anyone forget how brutally it ended. When Mac is dealt a life-changing blow, it forces Kate to question every single choice she’s made.  Follow Kate as she embarks on a journey of life and love, navigating through the decisions that will change it all forever.
 
REVIEW:
Finally, the series comes to an end. After having read the previous instalments in the series, I badly wanted a closure and a proper end for Kate’s dilly-dally relationship between Mac and Nick. Finally the writer has justified Kate’s choice of men – by bringing in the sister of a man whose heart she broke and by bringing in the ailing wife of a man whom she stole.
The first two books focussed mainly on Kate’s and Mac’s character. The writer finally has done justice to Nick’s character in this instalment. The other character that made a lot of sense in this book for me would be that of Dr.Ruth Ann’s. The writer made the most sensible decision to bring in a psychiatrist’s character to sort of Kate. I would have actually preferred Kate’s best friend playing the “sorting out” part. Sadly, the writer just portrays her as person who simply makes Kate think. Nevertheless, I was content that Kate made a choice finally.
Kate’s character totally irked me. She went back and forth between Mac and Nick. One moment she is this strong person who is with Mac and next moment she falls for Nick again.  I felt that this whole “dilly-dally” thread could have been cut short by a good 30 pages in the final edition. The write obviously would have aimed for a closure while writing this installment, why not do it a bit earlier?!
The kick ass moment of this book would be Kate finally stops bending backward to accommodate a writer. This move demonstrates a good character progression. The writer has managed to bring out all possible shades of a character that could be written within the three books - A commendable feat of character progression.
The writing like her previous books was simple, clean and laced with whacky humor. I particularly liked the thread of story where Dr.Ruth actually teaches Kate to love herself.
This book teaches a very important lesson – “Love thyself”
VERDICT: The perfect closure finally and a great life lesson learnt.
RATING: 4 on 5
Christina George has worked in publishing for twenty years (give or take). Here’s what this book isn't. It’s not a slam against publishing (though it is broken) and it’s not a slam against authors (though some of them are crazy). This book is not autobiographical though many of the stories are true. No you won’t know which ones, cause it’s more fun to guess, right? George continues to work in publicity and helps authors because at the end of the day she does love books, she loves publishing, and she loves authors. She hopes you’ll enjoy this romp through Kate’s world as much as she enjoyed creating it.
BOOK LINKS: http://www.amazon.com/Christina-George/e/B00AB0CHJQ/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

Note : This review was first posted in Readers' Muse


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Friday, February 6, 2015

#108 : Shelf Life by Christina George : A Review


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BOOK TITLE: Shelf Life
ISBN: 1484984684
AUTHOR: Christina George
GENRE: Fiction
NUMBER OF PAGES: 274
FORMAT: Paperback
SERIES / STANDALONE: The Publicist #2
REVIEW BY: Shree Janani
HOW I GOT THIS BOOK: Review Copy as a part of iRead book tours!
SUMMARY: It’s an industry of out-of-control egos, unrealistic expectations, and unfulfilled promises.

This is publishing and it’s Kate’s world, but maybe not for long.

When one of Kate Mitchell’s star authors is carted away in handcuffs, it’s only the beginning of her troubles. As her world crumbles around her, Kate desperately looks for anyone to hold onto but finds that happy endings are truly works of fiction. With the shelf life of her career and her love affair quickly expiring, Kate sets off on a new adventure…

Starting over in California is easy but Kate soon learns that leaving her old life behind isn’t. Nick Lavigne is eager to help her forget but two things still own her heart, the dream of discovering the next great American novel, and MacDermott Ellis.

As Kate tries to rebuild her life she finds a surprising gift that reboots her career in a new and unexpected direction. Suddenly her name becomes synonymous with one of the biggest bestsellers publishing has seen in ages and she's welcomed back with open arms.

But at the height of her success the ghosts of her past come back to remind her of the world she'd been trying to forget and the man who never let go of her heart.

Behind the book, there’s always more to the story. Welcome to Publishing, the ego has landed.
REVIEW:
After reading the first instalment, I quite knew what to expect from the writer.  Her style of writing made me comfortable enough to pick the second book.
This book doesn’t exactly pick off from the first book. This book again opens with an “writer” incident. To me the whole concept of “writer crisis” feels a bit overwhelming in a nasty sort of way. Having a crisis is one thing, behaving insane as a result of that crisis is something else altogether. I felt the writer could have made those “writer-crisis” episodes a little less dramatic.
Thankfully, the writer focused more on Kate’s personal life in this book. Her professional life takes a rather drastic turn. Nevertheless, I was more interested in Kate’s professional life rather than her personal life with Mac. The reason obviously is the lack of “plot development” there. In sense, their relationship does change for good, but it wasn’t just enough for me. There were many typical “anti-climax” scenes – I felt the writer went a little overboard with those anticlimax scenes.
One thread of the story that I absolutely loved would be that of Kate’s friend. She is the quintessential best friend a girl could ever wish for. Sadly, the writer chose to dim down her character and chose to focus much just on Mac and the “other” guy Nick.
Nick character seemed a bit bland for me. He is portrayed as this nice guy who welcomes Kate wholeheartedly. Sadly, his niceties aren’t elaborated much – not as much as I would have liked.
The book read as a standalone wouldn’t make much sense in terms of character development – Nick character would be out of depth.
To sum it up, the book in spite of being quite well written and laced with enough humor and emotions didn’t quite cut it to for me. May be my expectations a wee bit high!
VERDICT: Only if you have read the previous book. It makes much sense to carry on reading the series.
RATING: 3 on 5 
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Christina George has worked in publishing for twenty years (give or take). Here’s what this book isn't. It’s not a slam against publishing (though it is broken) and it’s not a slam against authors (though some of them are crazy). This book is not autobiographical though many of the stories are true. No you won’t know which ones, cause it’s more fun to guess, right? George continues to work in publicity and helps authors because at the end of the day she does love books, she loves publishing, and she loves authors. She hopes you’ll enjoy this romp through Kate’s world as much as she enjoyed creating it.

BOOK LINKS: http://www.amazon.com/Christina-George/e/B00AB0CHJQ/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1


Note : This review was first posted in Readers' Muse

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Thursday, February 5, 2015

#107 : The Publicist By Christina George : A Review





BOOK TITLE: The Publicist   
ISBN: 1478247525
AUTHOR: Christina George
GENRE: Fiction
NUMBER OF PAGES: 226     
FORMAT:Paperback
SERIES / STANDALONE: The Publicist #1
REVIEW BY: Shree Janani
HOW I GOT THIS BOOK: Review Copy as a part of iRead Book tours.
SUMMARY:
Behind every book, there’s always more to the story.
Can one woman change an age-old institution like publishing? Probably not, but Kate Mitchell sure wants to try. As a publicist with a large, respected New York publishing house, Kate finds herself at the mercy of a broken publishing system, books that don’t always sell (at all) and author egos that are often, well, as big as the island of Manhattan. Enter the star Editor, MacDermott Ellis. Tall, handsome, charismatic, married, and ready to save the day. Kate wants to do the right thing but her hormones seem to be driving her decisions. Then there’s Allan Lavigne, once a revered author, now as forgotten as yesterday’s news; and his nephew Nick, who wants to sweep Kate away from New York for another coast, California.

As Kate tries to navigate the landmine of publicity, the over-the-top author expectations, and the careful dance of “I’m sorry, your book isn’t on the bestseller list this week”, she also finds authors who are painfully overlooked by a publisher wanting more sex, more celebrities, and more scandal..
REVIEW:
Being  a weeny-tiny part of the publishing industry already, this book piqued my interest when it came up for review. The first line of the summary was just enough for me to go ahead and sign up for the review.
Thankfully, the writer didn’t exactly make me repent for my haste in signing up. “The Publicist” to me, was a mixed bag. 
The plot was sure fast paced and kept me hooked. It did offer me an insight of how the International publishing industry works. But at times, certain incidents from the plot about writers going a bit crazy seem to be too superficial and unrealistic – dramatic would be the right word to describe it. Thankfully, each of those “dramatic author” episodes really didn’t last long. Short chapters and a racy plot did the trick.
Kate, our protagonist is a publicist who is the knight in shining armour for poor lost writers who have jitters publicizing their books. She is characterised as this strong female who can handle any insane situation with ease and clam by thinking quickly on her feet. Enter, Mac, the “oh-so-hot” editor. Also enter the forgotten writer Allan Lavigne of whom Kate is fond of. There is obviously a romantic thread. As to who falls for whom, please read the book.
As the plot progresses, Kate’s characterisation becomes a bit of paradox. She is firm thinker, yet falls for what her heart tells. Mac’s characterisation is rather bland in this book, But if one reads all the 3 books in the series, the characterisation would make sense. The whole balancing of professional struggle and a personal turmoil has been beautifully brought out by the writer. It is indeed a situation that many women normally face if they are in relationship with a co-worker.
The writing was simple and clean. The romance element was neatly woven into the story and was gradually developed. Of course, romance wouldn’t be technically correct term. It was more of lust in this book. Serious romance actually happens only in the subsequent books.
To sum up, in spite of minor lags and wee bit of un realistic situations described, the book kept me hooked  was a good enough read.
VERDICT: If you are remotely associated with the publishing industry or are intrigued by the “affair of publishing”, this would be a good enough book to read.
RATING: 3.5 on 5
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Christina George has worked in publishing for twenty years (give or take). Here’s what this book isn't. It’s not a slam against publishing (though it is broken) and it’s not a slam against authors (though some of them are crazy). This book is not autobiographical though many of the stories are true. No you won’t know which ones, cause it’s more fun to guess, right? George continues to work in publicity and helps authors because at the end of the day she does love books, she loves publishing, and she loves authors. She hopes you’ll enjoy this romp through Kate’s world as much as she enjoyed creating it.

BOOK LINKS: http://www.amazon.com/Christina-George/e/B00AB0CHJQ/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

Note : This review was first posted in Readers' Muse
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