Saturday, 8 October 2016

Anya's Lyric -Review

AUTHOR: Nikhil Kumar
ISBN: 9781530307210
GENRE: Fiction
PUBLISHER: Create space Independent Publishing Platform

EXCERPT: (Credits: Goodreads)

A story of one girl's courage in the face of our society's worst offences. Anya's Lyric is the critically acclaimed new book by Nikhil Kumar, that tracks the journey of a young girl's self-discovery and the roads that lead her from a turbulent childhood to peace. We see the world through Anya's eyes - a girl who suffers from a learning disability - and discover places, incidents, and people through her. A girl born on an unlikely day to an unlikely couple, Anya stumbles through her chaotic life that gets undone at every step because of her inability to communicate what she wants to say. Follow her journey of courage, self-discovery, and empowerment as she gradually finds the hidden path to peace.


Sometimes when you read something, it stays with you for a while longer. Both to ruminate it and then process it. The longer you sink into it the more mystic it turns out to be. To me this book came across as that; mystical yet linked  together in a very mysterious manner leaving a profound impact on the reader.

There are very few books that compel you to think, to delve deeper. This novel begins that right at the start and takes you through a series of events linked together hooking you till the end. At times it may seem a bit confusing but that's the beauty of it, reading between the lines. 

The novel sticks to the main character Anya, exploring life through her eyes, through her memories. What I liked the most was, even though there were multiple characters none of them crowded the space, the book at the crux was Anya's story and it remained that till the very end. The non-usage of other character names but depicting them by their features, profession et al. was ingenious. 

As the tale unfolds you try to find a pattern, and it is there but just not that obvious. It's not just multi-layered but one story is connected to the other. eventually tying the lose knots at the ends. 

We come to know how Anya came to be, what is it that makes her special? Her journey of being a simple naive child in a ruthless world, who is so very different from others. Is being different bad? was the one question that kept on haunting me all throughout this novel. Perhaps, it is because the world chooses to ignore you, to mock you, to not understand you. But it is after all, the 'power of one' your own self to evolve or to suffer. Even though Anya was different, she was courageous in her own ways. 

The writing style is lyrical, the imagery and setting brilliantly graphic making you feel like you're in the moment. The language is crisp and the words artful. The novel has the power to transfer you to an alternate universe where Anya lives and you're just a spectator. Reminded me of the pensive experience from Harry Potter. Although the novel is short and can be finished in one setting, it took me time because of my over hectic schedule. And even though I read it three slots it didn't feel like I needed to begin from the start, I could connect to it even then, that's the beauty.

Read it to cherish it. Simple, poignant and deeply touching. Do give it a try.

PRICE: Rs. 564| $ 7.54
BINDING: Paperback
PAGES: 182

P.S: You can also check out the review here,
Amazon India

I got this book from The Readers Cosmos as part of their Book Review Program.

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Curtain Call - Review

AUTHOR: Various authors
ISBN: 978-93-84315-375
GENRE: Fiction/Anthology
PUBLISHER: Half Baked Beans

EXCERPT: (Credits: Goodreads)

We live our lives like the ceaseless flow of a river, but we remember it only in pieces, pieces we like to call memories, memories that are shared in the form of stories. What is life if not a number of stories tied together like an anthology? The Curtain Call, compiled and edited by Rafaa Dalvi, is one such anthology that brings together stories from different walks of life, stories that would make you pondering upon them for days, stories that make you think, and stories that will leave an imprint on the souls of the readers. From historical fiction to fantasy fiction, this multi-genre anthology contains thought-provoking stories that will take you through a delightful journey beyond time and reality.


Part I: Beginning 
This book begins with an editor's note, outlining every facet of his journey. Starting from conceiving this idea to actually implementing it; the trials and tribulations that came along to publish this anthology.

There are books and then there are books! The thing that sets one apart from another, is not just the writing or the author but the way the book is put forth to the reader. The element that sets it apart from the numerous other anthologies is the concoction of multiple genres in one single anthology.  

Part II: Delving Deep
This anthology comprises of 20 short stories each of varied lengths and genres. Since each story is from the a different author, each has its set of positives as well as negatives. Since the number of stories is quite high, I am reviewing only a selected few in the order that I read them.

1. F.L.A.M.E.S by Amrit Sinha (Romance) 
Amrit and Romance always go hand in hand, and it was no surprise that he wrote on romance. This is one genre where you can experiment from being cliched to innovative. The story is a cute teenage love story where emotions run raw throughout the 7 pages. The language is simple yet poignant and the writing fresh. What I liked the most was, the brilliant use of metaphors coupled with simplicity. It is a light read and explains the working of a teenage mind in the first spell of love.

2. A Crimson Affair by Rafaa Dalvi (Historical Fiction)
I've been reading this author's work for almost a decade now, when he wrote play scripts and articles for the college magazine, his initial dark themed blog and the recent ones too. And through these years, just like everything else his writing too has changed. Evolving from being a novice to a professional.
Coming to the story what I liked was; some of the characters are well known and it is a simple yet a very layered story. The narrative is detailed, the plot crisp as well as the characters strong. The story glues you till the end. As the tale enfolded I felt like I knew the end but it took me by surprise. Overall I felt that the author did justice to the genre as well as managed to recreate history.

3. His Leela by Kartik (Reflective)
Everything in our life, happens for some or the other reason. Some experiences leave our hearts elated while others urge us to embrace life. This short story paints the picture of a man lost in the outcomes of his past. And he lets this past of his to affect his present. A wonderful story that makes us realize everything is not as it seems to be. There is always a back story, layers upon layers that make a person and to know someone deeply to connect them, we first ought to peel those layers off; sometimes patiently.
What I liked the best, was the flow of the story, it flows like a river, bumps and bruises yet steady in its own pace.

4. Ablaze Within by Sanhita Baruah (Prostitution/Reality)
This is one of those genres where faking is not the key, you bluff and create imagery that is not relate-able and poof the story goes down the drain. The author managed to avoid all these loopholes flawlessly. The texture in terms of emotions was coarse just like how it should be. The characters though you may not connect to them on a basic level given the theme, you connect to them, feel for them. What I liked was, the portrayal of grim reality and the end (you got to read it to know the end).

5. Time after Time by Aniesha Brahma (Fantasy/Sci-Fi)
The story starts off nicely, the characters seem relate-able and the plot promising. It circulates around time and how it rules us in a way. And even though the plot is intriguing, I felt it was rushed. Rushed especially towards the end, what the author could have done was atleast add a paragraph or two more for it to look natural. The thing that makes a story, more than just a fiction story was missing. What I liked was, the unique idea.

6. My Fair Husband by Renu Sethi (Rom-Com)
One of the most amazing and cute stories in this book, to me. This is a simple, cute story, filled with lots of love and laughter. And yet it has so much you can take from it, the meaning of love, companionship and how sometimes even after things end, they have a way of coming back to us. Not necessarily haunting us. What I liked was, the light banter that seamlessly progresses with the story.

7. Another Chance by Ketaki Patwardhan (Fantasy/Sci-Fi)
Time-turner! By the time I was done reading this story, that's the only word that striked my mind. There are always consequences with meddling with time, and no matter what you do the outcome always remains the same though the nature of execution might change.
Coming to this story, though it was on similar plot lines as that of 'Time after Time' where Time is the common entity, this one is different. More than the positives, there were a lot of loopholes. The plot seemed hay-wire, the conversations unreal with no concrete structure. I as a reader, though found the conflict in the middle of the story but there was nothing done to it, it was just there like a silent statue. Neither was I able to understand the purpose nor I would be able relate to the places mentioned, if I am not a Mumbaikar. What I liked was, just the language.  

8. Boys will be Boys by  Dr.  Roshan Radhakrishnan (Humour)
The premise is simple, the plot not at all layered or mysterious and yet it holds tightly. By the time I started with this story, I wanted to read something light and this one did it for me. I had a grin right from the beginning till the very end. The protagonist as can be guessed are boys, and when you read it, it's like no doubt about the title. What I liked was, the usage of cartoon characters and animals to describe people, that was the most hilarious of all things. This is by far my favourite story above all else.

Part III: On an End Note
The anthology is amazing, the hardwork that everyone has put in it, is forthcoming. And yes, the hardwork pays off. Although there were slight grammatical errors and typos, they do not as such hinder the flow of the story, however, they could have been avoided. Then again, there were stories that were amazing and I loved them while some did not appeal to me. Overall, this one was a power-packed book and I wish the authors success for both this book, and future endeavors too.

PRICE: Rs. 299 | $9.90
BINDING: Paperback
PAGES: 197

P.S: You can also check out the review here,
Amazon India

Saturday, 9 January 2016

Painting That Red Circle White - Review

AUTHOR: Mihir Vatsa
ISBN: 978-81-7273-859-4
GENRE: Reflective Poetry
PUBLISHER: Authorspress

EXCERPT: (Credits: Goodreads)

Divided into four parts, and prefaced with a personal essay where the author
explains his relationship with the English language,
Painting That Red Circle White is the debut collection containing thirty seven poems.


I had this book with me from 2014; in fact I completed reading it back then itself and decided to write a review. But then I drifted apart from writing, I did not wish to write, something that's been happening with me from the past 2 years, on and off. Finally I decided it's high time I return to writing and what better than to start with penning down a review that was in drafts for two long years and is finally seeing the light today.

I have always wondered why classic literature is amazing. Over the years I've come to a personal conclusion it might be so because much of it is not fabricated like fiction. The authors and poets felt the emotions they penned down.

We don't see writings like that these days, even if it's there it's rare.  On such example is Mihir Vatsa's poems. The first time I read him dates back to almost around 2012. Back then I had no idea that four years later I would be reviewing his work in paperback. 'Painting That Red Circle White' is a collection of poems divided in four parts each having a theme and a personal essay at the opening.

The poems they talk, they talk of him and through him. They talk about the places he grew up in and how they moulded him. I have never been to Hazaribagh yet I feel I've traversed through it like an invisible ghost eyeing the things hidden behind words. The subtle undertones that weave the words and takes the reader to a surreal realm where none but the words exist.

"To love 
is to be in a battlefield
after ceasefire"
- In Other Words

There are no two poems that are comparable to each other, you cannot compare one to another. Each one has its own essence and the more you read the more intriguing they become. It is neither the language that is mysterious nor the plot, it is the feeling the diverse emotions they evoke in you every time you read them. Some you relate to while some leave you in awe.

There are some poems that captivated me compelling me to read them over and over; 'Ice', 'Things Which Aren't Ours', 'In Other Words', 'The Thing about Silence', and 'Touch'.

Words and poems are simple, just like life and Vatsa makes his point clear with his marvellous debut! All you need is a taste for the simpler but good things in life.

A must read if you long for good modest and gripping Indian poetry.

PRICE: Rs. 195 | $ 8
BINDING: Paperback

P.S: You can also check out the review here,