The Verdict and Other Stories by Shilpi Chaklanobis

41b368T38rL.jpgI received the book, The Verdict and Other Stories by Shilpi Chaklanobis, as a review copy from the author and I am thankful to her for the same. This book is a collection of twelve short stories that can be either read in one sitting or can be relished story by story.

The blurb:

  1. The retired and peaceful years of a Judge takes an unexpected turn when he loses his son in the battlefield fighting for his motherland.
  2. A journalist of international fame decides not to publish the most challenging story of his life. It only resides in his mind till the end. Flip through the pages to know what held him to do so.
  3. A couple, that visits a small cafe without fail during 25 years of their lives, can not make it one rainy morning. The cafe owner tries to find the reason and his life turns upside down after knowing it.

Woven around the lives of the people around us – the shy girl going to join her first job, a simple couple next door, a soldier fighting for his motherland, your neighbours and perhaps even you – this collection of short stories will take you on a bittersweet journey that explores the spectrum that is part of any human relationship.

Unmasking both the beauty and ugliness of human nature, each of the stories in this collection is a reflection of life. The book is filled with small doses of heart-melting stories and is sure to change the way you see the world around you.

My take:

The author has written twelve stories with realistic ad relatable characters. Even though the stories are short, the characters have been developed well. Most of the stories (8) have been written in first person.

The language is simple and easily understandable and I am sure when you read the book, you will realise that some part of some story is relatable.

I loved all the stories, though some of them left me wanting more and some of them I felt could have ended on a happy note. The missing bead in the necklace was one story that I loved and also the story of Mr and Mrs Joshi.

I relished this book, story by story, and would recommend it to everyone but with a warning, please keep a tissue box handy, because you never know when you will tear up and also when you would be able to relate to the story.

Disclaimer: I received a free e-copy of the book from the author in return for my honest review. I have NOT received any monetary compensation for the same.

Rusty and the Magic Mountain by Ruskin Bond

rusty-and-magic-mountain.pngI picked up Rusty and the Magic Mountain by Ruskin Bond as the challenge #3for the Read-India-Thon:Read A Book With the Indian Tri-Color on the Cover. This is one book that had some Saffron, White & Green on the cover.

The blurb:

‘Adventure is for the adventurous.’

Rusty and his friends Pitamber and Popat find adventure in no small measure when they set out to climb a mysterious mountain steeped in legend and superstition. On their way they shelter in a haunted rest house, encounter a tiger and experience a hilarious mule ride, which takes them to the palace of a mad rani.

Ruskin Bond returns with a brand-new Rusty adventure after more than a decade. A rollicking tale of humour and enchantment, Rusty and the Magic Mountain will win the much-loved character of Rusty a whole new band of followers.

My take:

I loved the book and felt like a child once again. Rusty and his adventure kept me glued to the book and I could only sleep after I completed the book. As with other Ruskin Bond books, this one had an excellent flow and has been flawlessly edited.

 

 

The Missing Fairy Princess by Walter Salvadore Pereira

51Yh2BsvJNjLI received the book The Missing Fairy Princess by Walter Salvadore Pereira as a review copy from BookR3vi3ws and am thankful to them.

The blurb:

The Missing Fairy Princess is the story of a fairy princess pitted against a powerful witch. The witch overhears a conversation between two colleagues about a potent new mantra being developed by one of them. Overcome by greed, she steals that mantra. She then hatches an elaborate plot to frame an adversary for her misdeed. Her intention is to exact sweet revenge from her foe and at the same time, get away with the theft. The victim, caught in her vicious web, is doomed to disgrace and a life sentence on a harsh penal colony. Meanwhile, the witch learns from her crystal ball about an imminent threat from a fairy princess wearing a pink tiara. To ward off that threat, she kidnaps the fairy princess, wipes her memory clean and then turns her into a two-year-old girl. Unfortunately for the culprit, she has goofed us by kidnapping the wrong fairy princess, Merlyn, instead of Ashlyn, her twin.

Will Ashlyn be able to solve the mystery of her missing twin and stop the cunning witch in her evil plot? Find out in the book which is an interesting mix of magical realism and whodunit.

My take:

The book was whimsical with just the amount of magic. It had all the elements of a wonderful fantasy read. I loved the development of the characters. It made them feel so real as if they were jumping off the page. The characters were very interesting and three dimensional. It was almost as if they had come to life. This book was so magical that it even had dragons which are one of my favourite mythical creatures. Safe to say I loved this inclusion. The book is fast paced and there is never a moment when the book drags. The second half of the book kept me on the edge of my seat in anticipation. The plot was fresh and the story kept me enthralled. The book had a very good flow and the chapters was small.

This book is sure to be enjoyed by children as well as adults. It was unputdownable. The author has written this book in wonderful prose and I’m certainly looking forward to reading more by him.

I find that it is best to go in blind in this book because it has many twists and turns that you’ll never see coming. This book is recommended for everybody who’s a child at heart.

DISCLAIMER: I received this book as a review copy and have not received any monetary compensation doe the same.

 

 

Cover Reveal: You Beneath your Skin by Damayanti Biswas

You Beneath Your Skin Cover revealToday it is an honour to reveal the cover for Damyanti Biswas‘s debut crime novel, You Beneath Your Skin to be published this September by Simon & Schuster, India. I’ve known Damyanti since a long time, she was and always has been one of the first person to read my blog.

So, without further ado, here’s the cover! The red and black immediately captures nuances of an atmospheric crime story, and the face visible under the title makes you wonder who she is, and what her story might be.

You Beneath Your Skin

The Blurb:

Lies. Ambition. Family.

It’s a dark, smog-choked New Delhi winter. Indian American single mother Anjali Morgan juggles her job as a psychiatrist with caring for her autistic teenage son. She is in a long-standing affair with ambitious Police Commissioner Jatin Bhatt – an irresistible attraction that could destroy both their lives.

Jatin’s home life is falling apart: his handsome and charming son is not all he appears to be, and his wife has too much on her plate to pay attention to either husband or son. But Jatin refuses to listen to anyone, not even the sister to whom he is deeply attached.

Across the city there is a crime spree: slum women found stuffed in trash bags, faces and bodies disfigured by acid. And as events spiral out of control Anjali is horrifyingly at the centre of it all.

In a sordid world of poverty, misogyny, and political corruption, Jatin must make some hard choices. But what he unearths is only the tip of the iceberg. Together with Anjali he must confront old wounds and uncover long-held secrets before it is too late.

Check out this book if you like pacy reads that also engage with various social issues.

Pre-order YOU BENEATH YOUR SKIN here

You Beneath Your Skin Back Cover

All proceeds to the author would be divided between Chhanv Foundation and Project WHY.

To support the organisations, pre-order HERE.

Do you read crime novels? What do you think of the cover of You Beneath Your Skin? Would you like to read You Beneath Your Skin, and make a pre-order?


Damyanti Biswas lives in Singapore, and works with Delhi’s underprivileged children as Damyanti Biswas profile pic.jpgpart of Project Why, a charity that promotes education and social enhancement in underprivileged communities. Her short stories have been published in magazines in the US, UK, and Asia, and she helps edit the Forge Literary Magazine. You can find her on her blog and twitter.

 

Who Wants to Marry a Mamma’s Boy and Other Stories by Manjula Pal

who wants to marryI received the book Who Wants to Marry a Mamma’s Boy and Other Stories by Manjula Pal as a review copy from the publisher and am thankful to them for the same.

I read this book as a part of the challenge #2 of the Read-India-Thon Readathon, a Readathon dedicated to reading Indian Books and Authors: Read An Indian Book Under 24 Hours. I attempted this challenge on Indian Independence Day – Aug 15th and I managed to complete it, what with my maid on leave and kids’ demands.

The Blurb: 

Who Wants to Marry a Mamma’s Boy and Other Stories is an engaging collection of short stories by columnist and award-winning writer Manjula Pal. She strings together the emotional journeys of a diverse set of women at different stages in their life.

The realism in her stories is unmistakable: whether it is a teenager facing the dilemma over right and wrong but eventually succumbing to social pressure, or the dilemma of an ambitious woman caught between a demanding career and an even more demanding boyfriend, or the socio-cultural dynamics that affect relationships, or how guilt can make or break a person.

Manjula takes a deep dive into several unexplored areas of life and reaffirms that happiness is all about striking a balance between commitment and compromise.

My take:

This book is a beautiful collection of eight stories, I liked all but one. The author has depicted various emotions and circumstances that a girl born in India has to go through, even today. She has picked up topics which are realistic and those that we have come across sometime or the other in our life.

The language is simple and the book has been edited meticulously and can be finished in one sitting flat. Some stories have been written in first person and some in third person, but the way they have been written makes all of them believable.

I loved this book and am looking forward to read more from the author.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of the book from the publisher in return for my honest review. I have NOT received any monetary compensation for the same.

Lights! Scalpel! Romance!  by Jas Kohli

Lights Scalpel PbkI received the book Lights! Scalpel! Romance!  by Jas Kohli as a review copy from the publisher and am thankful to them for the same.

The blurb:

Being a surgeon is not easy. And the ones in Nirog Hospital are the best at making it worse.

Nipun, the eternal prankster and Nishtha, the strong-headed beauty, join the MS (surgery) course under Dr Ujjwal, a brilliant surgeon-cum-alfa male of the hospital, and Dr Anuroop (alias Candy), a smooth operator. Freaky situations and spicy incidents become the norm when their worlds collide. Edgy patients and their relatives add even more spice to the mix.

Amidst all this chaos, Nipun makes every effort to find love but his efforts fail every time. When he’s not failing, he’s falling—and literally. Soon he starts being known as a doctor who is more dangerous than the disease itself. Will Fiasco King Nipun attain his two degrees—MS in surgery and pass certificate in romance?

Lights! Scalpel! Romance! invites readers to become a part of the fun side of hospital life, where a surgeon’s routine is akin to driving in a Formula One race every day.

My take:

This story having been written by a doctor takes the reader along with the protagonist, Nipun, on a tour of three years of the MS Surgery programme that Nipun undertakes. He has beautifully highlighted the troubles endured by the postgraduate students to attain the degree and how hard they have to work for it. The characters and the incidents are realistic and being a doctor myself, there were places in the story where I felt, Yes this has happened to many of my friends.

Though the language is simple and the story moves at a steady pace throughout, the author has used some medical terms, but has also explained them. He has used humour and also satire.

In an age when the doctors are abused for no fault of theirs, books like this one may be of help to make the readers aware.

A must read for all doctors.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of the book from the publisher, Rupa Publications,  in return for my honest review. I have NOT received any monetary compensation for the same.

 

 

Spotlight: The Missing Fairy Princess by Walter Salvadore Pereira

The Missing Fairy Princess by Walter Salvadore Pereira

~ Book Tour~
11th to 17th August
About the Book:
“The Missing Fairy Princess” is the story of a 16-year-old fairy princess pitted against a powerful witch. The witch has stolen a potent new mantra developed by a colleague, ruthlessly snuffing out a brilliantly innovative mind.  She then hatches an elaborate plot to frame an adversary for her misdeed.  Her intention is to exact sweet revenge from her foe and at the same time, get away with the theft.  The victim, caught in her vicious web, is doomed to disgrace and a life sentence on a harsh penal colony. Meanwhile, the witch learns from her crystal ball, about an imminent threat from a fairy princess wearing a pink tiara.  To ward off that threat she kidnaps the fairy princess, wipes her memory clean and then turns her into a two-year-old girl.
Unfortunately for the culprit, she has goofed up by kidnapping the wrong fairy princess, Merlyn, instead of Ashlyn, her twin.  The mistake turns out to be the undoing of the witch because Ashlyn proves to be her nemesis.  The brilliant fairy princess exposes the cobweb of misleading evidence fabricated by the witch, ultimately unmasking her.
If you love mystery, whodunit, with a dash of magical realism and sci-fi, this book is for you.
Book Links:

Cleanliness

“Cleanliness” ~ a topic which has featured so prominently in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s speeches whenever he addressed gatherings across the country, Swachh Bharat!
Despite the rigorous drive by the central government, it is disheartening that except in small pockets, the larger picture that emerges is that there has been no appreciable improvement.
Why is it so difficult to inculcate the habit of cleanliness in us Indians?  This question gives rise to a plethora of others.  Is it inborn and so deep-rooted that it has become uncorrectable?  Have we been always like this and have fallen into a rut!
Certainly, not!  History attests that for bygone centuries India had an unblemished record as a much admired country.  Our hospitality matched our wealth and surroundings.  Our famed structures like Taj Mahal and Qutub Minar attracted visitors from all over the world, praising our land.  Given such a glorious background, how does one explain the degeneration to present abysmal depths?
Also, one mustn’t forget that the issues of overall cleanliness and environment damage although distinctly separate, are definitely correlated.  One has to take a look at the pathetic condition of our famed river of Ganga which at places reeks of raw sewage, despite 22,000 crores claimed to have been spent during the last four years.  In Mumbai, the Mithi river has been reduced to an open sewer and is an eye sore, again after humongous amounts of public money supposedly spent on cleaning it.
Those born in 30’s and 40’s would agree with me that the conditions in those days weren’t as pathetic like those one sees today.  There is a plausible theory that the industrialization was the cause of the fast deterioration.  If that indeed is the case, then it inevitably gives rise to a serious question; one of dereliction of duty. Unquestionably, the finger of blame points squarely at the watchdog authorities, including the governments at the centre and the states.  Were they so consumed in their eternal fights for power that ‘minor’ issues such as the blatant environment damage taking place so openly all over the country, were ignored overriding the persistent grave warnings from the environmentalists.  In the process, some of those politicians succeeded in turning the national calamity to their advantage, abetting the defaulters by fraudulent means by lining their own pockets.
I am sure we could discuss this issue for hours, but at the end, it would emerge as a classic example of the ‘fence feeding on the crop’!  The present policy of the ‘carrot and stick’ hardly has shown a worthwhile improvement.  It seems imperative that sterner and punitive measures are called for.
I cannot resist the temptation of quoting an interesting anecdote. There is the proven case of a tiny state in the Far East which was struggling to come to terms with filth and squalour and a true visionary leader transformed it into a country which is now proud of its environmental achievements.  Many years ago, a visitor stepped out of the International Airport and even as he was looking for a cab, succumbed to the habit of spitting.  In the blink of an eye, a marshal materialized and gave the man a receipt for 500 dollars in local currency, pointing to a prominent notice prohibiting spitting.  Apparently, there was further misery in store for the despondent visitor.  Another marshal handed him a pail and a groom and ordered him to clean a stretch of around 100 feet as a token punishment.
There is a colloquial saying that you cannot expect one’s hand to produce the results what a stick alone can do. May be it is time for our authorities to shift gears and adopt tougher legislation to discipline the legions of errant citizens blatantly spitting and littering.  Many years ago, it was a common sight to see people urinating at dark corners, with the result one had to block one’s nostrils while passing such stinking spots.  Subsequently, someone came up with a brilliant idea of putting up ceramic tiles with the picture of prominent deities at such places, the results were noteworthy.  Unfortunately, the idea didn’t have the desired results in curbing spitting.
Mere sloganeering will not help!  The change has to take place at the grassroots level. The parents and teachers have a greater role to play in moulding the young minds.  A recent advertisement on TV comes to mind where a child sees her mother throw a wrapper in a park and replicates it later at a public place.  The rebuke from mother has the kid saying the former did exactly the same thing in the park, causing acute embarrassing as well as realization of her folly in the mother.  It pains one to see even educated youngsters indulging in wanton littering from the trains, buses or cars involving plastic bottles, wrappers and plastic sachets with little regard to the environmental damage they are causing.  That also applies to the disgusting habit of spitting which we have formed maybe due to of our pan-chewing habit.
I can recall yet another significant effect of the role of the teacher.  My granddaughter was in the first grade then.  One day we saw her coming home inconsolable, tears rolling down her cheeks even though she had left her class a good 10-15 minutes earlier.  The reason as it transpired was that the teacher has explained to the class how unscrupulous builder were irresponsibly cutting down trees to make way for new buildings, thereby destroying what the nature has taken centuries to build.  Such was the impact on the young mind of a five-year-old that she was prepared to take part into a demonstration against the errant builders.
Precious moments are ticking and with every passing minute, the mankind is racing towards an inevitable tryst with doom.  The nature sounded a number of loud warnings, but if we stupidly continue to ignore them, we would be dropping the proverbial axe on our own feet.
About the Author:
After spending over 25 years in the Middle East, the author, aged 75, now leads a retired life.  He lives with his wife and son in Thane, near Mumbai. He has been passionate about writing from his early days.  His first book was a fast-paced sci-fi novel titled “This Nightmare is for Real”, was self-published. That was followed by a historical fiction titled “Bheem – The Sage of Madhavpur”, again a self-publication.  A third book, a fairy tale titled “The Missing Fairy Princess” which was published on Kindle Select during the first week of June 2019, while a fourth on the oft-discussed topic of cross-border terrorism titled “The Carnivore has a Heart” is slated for publication shortly thereafter again on Kindle Select.
Contact the Author:

 

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