Saturday, September 22, 2012

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Book Review - Love, Peace and Happiness: What more can you want?

Title: Love, Peace and Happiness: What more can you want?
Author: Rituraj Verma.
Publisher: Leadstart India Pvt Ltd.
Format: E-book.
Pages: 223.
Genre: Fiction, Short Stories.
Blurb: Here.

The author had sent a copy of this book for me to review.
My Thoughts:
What I first noticed about the book was its name. It was a simple and straight forward name with no frills whatsoever. With the name of the book in my mind, initially I thought it was one of those 'self help' books(even though I knew it was a book of short stories) which seems to be the rage nowadays. For all I know, I am not a 'self help book' girl. However, I was in for a surprise when I started reading the book. A compact book, 9 short stories- 5 stories from a female point of view and 4 stories from a male standpoint.
The book is more or less an exploration, a journey into the lives of middle class urban couples, living their busy urban lives. Stories of people from various backgrounds, with different attitudes towards lives, their dreams, fears, goals are all explored in a lucid & condensed manner. Factors like career, money, intimacy ,love , are intelligently woven into the lives of these characters. The first story didn't quite interest me, however as I proceeded to the next 8 stories, I noticed how the author had explored and deciphered the human mind. He has intricately woven the most delicate issues of the urban life in these stories. The problems, dilemmas, matters regrading the heart no matter how rich or poor you are. Like the author says in the beginning of the book,we would love atleast one story, hate atleast one character and might know someone in our life who resembles atleast one of the characters in the book. I couldn't agree more.That is the reason why I would call this book, a realistic one. Realistic characters, flawed and still human,worthy of love. 
There were 2 main reasons why I enjoyed reading this book. One being the author had made this book unique by giving us (the readers) a chance to decide on the ending of each story! After each story few urls are provided. On clicking them you are directed to the alternate ending of the book. Like the author said, some readers may like the normal ending and some may prefer the alternate ending provided in his website. Second, being the fact that many characters are repeated in different stories.Thus, forming a book of short stories comprising of a group of individuals. Each story introduces us to a certain couple and you come across them in another story. And you are like,' Hey I know this chap/girl..he/she was there in the previous story', thus introducing an interesting twist to the stories.
Thanks to the recurrent appearance of some of the characters, you are presented with some of the character's life before or after 'their' story happens in the book. Each story focuses on what we really need when it is all said and done.We all need the 3 simple things in life- Love, Peace & Happiness. I felt some of the endings(also the alternate endings) were a little abrupt. Some of the stories didn't really strike a chord for me, on the other hand, I did enjoy some of them. As per the author, each reader would read this book differently.
Some of the stories I enjoyed reading were
1. The practitioner of austerity - The story of Aparna, a girl born in a poor family determined to succeed in life so as to put an end to the misery and poverty. A realistic approach towards the problems and dilemmas she faces. The sacrifices she makes for her big family and how she is forced to choose between the love of her life and her family. This is one of those stories where I liked the alternate ending than the the original ending.
2. The victim of many loves - Another female protagonist- Anamika. A suicide attempt victim/survivor. Her trait- she loves unconditionally. Her problem- she falls in love with the wrong men. Yet another convincing tale of an urban age successful single woman.
3.The persuit of perfection - I found this story a little disturbing. The story of a'happily married and settled' middle aged man, Harish Saxena who now questions his existence, about who he is, leading to ripples in his family life and his relationship with his kids.
A meticulous & eloquent book. Light read, you would ask? Yes it is pretty much a light read, however you would take some of the stories with you.Makes you reflect the life you are leading and the relationships you hold dear. 
My rating:

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

P . S 1..

-Have updated my Bookaholic101 page.Do check it out

-Also added a new page: Rating Policy explaining the new blings at the end of all my book reviews. 8)

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Book Review - Catching Fire | The Hunger Games Book 2

Title: Catching Fire (Hunger Games #2)
Author: Suzanne Collins.
Publisher: Scholastic.
Format: Hardcover.
Pages: 391.
Genre: YA, Adventure, Dystopian.
Blurb: Here.

The review of the second in every trilogy is bound to have spoilers of some sort.So don't whine later that I didn't warn you :P I'm not going to hold a placard here and wave like a crazy person.Read at your own risk!

My Thoughts:
So,as we all anticipated,Katniss & Peeta(Peeta Oh Peeta!! :L) do win the 74th Hunger Games but looks like the games are nowhere next to over for the girl on fire.Crowned victors,they visit each district as a part of the victory tour.Much to her dismay/surprise she has become the root of the rebellion boiling in the districts and President Snow is furious.
I felt the book was a little slow to begin with.The uneasiness remained intact though,I must add!Quite honestly,I didn't know where the plot was leading since it kinda felt all over the place.Mention of a rebellion here,Mr President pissed off with Katniss for rebellion behavior at the arena.A love triangle,the teenage confusion and what not!! I must have finished atleast a quarter of the book when the plot started to make sense.
Boom! Pow!..yet another game and an arena,just this time the games were called Quarter Quell which occurs every 25 years.More new characters were introduced and descriptions were made.It was the games all over again.Remember the 'Oh No' moment!The author did come up with some pretty crazy ideas to make us undergo the same horror and uneasiness.However,I felt the arena and the horrors associated with it was a little too rushed up.It was as though,the author was trying to wrap up the games since more were in store for the duo and the readers.
Since Book 1 was so close to perfection,obviously I had huge-sky high hopes for Book2.That's what happens when you have high expectations.It may fall right back on the floor **Thud!** That's what I felt for this book for major parts of it.Either that or I am more cynical than I had imagined myself to be :||
One of the main new characters was President Snow.He literally sends a chill down my spine.The sly dictator who singlehandedly rules the 12 districts and who cannot tolerate uprising of any kind.The tyrant who can go to any extend to keep his iron fist crunching the districts.The next minute you see another version of Snow facing the cameras, maintaining a cordial relationship with Katniss planning her marriage!!!! Yeas 17 years and marriage.I know raaight?!! :o It's the dystopian era.Anything works there!
Katniss, who was portrayed as the strong,independent 'girl on fire' in Book 1 had almost no fire this time around.She was unbelievably pessimistic,whiny and didn't trust anybody even after they had proved to be trustworthy.These attributes frustrated me to no end.**rolling eyes**She was so much together and independent in Book1.Another character who was not done justice was Gale.It was like as though he didn't exist.He was just mentioned in passing in the beginning and at the end.I assume that the author felt guilty that she didn't give any center stage to Gale so she just went ahead and inserted him at the very end of the book. o_O
The stuff that I loved - The fact that the mockingjay pin played  an important role in the uprising among the district and how Katniss with or without her knowledge had become the face of the rebellion.
Oh and btw SC drops another bomb.District13!? Reallyy??Oooh,now that was something.I absolutely loved the ending.That was one of the best cliffhangers EVER!!I grabbed Book3.. like the next second. 8)

**Update** - Similar to Book1there was elaborate description of clothes and accessories which Katniss would wear at each occasion.**facepalm** I know I didn't quite mention Peeta and I cannot believe I forgot about him.Peeta,the golden boy took over most of the book sidestepping Gale.*snort* Peeta the boy with the bread,the boy whose love for Katniss was unconditional,even though he realised with a broken heart the love may not be returned.I felt Peeta was the one who kinda had an idea of the bigger picture.
The Hunger Games GIF
That's all. Thankyouverymuch! :D

My rating: