Top Reviewer Certificate by OUTSET

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It gives me immense pleasure to share with you all that Outset has chosen me to be one of the best reviewers for the year 2018-19.

I sincerely thank Rakhi Jayashankar, the force behind OUTSET, for acknowledging and appreciating my work. It comes as a big motivating factor to me to carry out my work with dedication and sincerity.

Book Review: FAITH AND THE BELOVED by KOCHERY C SHIBU

Book Review

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Naithy Cherokil is a rich and successful business woman from Mumbai who marries the young and handsome model Tony D’Souza after the death of her husband. Little does she know that the ideal sex slave of her husband is the sleeper cell of a terror outfit. Events in her life take unforeseen turns as the male Mata Hari is activated.
Prem Rollands is a kalari exponent and brilliant student whose world revolves around his brother Arun. Things go awry when the police kills Arun under mysterious circumstances. Prem kills the inspector in retribution and is on the run. He is on the lookout for Alice to find out the dark secrets leading to the killing of his brother. Prem must avenge those who have plotted to kill his brother, even at the cost of his own life.
Eighteen year old Alice Cherokil knows more about computers and mystery games than a girl of her age. Alice’s life falls apart when her mother is hospitalised and in a coma. Alice is playing the ultimate mystery game of her life as the web of secrets surrounding two precious diamonds and her stepfather threaten to destroy her family. Alice overcomes moral dilemma to kill her stepfather and she is on the run. Alice must outwit the underworld and stay ahead of all to save her mother’s life or the guilt of her failure will haunt her forever.
As the lives of Naithy, Prem and Alice cross each other they must retain their faith and protect their beloved ones even at the cost of their own lives.
A saga of love, lust, betrayal, intrigue and revenge.

REVIEW

This is my second read from author Kochery C Shibu. Like author’s other book this too has intricate yet intriguing work. The story has many subplots, running simultaneously that blend well as the story progresses.
I always liked author’s style of narration and detailing. There are many characters in the story and each one has a detailed background and evolve with the story.
The time travel from Kishanganj to Mumbai, Canada to Jafna and plot switch are handled well.
My only issue with the book is that the story seemed dragged at places.
Other than that the book is a perfect gripping thriller that one can finish in one go.

RATING

4/5 STARS

Book Review: THAT THING ABOUT YOU ko

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What if co-incidences in our lives are nothing but a result of a dice thrown by some higher being? 
What if, to the heavens, our lives are nothing but rows of dominos ready to be put into action?
What if we all are mere pieces of pawns carefully played upon by a cosmic chessmaster? 

‘That Thing About You’ is an uncommon story of a common man rejected in love.

This is a story of a man walking on the path of self-discovery. 

Subodh, a regular IT employee, is perceived as an immature man by everyone, but he isn’t bothered until his love interest rejects him citing the same. 

Although dejected and crestfallen, he soon befriends an unusual, mysterious woman who knows everything about him and seems to have all the answers. 

Soon, his life goes through a lot of unexpected turns—from doubting his sanity and visiting a psychologist to a failed arranged marriage attempt made by his parents. 

Everything in his life seems to be in fast-forward mode. One thing that does not change, however, is this unusual “friend” of his who refuses to reveal her identity and chooses to appear at her whim. 

Who is this mysterious woman? Why is she prying into his life? Where will this strange friendship lead him? Is some impending danger awaiting Subodh or is it something else altogether.

REVIEW

That thing about you is the story of Subodh, a boy that has no ambition in life. He is okay if not happy with his life. He admires a colleague of his secretly but that girl rejects him and this pushes him further into his cocoon. Then one day, on an office trip he happens to buy a key and that changes his life. Strange things happen with him and he starts to hear a voice in his head. Whose voice is it and what good or bad it does to him?
In the beginning the book seemed like a casual romance stuff but as you proceed it gets interesting. The voice of the girl Subodh hears changes the direction of the story. You get to do some sole searching and some serious lessons are there.
The cover of the book could have been better. The pace was medium but USP of the book is the plot. Language is simple and book is mostly centred around Subodh.
The book can be a great read for youngsters who think life is over after a heartbreak.

RATING

🌟🌟🌟🌟/5 Stars

LINK TO BUY

AMAZON.IN

Book Review: BETTER THAN SEX by ATIMA MANKOTIA

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Can some feelings be better than sex? The answer was a revelation for the new bride, meenu, who saw her mothers concerned face mouthing familiar words as the bus left. In the hustle-bustle of the Vidai ceremony, her mother Kamlesh forgot her signature parting shot for anyone who left the house…either for a short journey or a long one. By the time both mother and daughter remembered, it was too late. As the bus begins its journey from Delhi Lajpat Nagar with a marriage party returning to Chandigarh, an intricate web of relationships and gender dynamics unfolds. From dawn to dusk while the story meanders through many lives, meenu is both hopeful and apprehensive of her new situational and physical. What transpired in the bus journey that makes meenu discover that there is a satisfaction better than sex?.

REVIEW

The book starts with vidai(send off) ceremony of Meenu and a bus journey from Delhi to Chandigarh. But it’s not just the story of Meenu and her new family. It is the story of many women, trying to make a place for themselves in their new household. It is the story of journey of a woman from a daughter to wife, daughter in law and eventually a mother in law. It is upto her what she wants to pass on to her daughter in law, the bitterness and hostility she recieved from her mother in law or a friendly, pleasant atmosphere, she had longed for as a new bride. Kamlesh, Sheena, Roop and Meenu are the characters one can really relate to.
The tone of the book is comic but it carries some life lessons and dark family secrets. The dilemma and apprehension of a new bride is immaculately portrayed.
The plot is intriguing and pace is good. A fair blend of suspense and comedy doesn’t let the monotony seep in.
The family tree given at the beginning of the story is a brilliant idea to keep a track of who’s who in the story. The language is lucid with a lot of punjabi touch. Some familiar names of places and dhabas in the NH1 brings smile on your face.
Overall a good entertaining experience with many life lessons.

RATING

5/5 STARS

Guest Post by AANCHAL ARORA: 3 Ps TO FOLLOW DURING QUARANTINE

It seems corona virus has put us in the cages. People are locked down in their homes and their outdoor activities are mostly restricted  as the whole world is fighting trying hard to fight against the pandemic. Every day we wake up with a hope that the situation get better and we can hop out of our homes but the rising cases results in the extension of lockdown, though it’s for our own benefit. Many people wonder how to utilize this time and how they can we become productive. Here I am sharing the ways in which you can make your day fecund.

Those who are working in MNCs, as they are still working from their home, but it’s the time for them to take proper rest and spend quality time with family members which is quite impossible for them after a hectic schedule. They often fails to give time to themselves and completely ignores their health as they are too busy in their routine. So, this is the time when they should make space for themselves and their family. They should try to learn things that they always wish to learn. It’s the time when we can have a better understanding of oneself and family members. You can try cooking, learning new language or say it’s the time for you to enhance your knowledge. So, there is enough time and it can be prove fruitful if one uses it effectively as these days are not burden instead they are BLESSED DAYS.

People who are on government duty to look after people in quartine, should consider it as their contribution for a better cause. 

Many of you are school going and college students, so try to indulge yourself in studies related to the subject you find difficult, watch youtube videos regarding those topics so that you can master over it. Work for your aim but don’t indulge too much it. Bring back you old days by calling your old friends share your precious memories with them.

They are many inspiring writers, bibliophiles and ones who wanted to inculcate reading habits it’s your time now. Grab e-books or the books which are lying in your bookshelf. Give it a read and those who love to scribble let you come out with some new ideas. 

One more thing you can do is to attend the live sessions which are hosted by various organizations and follow your idols. Use social media wisely. Instead of just using it, use it productively. If you want to share something with the world or want to contribute something use the power of your social media to reach out millions of people out their.  

If you find anything worth doing, implement it. Till then stay home, stay safe. Keep spreading the awareness. 

Book Review: KRISS CROSSING by LUKE MELIA

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Plagued by the tragedy of her past, local celebrity Hollie Crossing has disappeared. Though her mother and boyfriend do everything they can to find her, their worst fears are confirmed when Hollie’s jacket is found in a river… She has taken her own life. Meanwhile, 300 miles across the country, Kris Gibson is a struggling drug addict looking for any opportunity to get clean and make something more of her life. Everything is a struggle for Kris, as she begs and steals just to survive the day. When Kris comes into possession of a wallet belonging to the missing Hollie Crossing, she takes on her identity, using it to put herself on a path to recovery. Things, however, are not as simple as they seem, and Kris begins to notice changes that she can’t explain…

REVIEW

Weaved around Holly Crossing and Kris Gibson, Kriss Crossing by Luke Melia is a captivating psychological thriller in which it is almost impossible to guess the ending till about the last page.

Holly Crossing, a child model, has a happy childhood. She is cute and famous, ready to hit the silver screen till a tragedy strikes and takes away everything from her; her cuteness and her dreams too. She grows up to be a bitter adult, unhappy with her looks and unwilling to face the world.

Kris Gibson, an orphan who grew up in the foster care, on the streets and addicted to drugs is desperate to change her life.

There paths cross when one day Holly vanishes and Kris finds her wallet and makes use of her identity to change her life. But this changes everything about Kris and she starts to look like Holly.

The best thing about the book is the plot build up and character development, of course not to forget the narration style.

The book is divided into sections, each section build up around a particular character. The switch from one chapter(character) to other is smooth.

The language is crisp and lucid. At places author has used the accent writing to show the demographic difference of two characters which is a great idea. However, it took me some time to get used to it.

The cover is abstract and mixed up just like the story and the title is really interesting, apt for the story.

The story keeps you hooked and one is eager to read the ending of the story which is startling.

The book is highly recommended to those who love to read thrillers. It is worth your time.

I recieved this book as a part of review program in OUTSET .

Author Interview: SUDHA SIKRAWAR author of THRESHOLD ( चाँद सांवला है)

The Threshold is an adaptation of the novel, “Chand Saawla Hai,” published in Hindi. The stories are inspired by the incidents that took place in the Author Sudha Sikrawar’s life as part of her imagination as well as fragments of reality, which mirrors the truth. Our past, present, and future, all are part of our story according to the author.

Everyone has their boundaries and premises, and most of the time, they are violated. But there is no violation of these violations, nor is there any scale to measure all this. Just as one truth is different for different persons and becomes a story, in the same way, just like there was a king and there was a queen, this story gets over. And will this happen always?

We have not been able to learn anything from the Panchatantra stories of the animal kingdom to date, which in her view forms the biggest learning through stories. She thinks no writer can teach someone something by simply writing a story; One only tries to tell by expressing one’s thoughts, “Look, this is happening. And is it really happening!?”

When Author Sudha Sikrawar was interviewed about her latest book, her response was as follows:

Q1. What is your book about?
A: I have written 4 books – Chand Sanwla Hai, Threshold, Vihangini, and Vihangini – a soul. But when we talk about Threshold, it is an English translation of my Hindi book – Chand Sanwala Hai, through which I have tried to explain the real events of life become stories. But I always believe that the stories we read do not turn into the reality of our lives.

Q2. What inspired you to write this book?
A: All the events that happened in my life – big or small, excited my mind, and inspired me to write these stories.

Q3. What do you hope your readers take away from this book?
A: I believe that whatever we learn from a book, stays with us for a small period of time. I mean, we have read such great stories in Panchtantra but as we grew up, the lessons didn’t stay with us for life. I would ask my readers to read my book just as another novel and I would love to know if they could mirror any of the stories with an incident in their life.

Q4. Is writing your full-time career? Or would you like it to be?
A: I always used to write for the sake of my hobby and it was something really close to me. So, I finally decided to make this my full-time job and I aim to keep writing, forever.

Q5. What was your dream job when you were younger?
A: “Trees bear fruits only to be eaten by others; the fields grow grains, but they are consumed by the world. Cows give milk, but she doesn’t drink it herself – that is left to others. Clouds send rain only to quench the parched earth. In such giving, there is little space for selfishness.”
– Munshi Premchand
And so, I always aimed to be a person who was good and believed in the power of giving. I wanted to become a good doctor and serve people in remote areas. It was my father’s dream as well, for me.

Shop her book – Threshold now on:
AmazonFlipkartShopclues, and BlueRose Online Store.

Shop her book – Chand Saanwla Hai now on:
AmazonFlipkartShopclues, and BlueRose Online Store.

Book Review 101: WHODUNIT A HE OR A SHE by JYOTHIRLLATA GIRIJA

LANGUAGE: English

GENRE: CRIME THRILLER

FORMAT: Kindle

PAGES: 199

SOURCE: Review Copy in Exchange of an Honest review provided by Outset

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The beautiful steno of the Managing Director of a company is murdered. Her relative boy informs the police that during his casual visit to see her, he saw that she has been murdered. The police, after investigating the matter by contacting numerous people- the steno’s relatives, her co-tenants, colleagues of the company where she’s been working, including the Managing Director, his wife and others are baffled by different twists and turns, but find the real cultprit eventually , to their dismay.

REVIEW

A pretty girl Kalaavathi is murdered. People around her have all sorts of opinion about her. Two inspectors Manavaalan and Sivathanu are investigating the case and suspecting almost everyone around her; her boss, boss’s wife, the neighbour boy, her collegues and a mysterious visitor. How the investigation proceeds and how finally the real culprit is nabbed forms the story.
It is amazing to see duch a gripping thriller by a octogenerian. The story seems to be well researched. Plot built up is interesting especially the way the police investigation moves and the needle of suspicion points from one person to another.
The plot is slow in the beginning but once it caught up momentum the book is simply unputdownable.
The day to day struggle of a cop and how his personal life goes is touched by the author too.

My only complain is with the cover and translation part, both could have been better.
Other than that the book is a treat for crime thriller readers.

Book Review 99: 355 DAYS: PURSUIT OF FREEDOM

Language: English

Genre: Crime Thriller

Publisher : Lifi Publication Pvt. Ltd.

Format: paperback

Pages: 212

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A Murder. An Accused. Three Lives. What is the truth? 355 Days in the life of a British-Indian business tycoon, Aadesh Dixit; his wife, Maya and his lawyer, Nasha Singh. How will 355 Days impact their lives?

REVIEW

Aadesh Dixit, a successful business man and a happy family man, is prime accuse in murder case of Umraan Rizvi, a government official. Clearly Aadesh was framed but who got him framed; A business rival, an old friend or someone whom he doesn’t even know?Does someone want to settle score here? But with whom?

Nasha, a proficient criminal lawyer takes up his case willingly when no one is seeing any hope for Aadesh. What is it with Aadesh that compels Nasha to stand by him?

Maya, Aadesh’s wife finds it difficult to cope with this crisis. How does she deal with the whole situation?

The book has a lot of questions and their answers too.

The plot is not unusual but an engaging one. ‘355 days’, the title rings a bell in your mind but author has not fully utilised the title in the book. The timeline is given but in the first half there is hardly any mention of number of days. I feel the mention of number of days more often would have left a better impression on the reader.

The character of Aadesh and Nasha are interesting and develop very well but at the same time others are not given much importance. I wanted to read more about Maya and Inderjit, especially the latter one whose role is important.

The story is not just a crime thriller but it has a touch of romance and spirituality too. Aadesh’s struggle in his initial days at Tihar, the teething issues and eventually his spiritual and personal growth is depicted fabulously. It was heart wrenching to read the kind of life the inmates have in their and you feel sorry for the ones who are falsely implicated.

I liked the way author gave direction to lives of main characters and didn’t follow the cliche social norms.

A little more work towards narration and detailing could have done wonders to the story.

Other than that the book is a fantastic read. It is able to keep you glued through out. I finished it in straight three hours, courtesy the lockdown I had the time to finish it in one sitting. Certainly, the book is a good one time read.

RATING

🌟🌟🌟/5 stars

Book Review 99: YOU ARE IRREPLACEABLE by MUTHULAKSHMI MAHESH

LANGUAGE: English

GENRE: Contemporary Romance

FORMAT: Kindle

PAGES: 102

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*Hey I’m Mehana and now I am in a dilemma.*

– I generally prefer the guys who are smart, humorous, affectionate with a good character.

– My mom is planning to get me married within our caste.

– Adding to the confusion, my batchmate has proposed to me so should I accept his proposal? 

– Did I tell you about Raghu?
Well, he is a mechanical engineering graduate from Calcutta.

– We met in the virtual world preset in front of us. Can people who have met online be true to each other?

– Ugh, our feelings escalated to a high level but we got separated. Um, chuck that.

– Will I be able to win back my first love?

– But before I could do that, we parted our own ways.

– What shall I respond to my batchmate?

– Yay! I have passed my JRF exam and got admission to study at Stanford University. Will I get married or will I pursue my studies?

REVIEW

You are irreplaceable is journey of Mehana from her teens to her youth.
Mehana finds her diary of 2014 from her sister’s books and soon after she recieves a marriage proposal from one of her classmates and she is not sure whether to accept it or not. The diary revives her old memories about Raghu, her FB friend and teenage crush whom she could never get over.
First of all, I fell in love with the monochrometic cover of the book. It has a calming appeal.
The story is a ususal chic-lit plot and everyone who grew up in last decade can relate to it. Mehana’s journey from Facebook messenger to whatsapp to google plus, Instagram and blogs is something that most of us can relate to. It has innocence and confusion of a growing teenager. The author has narrated it beautifully. Mehana’s character is quite relatable. She will bring a smile on your face sometime and leave you nostalgic about your school days at other.
What Irks me is the wobbly timeline switch that sometimes confuse you. The book needs a tight editing in terms of content and language.
Other than that the journey of Mehana is a joyous one time read.

RATING

3/5 stars

RECOMMENDATION:

An easy, breezy one time read. YA lovers will particularly enjoy it.

Book Review 98: BEYOND THE CREDENCE by MANHAR SHARMA

LANGUAGE: English

GENRE: Fiction

PUBLISHER : Rumours books India

FORMAT: Kindle

PAGES: 84

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Apeksha—young, confident, meritorious, with a liberal upbringing—is on the verge of finishing her schooling from one of the best institutes in Delhi. She wants to explore a career in the Vedas and ancient Indian literature. But, her father, a strict, high-ranking official in a Bank does not want his daughter to ruin her future. Nupur, her sister, and her friend vikas, support her, but can’t do so all the time. But apeksha is not the one to give up so easily, and finds ways to pursue her dreams without informing anybody initially. But with the time for her college admission drawing near, she is in a huge dilemma. She does not want to disappoint her father, yet doesn’t want to give up on her dreams. Will her conviction and hard work pay off to make some miracle happen?

REVIEW

Beyond the Credence is the story of Apeksha, a young girls, at the threshold of her career, determined to pursue Vedic education. It is about the challenges she faces to pursue her career choice, unsupportive family, hardly any institutes imparting Vedic education and if there are any, those are meant for boys only but Apeksha is determined.
How she manages to overcome these hurdles forms the basis of the story.
In context to today’s world, the story has a unique plot. Sadly, the ancient knowledge and traditions are forgotten and rather thought of as useless. Book high lites this fact effectively what the basis of today’s education system is. In that sense the book is thought provoking. Today when the world is fighting Covid19, you never know if these ancient books have a remedy to that too. Vedas and Vedantas are a way of life that we have completely ignoring. The book highlights that today knowledge of Vedas means learning Sanskrit or Yoga.
The pace of the book is medium and it takes time to settle with the storyline.
The title and cover piques curiosity and leave an impact.
The narration and editing needs little more polishing.
Language is simple and effective.
Overall the book is a good for thought, a nice one time read. .

RATING 🌟🌟🌟/5 stars