Author Archives: ishabooksta

Book Review: Gamed – Will Love Find Me? by Kaveri Bhar

This is a romance cum relationship novel. Gamed means manipulation. So, the title of the novel is apt according to my reading experience. Well, who is gamed in the novel? Let’s get a bit inside the story. As per the author’s claim, this is the first book in the Gamed trilogy. Two are yet to be written. The story is about Kristina. She was in love with Smith in her hometown. But within six months of marriage, Smith moves out to the UK for an onsite job offer. Kristina waits for him. She thinks of love and nights they shared together. The novel moves at a leisurely pace, Kristina takes time to evolve as a lead character.

For a change in life and time, she moves away from her hometown to get her third job. There she stumbles upon Craig, a man from her office, basically at a senior level. They talk, go on a business trip, and so on. They gel well. Craig has crush upon her, but she is lost in Smith, basically her past life. It’s been over two years that Smith doesn’t give her proper response. He calls her to the UK and urges her to do a job search there. She dislikes the idea. Slowly, long distance relationship turns sour for them and Kristina is caught between the crosswire. She likes Craig, but he is already married.

How can Smith leaves Kristina behind when they had decided to remain together at the time of marriage? Who is wrong in pursuit? Is Kristina capable of forgetting her pleasant past with Smith to ultimately choose Craig? There are many questions that form up while reading this beautiful novel that delves deep inside the marriage life a couple.

The story perfectly sums up the plight of a young woman left behind by her husband. The sort of challenges and stigma she faces while going abreast in the society are well portrayed. But above all thing, it is Kristina’s resilient character that shines throughout the story.

The author has perfectly balanced the gamut of emotions as and now then Kristina shuttles between past and present. The novel doles out a strong message that getting into marriage and love may be easy, but carrying out all responsibilities that follow later is something that requires boldness and compassion.

The loneliness and solitude of Kristina is well captured, with passing time. Gamed – Will Love Find Me is a powerful novel with its solo stance and mixture of sub themes. A highly readable novel owing to lucid narration!

Book Review: Faith and the Beloved by Kochery C Shibu

Faith and the Beloved by Kochery C Shibu is a masterpiece in crime and thriller genre. I loved this book as soon as I reached midway. The story is about two families. Cherokil and Rollands – behind them they have lineage not to be so proud of. Since the start of the book, treachery and deception runs like a banality.

The main story of crime and thriller starts with Arun and Prem, and on the other hand Naithy and Tony. When Naithy loses her husband in Mumbai terror attack, Tony marries her. However, little did Naithy know that Tony, a handsome model from Canada, has Sri Lankan LTTE connection? She is devastated but too late to control things.

On the other hands, Rolland brothers Arun and Prem try to settle down in Mumbai. But soon Arun’s supari force them to flee away. They go to Delhi. Prem studies there and in between acts a tour guide. Arun continues with thievery and sex scandals. One night both brothers rape Naithy in Delhi. Soon Arun is killed in an encounter and Prem flees to North East and works in a hydro project.

The real story starts when Prem comes to know of his brother’s killing by the hand of a policeman, in that Naithy is involved. Thereafter Prem – also an erudite of hacking and Kalari – takes things in his hand. He kills the inspector in Delhi. Get caught but saved by a missionary priest.

Between Prem and Naithy, Alice gets sandwiched. Naithy’s second husband Tony is a sleeper unit of LTTE, working for its funding. But his character is somewhat dull and not so active, yet he drives the plot, and keeps the sizzling sex life of Naithy alive. In fact, Tony was a porn star cum model before marrying Naithy. Alice Cherokil, the daughter of Naithy, doesn’t like Tony for some unspoken reasons. She senses his malign intentions.

But the novel is not about enmity, it’s more about saving and caring for the family members. Prem is so fond of Arun, his elder brother, that he cares least for his life to seek revenge of his murder. On the other hand, Alice kills Tony and outpaces Prem and other mafia dons to save her mother in the last. As lot of hide and seek instills a high dose of thrill and suspense. I fell in love with Alice’s counteractions. She and her plans were driven from Bible – her faith.

There is a lot in this medium-length book that now I feel like reading more same crime novels. At any point, the novel is unpredictable, and when the stories of Prem and Alice and Tony runs backward, all things fall at one place, one by one. Things begin making sense. As the book starts, everything was different and not connected, as and when the story chugs ahead, I was nonplussed to see them confronting each other. It was a lovely experience. A great reading! I loved the book like anything.

Book Review: Skeins by Richa Gupta

‘Skeins’ by Richa Gupta is an interesting novel about sixteen women that take a trip to two European countries. The novel is more about staying together, developing bonding in the conducive environment, expressing secrets and regrets, and understanding each other’s concerns.

Except some, most of the women are unknown to each other. Thus, the trip acts as a trigger for bringing them together, possibly for lifetime.

As I began spending time with the novel, my only concern was, too, many characters. The story is not about one or two women. It’s a group of women. So to better understand this novel, you may need to make a list of all characters. Don’t worry! I will take you through them briefly.

  • Kakoli Desai – she is the tour guide. Like other women in the group, she too expresses her sad story, later on some women encourage her to find a life partner while on the trip. Will she get one?
  • Rehana – from Delhi, her husband has an extramarital affair with a young lady. What shocks and truth await her when she returns from the trip?
  • Harry – she is into restaurant business from Delhi, happy with husband and kids. Will she get some good recipe ideas from the trip?
  • Paddy – she is a famous writer settled in Delhi, always in search of more intense stories. Will she get a good story from the trip?
  • Sandra – a beautiful lady, she is a mistress of one rich guy in Mumbai. She is also involved in a smuggling racket. What would be her fate upon returning India?
  • Damini – she is into jewelry and diamond business. Can she help Sandra to overcome her financial adversity?
  • Rashmi – rich, carefree, and laced with singing talent. Can she be a famous singer post the trip?
  • Cathy – an HR professional with dull past, middle-class grooming, and single. Will she see some light that can enlighten her heart?
  • Varsha – returned from Canada after a failed marriage, lives with her old mother Anvita. Will she get a life partner again?
  • Anvita – the caring mother of Varsha!
  • Vidya – she is from Chennai, married and has two kids, lives in a joint family where she is treated like a slave. Can she fight for her identity and protect her children from a not-so-caring husband?
  • Leena – an old lady. Once she had a flourishing business, now worried about her daughter who is going abroad for a job. Can she pursued her daughter for not leaving her?
  • Deepti – her husband suffering from Alzheimer…she is extremely worried for him during the trip. Will he recover under her care when she returns home?
  • Naina – she is an old lady from Delhi and misses her past trips to Europe when she came with her husband. Will she be able to come back again with her husband?
  • Rupa – an old lady from Dubai, extremely lonely after the demise of her husband. Can she live happily with her two sons settled in different countries?
  • Kritika – an investment banker from Mumbai, highly successful but unmarried at 45. She has a long story in the novel, first with the smuggling racket, and then she meets Rehan Bose for a marriage purpose. Will she be successful in personal life as well?

From the list, there are some women who have more share of the story in the novel, and at one point of time they overwhelm the plot. For instance, Kritika is linked to Vidya’s secretive meeting with Prabha aunt in Chennai, and then into smuggling racket, and then she confronts Sandra in Mumbai for her involvement.

Next, Sandra’s heartbroken status was overdone during the trip. On the other hand, Rashmi totally overshadows her childhood friend Cathy. I strongly felt there was less coverage for old ladies like Leena, Naina, Deepti, and Rupa. However, the same goes for Harry and Paddy. In the end, Vidya’s sudden urge to revolt against her husband was interesting, but at the same also painful to see her submitting back to her daily insipid life.

The novel holds multi-narration, it sounds like a collection of women stories. Its intensity can be felt collectively. It makes up for a warm read. It’s a one good book that allows us to peek into the lives of others whom we do not cross or meet in every day life. But they may be around our homes and offices and we are oblivion to their concerns.

I think I have given too much about the story in the review. Hence, I conclude it by saying that I liked the novel and will look forward to read the author’s next book.

Book Review: Self-Publishing: Expectation vs Reality Nataraj Sasid

I have not been into writing books, but most of my blogger friends write and self-publish via KDP, and then we all pull socks to promote the book.

It is always good to read books that can help authors make their way from crowd to bestsellers. Because of technology and ease of publishing books in a matter of time, it has become easy to read books from the industry experts.

Nataraj Sasid in his new book advises authors on trends in self-publishing and marketing books. He shares some non-negotiable pointers for all authors, new and established alike:

  • Learn to write good stuff
  • Know-how about various publishing types
  • Why most authors fail with self-publishing
  • How to effectively market the book
  • Insights on types of digital publishing and how to get done the cover page using various tools
  • POD and Audio books

Who is Nataraj and Why We Should take his Advice?

He worked with many publishing houses and authors. He first hand saw them struggling and making fortunes. He learnt much about publishing industry, thus, to help authors, he came up with this pragmatic book.

What’s Special?

Nataraj writes as publishing and marketing a book is important than just being a good writer. He encourages the whole new lot by inserting motivational quotes from famous authors and others, one such is:

Success comes with experience…experience comes from failures…failures come from trying…so the more your try, the more you fail. The more you fail the more you get experience. And the more you get experience…You Will Succeed!

  • With traditional publisher, the approach takes time and they have limited money to spend on any book launch or marketing. Royalties are less, but they are genuine.
  • With self-publishing, all is great and high, except the sales of a book.
  • Book marketing is more of a marathon than a sprint. One needs to have relationships built, sharing good rapport with the audiences, and learning is an ongoing necessity.
  • The most important tip in the book is ‘don’t give up’.

Nataraj Sasid’s Self-Publishing: Expectation vs Reality is a useful, readable, and timely book for authors who publish and want to make big on their own. I found his thoughts and shared experience quite insightful. Hope you too find it useful!

Book Review: The Law of Capture by Joe Totten

How many different ways can the story of a Western gunman really be told? Joe Totten took that challenge and created the exceptional tale of a man that has had no fixed name in the vagaries of life.

The story follows the various accounts of Corky Vance as he travels out of home in search of fortune and freedom. As a fourteen-year-old lad, he goes to war, and returns at the age of sixteen. He doesn’t like the quite homely feelings at his own family ranch. He moves out to Texas and then the saga begins of cattle drive and run, brutal dry spells, dangerous creek crossings, hostile Indians, outlaws raids and so on.

More or less, the novel deals with a few men that are independent and brutal in their practices to survive in a best possible way. Joe balanced the narrative by offering tales of white men and natives with equal panache. The story covers the lead character Edward Valentine (his real name is Corky Vance) and his erratic odd jobs, ranging from scouting cattle to bank robbery to hired assassin and sheriff and detective with Pinkertons. Nevertheless, he had a few rules with the gun. What are those? What fate and glory life can promise to a lawless man? Delving deep into the novel will give readers an opportunity to know what it was like to be a rough and lone survivor amid the harsh territory and hostile tribes.

There isn’t much in the way of overarching plot or a central conflict, but it’s enjoyable nonetheless.  The readers will really experience all that an old West cattle trail had to offer in the first part; and pure lawless life of a gunman in the second.

The novel is largely written as a narrative, with little in the way of dialogue, so it’s not a quick read. It’s extremely well written though, and in a more authentic voice than many Westerns are. It actually reminded me of Lonesome Dove in terms of its writing style — which a compliment is about as high as can be given.