Sunday, March 30, 2014

The Other Side - Book Review

The Other Side
By Faraaz Kazi & Vivek Banerjee
Review By Ila Garg

The book comprising of 13 remarkably thrilling short stories, The Other Side, has been published by Mahaveer Publishers. All the thirteen stories are very well written and deal with the various different forms of horror; all knit by a common thread ‘The fear of unknown’.

The book is adorned with a gripping cover page. It is not at all misleading. I found it innovative and screaming to be picked up and read! Indeed a simple yet captivating cover idea. The font used for the title of the book is in itself so compelling that one would pick up the book. The title is tempting too.

“We make up horrors to help us cope with the real ones.”
-          Stephen King

The blurb reads as, ‘A slow rasping sound made me turn. I jumped back, the cell phone leaving my hands and smashing against the concrete floor. Someone was seated on the chair, rocking back and forth. Through the fallen light, I could see those hands placed on the arms of the chair, two gruesome wrinkled limbs with ugly boils plastered over the black skin. The red bangles on its wrists shone in my eyes, momentarily blinding me. That thing and I call it a thing because I could sense it wasn't human as no human could have such a hideous form, as vile an existence as the one seated opposite to my horrified self.

From a honeymoon in the hill that goes horribly wrong to an obsessed lover who wants his first love in life and in death; From a mentally deranged man who collects body parts of various women to stitch together his dream girl to a skeptic who enters a mansion of horrors to win a bet and much more, this book is filled with scenarios that are guaranteed to give you goose bumps and sleepless nights.

'The Other Side' is a collection of thirteen tales of the paranormal; a world that our eyes refuse to see, our ears deny hearing and our senses ignore the feel of. This is a book for someone who is brave enough to take up this invitation to journey through uncharted waters along with the authors, who were inspired by some bizarre experiences to pen down this work where the lines of reality have been blurred by the footsteps of imagination.

Each story takes you on a tour de force of unadulterated horror and draws upon the deepest fear in the human mind- the fear of the UNKNOWN!’

Faraaz Kazi and Vivek Banarjee, the authors of the book, team up to pen down an anthology of short stories of a different genre, mainly horror fiction mixed with brutality and/or benevolence at times. The book consists of thirteen tales that are mostly based on paranormal theme and creepy settings. All the stories are independent with a plot of their own and are not related to each other in any way. The narration and dialogues form the USP. Both of them have done a commendable job in keeping the reader interest maintained throughout and wanting for more!

Starting with an aptly written foreword by Faraaz Kazi, the book engulfs you within with a Prelude. It takes you along into this journey to ‘The Other Side’… Dare to Visit Alone?

My personal favourites: 
  • The Long Weekend
  • The Muse Comes Calling 
  • A Mother’s Love
  • Possession

Next, let’s talk about the 13 well-knit stories one by one. Each begins with a quote or some lines from some famous personalities, enhancing the feel of the approaching stories. Also, each of them has a sketch accompanying it, depicting a scene out of the story. In short, both authors have managed to put forward a nicely compiled book for the readers.

“Sometimes the hardest journeys are the ones that begin with little hope. But we need to take them anyway.”
-          Richard Finney
  1. THAT FATEFUL NIGHT: This is a very light story. Quite predictable and deals with the good side of spirits. The language is simple, engrossing, clearly a perfect story to start the anthology with. Quoting from the story, “The first thing I felt was that there was no light around. I say ‘felt’ because I was keeping an eye on the old man who was near the huge door. Lavanya wrapped an arm around mine despite her anger. I could tell she didn’t like the place.”
  2. THE LONG WEEKEND: This story is mind - blowing, I really enjoyed the chills that it gave me. The plot is serious, horror is instilled within. The language is equally serious, though engaging, and it takes you to the scene as the characters sit around the Ouija Board. Quoting from the story, “Tanya went on and on and suddenly stiffened. She whispered, “Someone is here. I feel it in my bones.” She then addressed to no one in particular. “Are you here? Have you come?” Shikha was shocked to feel the coin move, dragging the three fingers that were touching it to the YES.”  
  3. THE MAN WHO DID NOT FEAR: Very, very, predictable as I had earlier read a similar story in ‘Shades of Sin’ yet a nice story. The story was titled ‘The Bet’ by Vivek Banerjee. Although necessary twists have been made here but I felt the same essence. Quoting from the story, “Nirbhay’s heart hammered in his chest but the fear soon gave way to something inexplicable when he looked in the eyes of the girl.”
  4. STRANGERS IN THE NIGHT: Two strangers, one night, a romantic setting, and yet a sense of fear lurking around! That’s because the fear of unknown never leaves us even for a moment. The climax will leave the readers in utter disbelief. Quoting from the story, “A huge wave crashed ashore, taking with it their discarded attire. It was followed by the mournful howl of a wolf that nobody heard on the deserted beach.”
  5. THE MUSE COMES CALLING: A clearly engaging story for the writers and readers. It reflects on the dark side of spirits. The paranormal is highlighted here. I am sure it will intrigue all the readers. Quoting from the story, “Suddenly, the tape stopped, a cold sensation rose in his bowels, crawling upwards making him shudder. Something seized his mind, freezing his thoughts to a succinct absorbing standstill and then the feeling dissipated just as quickly as it had taken over him.
  6. THE LADY IN THE PUB: Nice plot. Starting was gripping. Pace was well maintained too. A little more mystery could have been added though. Quoting from the story, “As I finally managed to stand up on my wobbling feet, I turned to ask Aarusha’s mother one final question. My rickety feet gave away and I fell down again. There was no one behind me.

“You see, the strangeness of my case is that now I no longer fear the invisible, I’m terrified by reality.”
-          Jean Lorrain

  1. A MOTHER’S LOVE: A story written with a deep emotional appeal. It actually made me smile and cry at the same time. It was not laced with hard core horror but on the contrary, it was just a light narrative. Simple, easy to understand language. Quoting from the story, “She cried and cried, her body shaking vigorously setting the swing in motion again and the tears trickled down her cheeks, raining on the grass where they blended with the dew. Suddenly, she felt a touch on her shoulder that broke the spell.
  2. RED BANGLES: A spine chilling story of a man, whose silent and unrequited love for a woman turns into a dangerous obsession, turning into horror! The ending left me in a gape. Even the pace is kept sooth for the readers. Quoting from the story, “Something stirred, I could see the shadowy figure lift its head and all of a sudden it turned towards me. I staggered back and fell onto the floor; the vase went crashing out of my hands. The bones in my body started chattering against each other, their jitters strangely sounded similar to the clinging of bangles.
  3. THE MARK OF THE BEAST: I liked this story. Also, from here on the anthology starts getting in its real form. Earlier than this, it was only light horror which was ruling the book, but the essential flavour begins emerging from here. This story also made me a little sad. You will know the reason once you read it. Quoting from the story, “The tent was flapping and shaking in the wind while frequent flashes of lightening shone through the fabric. She thought she saw the lightening illuminate a large shadow near their tent. She blinked and it was gone.
  4. THE MYSTERY LAKE: A history repeats itself kind of story! It gets slightly boring, I almost browsed through it. Otherwise it was a good narration. Quoting from the story, “Vikram had already discovered a few skulls and a bone on the edge of the lake above the black coloured rocks and the team was clustering around them, jabbering excitedly.”
  5. POSSESSION: This left me in utter shock. I was tongue - tied and out rightly appalled by its plot and narration. I had goose bumps by the time I reached the end. A well written story of demonic spirits and is as gripping as The Exorcist or the likes of it. Quoting from the story, “She would see shadows following her whenever she used to go upstairs. Once she could swear she had seen the table move on its own in the kids’ room.
  6. UNFULFILLED DESIRES: An investigatory tale to help the ghost of a girl who is believed to have committed suicide. A marvel work that keeps you hooked till the end and you journey with the doctor to unveil the finer details. Quoting from the story, “The first thing that his senses took in was the complete absence of any kind of noise. A shroud of silence covered the area. Forget the people; Rajiv could not make out the presence of any bird or insects. He could not spot even a stray dog around.
  7. DREAM GIRL: A perfect ending for this anthology comes in the form of this story! A creepy story about a young man who collects beautiful body pieces of women to create his own dream girl. A story that makes you cringe and angry. It aggravates your senses! Quoting from the story, “I cast an appreciative glance at my creation, making my heart brim with joy. Unlike other men, I start admiring a woman’s body from below.

“No, I’m not a dream; I’m your worst nightmare.”
-          C.T. Todd

The authors have played well with the plotline for some of the short stories – they start on a theme that makes the story seem like the “same old’ ghost story” but then as you read the last page, a sudden twist breaks the reverie. This is quite good since the stories come out to be a witty combination of the expected as well as the unexpected. While for some stories this element of surprise in the end is their only redeeming point, for others the plotline just didn’t seem to work. The good part was since it was a collection of short stories, we can always move on to the next one within a few pages even if the previous one disappoints. The best and most innovative thing I found in this book is the prelude and epilogue... where the authors themselves become the characters. Overall, it qualifies as a nice anthology especially for the readers who enjoy such creepy stuff and tales of the paranormal world!

Rating: 3.5/5

Buying Links: Amazon Kindle | Ebay | Flipkart | Homeshop18 | Infibeam

This (Unbiased) book review is a part of "The Readers Cosmos Book Review Program". To get free books log on to Thanks Nimi Vashi for giving me the opportunity to read such a nice book!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

The Temple of Avinasi (Part 1) - Book Review

The Temple of Avinasi: The Legend of the Kalki
By Ayush Pathak
Review By Ila Garg

The Temple of Avinasi, a gripping and thrilling narrative by the writer Ayush Pathak is published by Frog Books (an imprint of Leadstart Publishing Pvt Ltd). The paper and print quality show that it is a publication house that we should keep an eye on. The cover is eye pleasing and hooks the readers. This is the first part of the six book long series and is named “The Temple of Avinasi: The Legend of Kalki”. The title and the cover arouse the interest and curiosity of the readers.

The author, Ayush Pathak is an Electrical Engineer from BIET Jhansi and presently residing in Nasik, Maharashtra. Having spent his entire childhood in listening and dreaming about mythological tales, Epic Fantasy engulfed his imagination. The Temple of Avinasi is thus his novel falling under the same genre.

His debut novel was published by Mahaveer Publishers, titled Bounded In Chains-- I thought of my own Kingdom’.

The blurb reads as “From the ashes of Epic Wars shall the great Lord of Dark rise, So terrible his wrath, every protestor shall demise…

Ripped apart would be the Shield and the protecting forces, A whole world shall fall, mortal or otherwise…

A heroic tale timed in modern age — a battle of existence between evil and the good, bred on the ashes of the four thousand year old legendry Epic Wars. The ‘Immortal Protectors’ of the Temple are finding it hard to maintain control over a new rising evil power, far greater in magnitude than the previous war.

The Shield that protects Earth from external attacks had stopped the invading Dark Seekers, also called Nishachars — a fled group from some distant dying planet — for long. Until four thousand years ago … when the shield was ruptured, and the entire mortal world turned on the edge of demolition. It was then the immortal protectors, the Light Seekers, more commonly known as Devs, along with the remaining army of mortals fought and drove back the combined army of Nishachars and Asurs, and restored the shield — but at a great price. The Nishachars retreated, and since then they have grown and redoubled their army several times, waiting for their prophesized Dark Lord to rise. The Devs, on the other hand, knowing that they won’t be able to stop the Great Dark Lord, if risen — formed a secret brotherhood named ‘The Temple of Avinasi’ and scattered themselves throughout the world. Their only feeble hope lies in an ancient legend named ‘Kalki’, the last prophesized Avatar of Vishnu… And unaware of all this, two fourteen year old boys are presently spending their time merrily together in the mortal world, innocently oblivious to the fact, that how much changed their destinies are from what it seems, and how much the world’s fate is dependent on them...”

This is a book of fantasy fiction built on the tenth reincarnation of Lord Vishnu. It is a book, which is not exactly belonging to mythology, but it comprises more of fantasy. The characters are taken in parts from the Hindu mythology. The Dev-Asur war or the war between the good and evil forces with the humans being involved in the midst of it serves as the backdrop. The writer did a wonderful job with his choice of words in this book, The Temple of Avinasi (Part 1).

His writing style isn’t very difficult to decipher. The simple language is perhaps the USP here. Readers won’t find it too complex in terms of comprehension and can enjoy every page of this page-turner marvel! He has kept the pace comfortable and the interest is well maintained too.

I found the beginning of the story very tasteful. It began with Shri, an immortal, Dev, or a Light-Seeker. He is in search of a dangerous weapon hidden inside the Asura Palace. His aim is to safeguard the human race or Nashwars. Gradually the story started taking twists and turns. I liked how the introduction of Yeti took place and the initial conversations between him and Angel was well created too.

Every word is so well knit in the story that nowhere can a reader feel disconnected with the plot. The story in a nutshell, is about long lasting battles between the good and evil, angels and demons, dev and asura. This also is the main crux of the book. Scenes at the Dark Fort create a lot of excitement and compel you to read in a go.

The author has good narrative skills. Even the last chapter where the author has just given a synopsis on the 2nd book is wonderfully penned down that it does not look like an incomplete story but a complete book. The writing style of this writer is so compelling that you find it difficult to put down this book without reaching the end.

The 389 page book takes you along with it and makes your heart beat faster at times while slower at other times. He has focused on Love as the eternal bonding of life and the search for survival. It is the perfect blend of mythology and fantasy and mystery.

The forces of Good and Evil standing against each other is one of the many reasons you want to keep turning the pages to find out what happens in The Temple of Avinashi. To find out whether Good prevails over Evil, what happens to Shri, is Shri successful in his mission, who is Angel, how the Light-Seekers save the human race against the Nishachars, what happens in the Dark Fort; you will have to read the novel, The Temple of Avinashi.

I personally feel that this novel has given a good start to his writing career. I recommend this book to all readers, irrespective of their age. The story line kept me glued till the end; there is definitely a scope for sequels which I am looking forward to. Some of the philosophies and sayings of Lord Krishna are also mentioned in the book, clearly indicating that the writer has well researched too.

He has promised it to be a 6 book series, however am not sure if it is such a good idea, since creating Harry Potter in India is still a much ambitious project. His theory about life is - A life which begins with a dream, ends with success. Wishing him the best for his future ventures!

Ratings: 4/5

Buy it here.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

An Interview with Manjiri Prabhu :)

Author of 'The Cosmic Clues' and 'The Astral Alibi' (Bantam Dell, USA) and 'The Cavansite Conspiracy' (Rupa Publications).  Also, 'The Gypsies at Noelle's Retreat' - coming soon. . .

Here she lets her readers know a little more about herself and her journey so far:

1. How did The Cosmic Clues happen?

‘The Cosmic Clues’ was bound to happen, one day or the other, simply because of my love for mystery stories and because of the atmosphere of Astrology in my house. 

My mother, Shobha Prabhu—a noted Astrologer—taught us all the basics of Astrology. Since childhood, we—my family—have been using Astrology to solve domestic problems like locating lost articles, missing animals or even guessing exam results and later solving professional problems. Astrology has always been advocated in our house, by my mother, as a guide. 

Also, I saw some of my mother’s startling predictions coming true—like disclosing illegitimate children or predicting political campaigns/ elections and on an international scene even predicting royal divorces. It made me realize that the horoscope, if studied well, is a base and an X-ray of a person’s past, present and future. And that the potential of this magnificent science had been untapped, for whatever reason.  

But it was only a few years ago, when I was writing a script for a Hindi feature film, that the idea for ‘The Cosmic Clues’ really struck. I realized that I could combine Astrology with crime. Being a voracious reader, I had never come across such a literary combination and realized that perhaps no one had handled crime with Astrology before. The added advantage was the ready-made research I got from my mother. The fascination for Astrology as a problem solver and a science which can plunge deep into people’s secrets and reveal them, made it a perfect tool for crime-solving in a novel.

2. How do you envision your book will impact your readers?

My book, although a mystery novel on the face of it, is actually a novel on relationships, and touches some core social issues in a subtle manner. I hope that it will create a rippling effect and trigger thought processes which would help understand life better.

3. What made you want to become a writer?

Good books that I devoured as a child: my wild imagination and my capacity to lose myself in daydreaming; my need to express myself and a need to create magical worlds that I could control, also my desire to see happy endings on stories and finally the need to create happy memories in the lives of readers. . .The craving to create memorable characters, a world which is entirely mine but which will grow beyond me and last beyond me.  Ultimately a human being lives on in the form of memories which are passed on from generation to generation. I would love to create a world which would create similar warm memories in the minds of the readers. If the readers would allow my characters into their hearts, and if my novels could live on, side-by-side with their own real-life, personal memories, I would feel honoured and blessed. This thought gives me a sense of satisfaction and prods me to write more.

4. How do you make sure the information used in your books is accurate and up-to-date?

Research is extremely important in a novel. There is no alternative to correct and factual information and I take utmost care to ensure the authenticity of the research I use. The Astrological references used in the stories are authentic, meaning the horoscopes and planetary positions depicted are plausible and realistic. There could be real persons existing somewhere with those exact horoscopes with similar traits. Though none of the stories are based on or borrowed from any real life incidence. The resemblance if any is purely coincidental and unintentional. 

5. Tell us something about your book?

‘‘The Cosmic Clues’ is a novel in the Mystery/Detective genre and has some unique features in the Indian literary context :  It is the first novel with a lady detective. The style that the detective Sonia Samarth uses to solve the mysteries and for her criminal investigations is based on authentic Indian Vedic Astrology. She uses horoscopes of the persons involved, but she also takes help of traditional investigative methods of direct and circumstantial evidence, eye witnesses and the likes. 

Each chapter has almost a new story with many new characters, but has a common thread of an ongoing main plot with Sonia, her Assistant Jatin and a few other characters. In that, it is an interweaving of several distinct stories within a main storyline in an episodic manner. 

The first thing that I can most easily admit about “The Cosmic Clues” is that writing this book was one of the most difficult things I ever did. I started off thinking, “Oh well, they are short stories!”. But before I knew it, the characters and stories had taken over, so that each short story became, in terms of plot and length, a mini-novel. The stories gathered together, like in a TV serial. There were plots within plots and everything just grew into something so much more huge and exciting, than I actually anticipated. That’s why I like to call my book a serialized novel.

6. How and why you decided to publish your book through Jaico Publishing House?

‘The Cosmic Clues’ was first published in 2004 by Bantam (Random House, USA) and was chosen as a ‘Killer Book’ by the Independent Mystery Booksellers Association of America. Jaico Publishing has re-published and reintroduced the book to India and the world. Firstly, Jaico is one of the oldest publishing houses in India. They have strength and network and they are wonderful people to work with. I couldn’t have asked for a better publishing house to relaunch the novel in India. 

7. Name some of the writers whom you look up to and why?

I mainly write Romantic Suspense. So both Romance and Suspense play an important part in my writing. As a child, the first influence was undoubtedly of Enid Blyton. In fact I still read the Five Find Outers and Famous Five. I loved their world to the point of wanting to create one for myself through my own works. You could say that it was Enid Blyton who pushed me towards writing. This was my first introduction to mystery writing.  Later Jane Austen, who I think is simply great with her super understanding of human nature and romance – was my first introduction to writing romance. Then Agatha Christie, the ‘Queen of crime’ who unknowingly taught me the craft of mystery-writing and creating intricate plots. And Wilkie Collins – also great plots. Victoria Holt with her romantic suspense and Daphne Du Maurier. I guess the list kept growing as I grew up! 

8. Describe yourself as a writer.

Emotional, involved and intense. I consider myself blessed to be chosen as a channel by the universe for creating something that is destined to be born. . . Writing for me is meditation, a cardinal passion and an insatiable need, which keeps growing. I love being surrounded by my characters and interacting with them. Reality for me is what I create. I feel wonderful and alive with my characters and often when a book ends, the feeling is heady and exciting but also sad. Parting with the characters is not always a pleasant affair.

9. What’s the biggest mistake new writers make according to you?

I don’t know if they make mistakes, but I do think that developing your own style is very important – whether you write a mystery,  a campus story, or a college love story from real experience. 

Secondly I think a big myth is the idea that writing a novel is easy. . .and that anybody can do it! Or the feeling that if so-and-so can do it, why not me? Writing a novel is not about competition. It is not about trying to do better than the other. It is about passion, about the need to want to convey something. It is serious business. Treat it like one. 

10. Any specific tips you have for newbie Authors who want to make it in the publishing Industry?

Write, write and write till you can really claim ownership of your work! Write for yourself first, so that when you look back at your work, you will love it and appreciate it. Appreciation from others will then follow. . . Do not write with a commercial approach and simply for material gains and fame. Write because you want to say something, because you have something for the world, you want to give a message or describe a unique thought or feeling.  That’s where the potential success of your work lies.

11. How do you take criticism?

Criticism is of three kinds. 
1) That which comes from an in-depth understanding of literature and the craft, 
2)  That which comes from skimming through a book and wanting to make a point for the sake of it, 
3) That which emerges from a passion for reading. 

I would seriously consider criticism that comes from a connoisseur, would ignore the superficial one and would embrace the spontaneity of the passionate reader. 

12. What are your future plans?

‘The Cosmic Clues’ could be turned into a film and I hope to be associated with it. I also plan to write as much as I can. The sequel of ‘The Cosmic Clues’ is already ready and is titled ‘The Astral Alibi’. Also published earlier by Bantam Dell and I hope to launch it as soon as possible. I have started the Pune International Literary Festival which will now take place every year. So I shall be busy dividing my time between these activities. 

13. What’s the best thing a writer can give to his readers?

An honest and best effort on his or her part. A complete finished product which would leave no scope for complaints. 

14. What is your least favourite part of the writing process?

The beginning. The first word, the first line and the fear of it not happening the way I want it to. . .

15. What motivates you most in life?

Life in itself and its mysteries is a huge inspiration. The many unanswered questions, the twists and turns, the unpredictable and the unexpected, the enigma – everything to do with life is a full-on inspiration to write. Other than these, walking and lots of it, then music, reading, watching films, free-style dancing, playing with my dogs, interacting with my family and friends and lastly, whenever possible, travelling recharge me for my professional and personal endeavours. 

16. What genre do you particularly like?

Mystery and Suspense laced with romance. 

17. Are you a judgmental person, do you prefer to take sides instead of standing neutral while writing?

I cannot stay neutral while writing. I am balanced. I know all the sides of all the characters, although they tend to sometimes surprise me.  I know where the story is headed, which means that I know which message has to go out. So, even though as a writer I may appear to be neutral, a stand has already been taken and the novel is already headed in that particular direction. 

18. What are your views on co-authoring? Any author or newbie you would like to co-author with?

Writing is a process done in isolation, in the company of one’s own imagination. To work with another writer, you have to be perfectly tuned, you need to share the same vision and ambition for the story you are co-writing, and your writing spurts and writing blocks need to balance out. If I ever find an author who fits this equation, I certainly wouldn’t mind, giving it a shot. But as for writing Film and TV scripts & Screenplays, as well as some kind of non-fiction work, I can definitely give co-authoring a serious thought. 

19. What was your biggest inspiration behind this book?

My mother and her perfect and startling predictions. And my office cat Rambha.


Sonia Samarth couldn't have predicted it--after only a day, her first advertisement had drawn dozens of responses. In the bustling city of Pune, India, with its winding alleys and exotic customs, Sonia is launching a brand new business: private investigation--using Hindu astrology as a crime-solving tool. In an ancient city steeped in tradition, Sonia's unique brand of investigation is raising eyebrows. But she seems to have found a niche--and, before long, a case of murder.

When a cat leads Sonia to her very first investigation, she quickly unmasks a killer, using astrology as her guide. Suddenly clients begin streaming in: a persistent, handsome TV personality; a terrified bride-to-be; a missing husband with suicidal tendencies...all challenge Sonia's astrological abilities to prevent a crime. All apparently isolated experiences, but bound by an invisible thread. And while Sonia has stellar success in unraveling the truth, very soon she'll have to look closely at her own stars. Because the most notorious international criminal has just crossed Sonia's path--and he has his own plans for her future!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

That Soulful Love

There was a blind girl who hated herself just because she was blind. She hated everyone, except her loving boyfriend. He was always there for her. She said that if she could only see the world, she would marry her boyfriend.

One day, someone donated a pair of eyes to her and then she could see everything, including her boyfriend. Her boyfriend asked her, “now that you can see the world, will you marry me?”

The girl was shocked when she saw that her boyfriend was blind too, and refused to marry him. Her boyfriend walked away in tears, and later wrote a letter to her saying:

“Just take care of my eyes dear.”

A girl and guy were speeding over 100 mph on a motorcycle)
Girl: Slow down. I'm scared.
Guy: No this is fun.
Girl: No its not. Please, its too scary!
Guy: Then tell me you love me.
Girl: Fine, I love you. Slow down!
Guy: Now give me a BIG hug. (Girl hugs him)
Guy: Can you take my helmet off and put it on? Its bugging me.
Girl: Okay. Now please slow down!

In the paper the next day: A motorcycle had crashed into a building
because of break failure. Two people were on the motorcycle, but only one survived.

The truth was that halfway down the road, the guy realized that his breaks broke, but he didn't want to let the girl know. Instead, he had her say she loved him, felt her hug one last time, then had her wear his helmet so she would live even though it meant he would die.

"You promised to love me, to take care.
Now don't break my heart, stay near!"

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Moonlit Matinee - Reviews

Book Reviews of Moonlit Matinee by prolific bloggers:-

(1) Himani Gupta - It is a worth reading Anthology with mixture of stories and poems. All the authors have wonderfully contributed in the book.
Ratings - 4 Stars 

(2) Sandeep Sharma - I loved the story and the concept. Writing style is also very good.
Ratings - 4.5 Stars for Ehsaas- The Feeling & The Lyrics of Lavish Rain and 4 Stars for the Rosemary Letters and 3.5 to 3 for rest of the stories

(3) "With its beautiful cover design and least typo errors, I loved moonlit matinee and love takes over...Giving it 3.5/5 !" says Abhishek Sharma, a prolific blogger.

(4) Priyanka Batra Harjai - The fourteen stories are presented like fourteen flavors of the dish called – ‘Love’. Every single story is dipped in romance promising you different flavors such as passion, heartbreak, attraction, respect and much more.
Ratings - 4.5 Stars 

(5) Ammu S Nair - The 14 stories are on different facets of love and it has nice romantic touch to the book.
Ratings - 3.5 Stars

(6) Meghant Parmar - The anthology has a lot of feel and passion in it. The thoughts have been expressed beautifully. The desire to hit the right chord can be seen from many narratives. The experimentation with adding sonnet adds to the beauty of the book. The narration tempo has been maintained in all the stories and editing has been done with a lot of care and taste.
Ratings - 3 Stars

(7) Sharanya Bhattacharya - “Moonlit Matinee- and love takes over”, the name itself seems very appealing to all the people who even have a look at the cover. An amalgamation of 14 stories by 13 handpicked authors makes this book a worth read.
Ratings - 3.5 Stars

Purchase Link:-

Sunday, March 9, 2014

It's All About 'YOU' - Book Review

It’s All About ‘YOU’
By Prakhar Porwal & Ahona Das
Review By Ila Garg

The anthology comprising of 15 short stories, It’s All About ‘YOU’, has been published by Power Publishers. Let’s start with the cover. It’s a simple one. However, I flipped it a lot many times to search for the publisher’s logo or name, but I found nothing. No mention of publisher is made at all. Also, it’s not mentioned whether Prakhar and Ahona are editors or compilers of the work. In addition, it’s not clear from the cover that whether it is a novel or an anthology. 

Next, let’s talk about the 15 stories one by one. As I personally feel that without talking about each story individually, the review wouldn’t be complete and it wouldn’t be a justified review of this anthology. I don’t want anyone to feel left out, so here you go:

1. EXCUSE ME? by Prakhar Porwal: This is a story of Amanpreet Kaur, a typical Punjabi girl at heart. I didn’t like the way it started. I also felt the story was too fast paced, yet I liked the plot. I feel if the author could work a little more on its narration and the flow, it would be having a much better impact on the readers.

2. LOVE AT FIRST VOICE by Prakhar Porwal: This story is nicely written. It has a very sombre ending. The language is equally serious, though engaging, and it somehow makes you one with the character. A little clichéd plot, yet I liked the way the author has scribbled emotions into it. 

3. A LUCKNOVITE OPERETTA by Anush Ghosh: This story moves Aamir and Yasmina. How destiny makes them bump into each other and how they fell in love and expressed it. The narration and flow is nice. However, this story lacks in its plot.

4. A PATCH UP PARTY by Pritam Ghosh: This story is about the two friends who reunited after five six years. Time changes everything, including people - is the main theme here. A story written with a deep emotional touch.

5. A RAIN OF LOVE by Prakhar Porwal: Nice story, very illustrative. Narration is tasteful, so is the beginning. Liked the way the author has instilled emotions into the plot and kept the language simple & engaging.  

6. BEING UGLY ISN’T A CRIME by Rounak R Nayak: This story could have been so much better. The plot is good but it should have been more explanatory. A lot of questions remain unanswered like what happened between Niharika and Angad that made her choose him over Angad, despite of his ugly looks. 

7. ‘HAPPY’ VALENTINE’S DAY by Ahona Das: Ah! Perhaps the shortest one. Actually it looked more of an article to me, rather than a short story. Just 2 sides of the paper. I liked it because of its content and the title. But as a story it didn’t appeal much to me.

8. I AM A KILLER by Akash Srivastava: An in and out love story! Simple, easy to understand language. A story that moves to and fro in past and present. Even the pace is kept smooth for the readers. 

9. I AM AN ENGINEER by Pritam Ghosh: A nice narrative. It began a little vaguely but it managed to reach a good end. This author has potential, though needs to work on the descriptive part of a story and not only focus on narrating. 

10. MY ULTIMATE DESTINATION by Zainab Sabir: Amm… This story had a good plot. Narration was nice. Language is also reader friendly. A little more could have been added, though. 

11. THE ALARM BUZZER by Akash Srivastava: The ending was abrupt, though I liked the story. The title however fails to connect with the plot much. It was a totally dramatic story overall. 

12. THE FIRST LOVE by Abhishek Sharma: One of the best stories perhaps in the whole anthology. I liked how it moved from the beginning to the end. The poem is gripping too. Aptly narrated story that I enjoyed reading.

13. THE GEEKY GIRL by Rounak R Nayak: A well narrated piece of writing. The descriptions were done nicely too. The setting was perfectly elaborated. I found it well knit from beginning to end.

14. THE GIRL BEHIND THE COUNTER by Raghu Ravi: My My.... what an amazement!! This one is plagiarised as per sources. "A direct copy of a story with the same title written by another author in the more popular anthology 'love Stories That Touched My Heart', edited by Ravinder Singh."

15. AAJ BOHOT DINO BAAD by Ahona Das: A Hindi poetry to end with! I liked this poem for its emotional appeal. Ahona manages to get the right words to connect the hearts of the readers with this work of art.

Overall, a nice anthology with some newbie contributors! I liked the stories towards the end more than the stories that this anthology began with. I would also like to add that the book has plenty of hiccups; found a lot of punctuation errors, grammatical mistakes, spelling mistakes, etc. It seemed no editing or even proofreading or the typeset too for that matter is done before printing. The stories felt very raw, as if just hand picked and arranged one after the other without even realising that in an anthology sequence matters too. Some of them cannot even be categorized as stories; they felt more of articles, blog posts, and what not! I found the work a little immature. All the contributors seemed to have talent, however they lack in execution. Wishing good luck to all of you for future endeavours.

Rating: 0.5/5 (Mostly because of Story No. 14)

Thank you to the readers for letting me know about it. xoxo

Friday, March 7, 2014

Life and Promises - Reviews

FIRST EDITION                                                                                       SECOND EDITION

1) Review By Himani Gupta -

2) Review By Meghant Parmar -

3) Review By Dipti Pathare - 

6) Reviews by various eminent authors -

Explore more about Life and Promises with me and Pulkit Gupta through our interviews:

2) Sparktimes A Rachit BhushanCompany -