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Tips to become a succesful book blogger

No one has become a superstar blogger overnight.Recognition in blogosphere takes time and there are no short cuts for achieving instant success as a blogger.Read like there is no tomorrow and pen down your sincere thoughts in a lucid, organised and unpretentious manner.Your work will definitely get its due.

Blogadda-Quikr Shopping Fiesta: My Experience

It was like a slap on my face.Thankfully Arun was not there with me to witness by embarassement. I was all set to call him when some random piece of paper with a phone number written on it from my pocket caught my attention.

Book Review:Salvation Of a Saint

On the whole,’The Salvation Of Saint’ is a decent thriller.It may not be as racy as ‘The Devotion of Suspect X’,but still it’s a pretty good one.

Interview with Doctor-turned- Writer Deepal Kripal

Earlier this week,we chatted with Doctor-turned-Author,Deepak Kripal.He has authored 'The Devil's Tale:An impossible journey',published by Leadstart Publishers.In this candid interview,he tells us about his debut work,future plans,his journey as a writer and his other interests in life.

Private India: Book Review

On the whole,'Private India' by James Patterson and Ashwin Sanghi is a strictly average work.

November 18, 2018

QBR: Half Boyfriend By Judy Balan & Kishore Manohar


                                          Half Boyfriend by Judy Balan and Kishore Manohar
                                                           RT Rating: 2.6/5
                                                 Parody/Humour-Romance
                                           200+ pages, Bloomsbury (2016)

The Verdict:'Half Boyfriend' is a passable parody.It has it's moments but is not as funny as Judy Balan's '2 Fates'.
 
Synopsis:Blogger -turned- author Judy Balan rose to fame with her debut work- 2 Fates: the story of my divorce, which was a parody of Chetan Bhagat's '2 States:the story of my marriage'. 2 Fates was pretty funny and since the source material (2 States) was spoof-worthy, it worked big time! Half Boyfriend is Balan's attempt at parodying another work of Chetan Bhagat (Half Girlfriend).So we have our non-english speaking prince (Manav Jha) stalking the cosmopolitan Rhea Somany in the posh Delhi College.The Book tries to parody almost all the significant scenes from the original source material and tries to weave a story on it's own (more or less the same one ) in the process.

The Good: it starts off promisingly, the first act is quite funny and interesting, liked the idea of putting 'short version' of each chapter at the beginning,the overall mood of the book.


The Bad: After a point, the book gets monotonous, the writing gets dull ,the whole 'obama/London episode' is hardly funny, the jokes fall flat and it seems that the authors were just trying to fill in pages with uninspiring and random stuff.

RecommendationsBorrow it!


-nikhimenon

November 16, 2018

Book Review: The Girl In Room No 105 by Chetan Bhagat

             


              Well, Chetan Bhagats books are like Salman Khan films. They are obviously immune to any kind of reviews or criticism. No matter what you write or think about their works, they will invariably rake in the moola.

              First things first- The girl in Room No 105 (TGIR) is neither a  parody nor a rip off of Ruth Ware's "The Woman in ..."(which was no masterpiece by any stretch of imagination), infact the only similarity between the two works ends with the title. To be very frank, TGIR is far better than Bhagat's last two outings. Though it has all his usual cliches' in place (the loser IIT alumni hero, the ''liberal, super sexy heroine and their chance meeting at the IIT , to name a few ), this one is more of a crime thriller (pretty half baked one at that) with a few genuinely funny conversations thrown in between.

          Our protagonist is Keshav, the loser IIT guy who is now employed with 'Chandan classes', an IIT JEE tuition centre. His best buddy is Saurabh aka Golu who is also his colleague at ''Chandan'.One night, Keshav gets a call from his ex- girl friend inviting him to visit her at her hostel room. Keshav turns up there only to find her murdered.How Keshav along with his Watson (Saurabh) finds the mystery behind her murder is what the book is all about.

        As I mentioned before, TGIR is far better than any of Bhagat's recent works. Chetan has tried his hand in a new genre and has been able to come up with something half decent.The book undoubdtedly is a time pass read with the typical Chetan Bhagat elements in place. But that doesn't mean that it breaks any new grounds as far as the mystery thriller genre is concerned. If Bhagat's earlier protagonists were used to globe trotting for finding his (their) estranged girl friend(s),here Keshav is doing the same for finding her murderer.The suspense is pretty much predictable and the mystery is the 'kindergarten' variety and obviously there isn't much space for sense and logic in Bhagat's universe!

       Coming to the characters, Golu comes aross as a genuinely funny guy and is the sole source of the occassional one-liners in the story.The other characters are Captain Fyaiz and Raghu (Zara's fiance).The writing and language are typical Chetan Bhagat.

Verdict: I'm going with a 2.75 out of 5.The book is a time-pass read for Chetan Bhagat Fans!


-nikhimenon

September 21, 2018

Mini Review: 'Tell No One' By Harlan Coben


'Tell No One' reads more like Sidney Sheldon than Harlan Coban . Elizabeth Beck was murdered a good 8 years ago and her husband Dr David Beck has never been able to get over the gruesome incident which happened almost a decade back.Suddenly,a mysterious e-mail lands up in his e-mail and soon, David realizes that his past is back to haunt him once again. With twists and turns happening at regular intervals,'Tell No One' is an absolute page turner!
The 2006 French Thriller was based on this book.

-nikhimenon

September 20, 2018

Book Review: The Truth About Harry Quebert Affair by Joel Dicker

             
                  The 'Truth about Harry Quebert Affair' by Joel Dicker is undoubtedly one of the most gripping and satisfying books that I have read in the recent past. Though the book is quite lengthy (and often has the pretensions of a literary read) with about 600+ pages, itsn't a drag. Infact, I enjoyed it much more than many of that crime thrillers which went on to become 'international best-sellers'!

                 The book is set in a coastal New Hampshire town ( Somerset). The protagonist, Marcus Goldman, has had a super successful novel and is desperately in need of inspiration for his his next book. He goes to meet his college professor, Harry Quebert,whom he considers as his fatherly figure and also tries to focus on his writing and re-invent himself. But when the body of (the then) fifteen-year-old Nola Kellergan is found 33 years after she went missing and Quebert is accused of her murder, Marcus works to unravel the mystery behind the crime . How Marcus finds out the truth and what happens to his new novel in the due course of the investigation is what this 'big' book is all about.

                Part guru-shishya story, part murder mystery- love triangle, this is the kind of the book that has something in it for everyone. I liked the way Joel Dicker narrated the story with bits about creative writing thrown in between.The setting is quite fresh and there are twists and turns happening at regular intervals. Infact, as I mentioned before, I found find this book more racy and thrilling than any of those books that have come out of the 'pages-turn-by-themselves' Patterson factory.

Verdict: Must Read! I'm giving it a 4 out of 5.

-nikhimenon

September 19, 2018

The Worst Malayalam Films of 2018 (so far)


Okay, this post is a bit too early . 2018 is not over yet and  we are a good couple of months away from 2019. The state had witnessed it's worst floods in it's recent history and film industry was in slumber for almost two months.The success of 'Theevandi' has definitely brought some cheers to the industry and we hope the success of 'Kaayamkulam Kochunni' and Odiyan will give the industry it's much needed impetus. Meanwhile we will look at those super awful films of the year, so far!




10.Kuttanadan Blog (Sethu,Sep 2018)

This Mammootty starrer was Sethu's foray into direction.With a couple of lacklustre films to his credit ever since he turned a solo screen writer, no one expected miracles from this 'Cousins' ,'Achayans' writer. Even a half decent flick would have done the trick for him. But unfortunately with a nauseating moth-eaten script meddled with illegitimate pregnancies and the 90 s style do - gooder Principal character ,Kuttanadan Blog ended up as one of the most boring films of recent times!

9.My Story (Roshni Dinaker,July 2018)

The director would have liked to believe that the controversies surrounding Parvathy was the sole reason behind the film's failure at the box-office. But truth to be told, My story was a pretty dated story told in the most. Agreed, the production values were top notch, the music by Shaan Rahman was soothing and melodious but it couldn't overcome the potholes in the script and it's shoddy execution.The final twist in the tale was straight out of those run-of-the mill candy floss Bollywood films of the 90 s and the movie on the whole reminded me of those boring Suneel Darshan films of the last decade!

8.Rosapoo (Vinu Joseph,Feb)



What was the talented Biju Menon thinking when he signed up for this boring misadventure? Ofcourse, the core idea was interesting and the initial fifteen minutes or so was genuinely entertaining but after that the movie was a snooze fest!The 'motta' song also failed to create the intended buzz around the movie!

7.Parole (Sharrath Sannidh, April)


Another one of those turkeys of the year, Parole was neither entertaining nor classy. May be the director wanted to make a social drama which could go down well with the family crowd, but there were hardly any takers for this pointless old fashioned melo-drama!

6.Panchavarna Thatha (Ramesh Pisarody, April)




Perhaps the only commercially successful movie in this list, Panchavarna thatha too had a basic thread which was interesting. Infact the 'Noone is insignificant' life lesson has been conveyed effectively.But apart from that this thatha had nothing else for the discerning viewer.This Ramesh Pisharody movie failed to provide the ample laughs which it promised! Kunchakko Boban gave an earnest performance overshadowing Jayaram's  hammy act, but the flick fortunately gave him the much needed hit!

5.Mohanlal (Sajid Yahiya, April)



Mohanlal is a classic case of celebrity worshipping being stretched to intolerant levels.This migraine inducing mess of a movie was successful enough in earning more haters for Manju warrier, her over the top 'Meeenooty' being the single most irritating thing about this movie.It's sad that an excellent performer like Indrajith has to get contended with utterly pointless roles/movies like this!

The second part of this post will be published in the last week of December

-nikhimenon

September 17, 2018

Book Review: Coffee House by Lajo Jose


                 
                    Lajo Jose’s Coffee House is a work which aspires to be a new-age crime novel but unfortunately is  heavily influenced by the S.N. Swamy –K Madhu movies of the 90s. (Infact the basic thread itself - of the convicted killer opening up about his innocence a few days before his execution, reminded me of the third film in the CBI series)

                  Benjamin is convicted for multiple homicides and is awaiting execution. A few days before his execution he expresses desire to meet the journalist (Esther) who has been instrumental in his conviction and wants to convince the world of his innocence. Esther who works with a leading Malayalam Magazine, 'Kuleena' (modelled on 'Vanitha' and the Malayala Manorama group) half- heartedly accepts the invite and decides to 're-investigate' the case. How she manages to solve the puzzle and clear Benjamin's name of the murder/murders is what 'CH' is all about.Also aiding her in her journey are Peter Achan ,Sub Inspector Chris and Aparna, the scribe's colleague and best-friend.

                First things first.This debut novel is undoubtedly a quick and easy read (no long, boring prose or pretentious metaphors thrown in just for the sake of it).Even an occassional/newbie reader can finish it off in a couple of hours. Quality work of crime fiction is a rare thing as far as new age Malayalam writing is concerned and hats off to Lijo for trying to revive a long lost genre! As mentioned before, the writing is straight forward, the language used being simple and easy to comprehend even for the lay reader. Lajo also makes some interesting remarks about Kottayam town and pretty much succeeds in making this central Kerala town also a part of the narrative. 

              However the book is not devoid of flaws either. For an ambitious new-age crime thriller, Coffee House is tad too slow and the identity of the true killer is predictable quite early on. A lot of time (and 'pages') are spent on the pointless (and often cringe worthy) banter between Esther and her close buddy Aparna. Believe me, Aparna's ('Amma package') is definitely one of the most annoying characters I have come across (read) in recent times.  

              The characters are too shallow and none of them have been well etched out. There is a passing mention about Benjamin’s family but the author hasn’t really bothered to elaborate on his back story. As a result, the reader never gets to empathise for him. The same lack of detail is evident in the case of Esther’s characterization. Okay, we get to know that she has a liking for a pretty upmarket café in kottayam town (Tonico Café), but apart from that, what does she like actually? And what about her family? The less said about the shaky characterization of Chris (the cop), the better-  the guy seems to be in a very bad mood when we are first introduced to him (and seems to be only interested in settling scores with his bête noire , Esther )  but pretty soon , he is seeing hobnobbing with her and helping with the investigation!- His transformation and change of heart (remember the scribe had caused great humiliation to him in the past with even a molestation case filed against him!) pretty unconvincing and whatever meek justification rendered to it too weak and hard to swallow!

             Also, the romantic track between Benjamin and Jinu has not been worked out well. As a result, like one of the characters himself states at one instance in the book, Benjamin only comes across as a typical stalker for the average reader.

            To give due credit to Lajo, I liked the character of ‘Solly Jacob’ and how her character and her magazine were modeled on 'Vanitha' , but again it’s a shame that she has very little (and quite insignificant) presence in the narrative and in this 220 + page long crime novel.

Towards the end, the author seems to be in a hurry to wrap up the proceedings and before we realize, the climax is up leaving behind room for a possible sequel (and even for a new series featuring Esther!)

So the logical issues which I had with this 'thriller' are listed below-
  • If the case was such an open and shut case right from the beginning, what was that made Esther & co wage a prolonged media battle to implicate and arrest Benjamin?
  • Esther could easily crack the mystery behind the multiple homicides within a span of two days, just based on her intuitions, the 'killer's statements  and a few incidental findings which cropped up during her '3-4 day long' investigation but then, why did the initial investigating officers so easily overlook these same facts during the course of their investigation?Noone seemed to have bothered to even cross check the veracity of the true ‘killer’s initial statements to the police!(they could have atleast verified 'the cell-phone range' thing!)

Looks like the author is keen on making this into the series and also having a film adaptation for this work (as  indicated in the closing chapter) but I genuinely wish he enhances the original source material at hand and make it more taut and racy by adding some more meat into the (future) feature film script.

Verdict: On the whole, Lajo jose’s Coffee House is a decent start for a first time author, but doesn’t qualify as a truly engaging mystery thriller. I sincerely hope that his follow up to this debut work will be much better. I’m giving it a 2.5 out of 5.

-nikhimenon

September 2, 2018

QBR: I Found You by Lisa Jewell


       I Found You by Lisa Jewell

RT Rating: 3.8/5

Mystery/Crime Thriller

      450+ pages, Arrow (2016)
The Verdict:'I Found You' is a gripping thriller which is totally worth your time and money.
 
Synopsis:Twenty Year Old Lily is searching for her missing husband.Forty something Alice,mother of three has a starnger living in her house.Teenager Kirsty has a new boy friend.What is the 'link' between these seemingly unrelated women who don't even belong to the same generation? 'I found You' is built on this interesting premise.Set in the fictional town of Ridinghouse bay, this Part Romance and part thriller, manages to old your attention for most part.

The Good:The pacing (though the book is 450 odd pages long,you never 'feel' that it's overlong!) is apt, plotting is clever, the setting is brilliantly atmospheric.The 'mystery' mood has been successfully maintained for most part with the 'connection' between the three principal characters turning out really well.

The Bad:Towards the third act and the climax,the book loses steam; the big reveal (about Kirsty's disappearance) could have been better thought out .

RecommendationsBuy it!

-nikhimenon


Kindly donate to Kerala's Flood relief fund by visiting Kerala CM's official donation linkhttps://donation.cmdrf.kerala.gov.in/

August 28, 2018

QBR: I See You by Claire Mackintosh

I See You By Claire Mackintosh

RT Rating: 3.5/5

Psychological Suspense/Crime Thriller

380+ pages, Sphere (2016)
 The Verdict: Innovative re-working of the 'stalker' theme ,Claire Mackintosh delivers the goods in 'I see You'! If you have taken the 'London Tubes' or even the over-head commute, you will defintely find this to be a creepy read!

Synopsis: Forty year old Zoe Walker, mother of two ,finds herself listed in the tabloid ad of an online dating website (about which she has absolutely no clue of !) and soon discovers that she is not the only one! Detective Kelly Swift is the only one who is convinced of Zoe's story and soon they discover that the other women who are listed in the ad are getting killed one by one!

The Good:The setting, pacing and the climax twist! Will there be a sequel?

The Bad: The 'stalker' theme is getting repetitive.

Recommendations:Buy it!

-nikhimenon


Kindly donate to Kerala's Flood relief fund by visiting Kerala CM's official donation linkhttps://donation.cmdrf.kerala.gov.in/

July 7, 2018

QBR: Encounters of a Fat Bride by Samah




                             Encounters of a Fat Bride By Samah 

                                       RT Rating: 2.6/5

                              270 Pages, Penguin Metro Reads (2017)

                                     Chic-lit/Romance

     The Verdict: An okay, time-pass light read which offers nothing new!

Synopsis: Madhurima Pandey is a plus sized,twenty something girl.She is quite insecure about herself because of her being over sized.So when the good looking,well educated Harsh agrees to marry her(though his body language suggests otherwise),she has her own share of apprehensions.Does he genuinely like her? Is he marrying her for the sake of it? Is there  some 'hidden agenda' behind his willingness? She can't help ponder over....Will she be able to find the truth?

The Good: the light heartedness of the narrative, the length, some interesting characters like the 'uber cool', tech savvy Grandma (she reminded me of a character in Varun Aggarwal's 'How I braved Anu Aunty....,though!)  

The Bad: pretty generic plot(and characters) which doesn't break any new grounds (if you have read atleast one chick-lit work in life,you can predict the next chapter/scene in the novel), characterisation of Madhurima was too weak (you never 'feel' for her or her emotions), Anu is portrayed as her best friend,but beyond the regular shopping sessions and the occassional 'gyaan', you never get to know the 'real' Anu!

Best Quote-It's not perfect people, but perfect relationships that make fairy tales!

Recommendations: Borrow it! (if you are in the mood to read some 'light' stuff)!

-nikhimenon

June 22, 2018

QBR: 3 and a Half Murders by Salil Desai

                                    

                                        
                                           3 and a Half Murders By Salil Desai

                                           RT Rating: 2.7/5

                                328 Pages, Finger Print Publishing (2017)

                               Crime Thriller/Murder Mystery

           The Verdict: A decent, but over-long crime thriller with an unexpected climax!

Synopsis: Sanjay Doshi has killed his wife Anushka Doshi (who was cheating on him) and has committed suicide.The suspect is her 'lover' Shaunak Sodhi. Can Inspector Saralkar solve the mystery?

The Good:down- to -earth characterisation of Saralkar and his aide Motkar ,no excessive violence and pointless twists, the big reveal in the climax(the identity of the killer)

The Bad: The 'why' of the crime could have been better imagined, the usual cliche's like the fake Godman, the officer's nagging wife,a couple of loose ends(ASI Murgud covering up the 7 year old case quite easily)

Recommendations: Borrow it!

-nikhimenon

June 21, 2018

QBR: Miracle Cure by Harlan Coben

Image:Amazon UK

Miracle Cure By Harlan Coben

RT Rating: 2.6/5

Medical Thriller/Crime Thriller

480 pages, ORION (2013), originally published in 1991 by British American Publishing
 The Verdict: One of Coben's earliest works, Miracle Cure can be read once , if you are a die-hard Coben fan!

Synopsis:Dr Harvey has discovered a perfect cure for HIV.But there is someone trying to sabotage his discovery!

The Good:the 'Medical' aspects are still relevant, has it's moments of suspense

The Bad:Pretty dated work (even Coben himself admits the same), the climax twist was pretty predictable, quite over-long too!

Recommendations:Borrow it!

-nikhimenon

June 20, 2018

QBR: Angelica's Smile by Andrea Camilleri


                              Angelica's Smile By Andrea Camilleri

                                           RT Rating: 2.5/5

                               304 Pages, Pan MacMillan(2015)

                               Romance/Police Procedural

       The Verdict: An okayish , half baked romance-police procedural

Synopsis: Vigàta's elite are targeted in a series of brilliantly executed robberies,can Inspector Montalbano solve the mystery?

The Good: Easy Read, fairly good English translation,partly funny

The Bad: the romance was half baked,so was the investigation,ends up neither here nor there

Recommendations:Skip it!

-nikhimenon

June 19, 2018

Quick Book Review: Behind Closed Doors BY B A Paris


                For those of you, who are too lazy to go through 'long, boring' book reviews, RT hereby presenting the new Quick Book Review (QBR) series (if James Patterson can bring out BOOKSHOTS,why can't the poor nikhimenon?☺)



                         Behind Closed Doors By B A Paris

                                      RT Rating: 3/5

                            293 Pages, St Martin's Press (2016)

                                    Psychological Thriller

           The Verdict: A fairly good read built on an intriguing premise!

Synopsis: Jack and Grace are the perfect couple and everyone adores them, But are they living a perfect lie?

The Good: The Premise is fresh , Grace's characterisation, emotional nature of the read, focused narration

The Bad: The climax was not entirely convincing!

Recommendations: Borrow it!

-nikhimenon
                      

April 11, 2018

Book Review: The Woman In Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware

              
Pic-amazon.in

                   The  success of The Girl On The Train and Gone Girl inspired many first time writers and scribes to come out with their own versions of it .While some of them have been decent enough (The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena definitely being one ) ,many of them have been damp squibs.Ruth Ware's The Woman In Cabin Number Ten (though pretty formulaic) fortunately belongs to the former category and is undoubtedly a time-pass read.'The Woman'... is Ruth Wares's second novel after the hugely succesful 'In A Dark, Dark Wood'

                 The Protagonist is Lo, a woman with anxiety disorder and also with drinking issues  (Rachel,anyone?).She is the resident editor of Velocity,a travel magazine.As her boss is on maternity leave,she is assigned to cover the inaugural voyage of a luxury cruise.While everything is okay in the beginning,she happens to witness a woman being thrown out of her next cabin to the deep blue sea.Though she is pretty sure about what she has witnessed,not everyone is convinced about her version of events-as there has never been an occupant in the next cabin! (cabin number 10)

               The writing is decently paced and devoid of long, unnecessary detailing.As the book cover rightly puts it,'The Woman'.. reads more like an Agatha Christie meeting The Girl On The Train.The setting is pretty much Agatha (too many people locked in a particular set up),but the writing and characters are more like Paula Hawkins'. We have got a (not-that-likeable) flawed heroine who is trying desperately to prove what she has 'witnessed' has not been a product of her deviant mind.

               On the downside, I felt that the blurb gave away too much regarding the story line. It's like, if you have read the blurb, you can pretty much skip the first one fifty pages or so. Also, the suspense is not that unpredictable either (the tail-end twist with that mystery about the money in the account is good though!).On the whole, I am giving this book a 2.9 out of 5.

-nikhimenon

April 3, 2018

Mini Book Review:The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson


                         The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson is a thriller which is worth your time and money. Full of twists and turns,this 400+page work is a genuine page turner. Ted,Miranda and Lily are the principal characters.Ted is upset that his wife Miranda is cheating on him.He meets Lily while waiting for his flight in Heathrow airport. Lily offers him help.They hatch a plan to kill Miranda. But Miranda has other plans for Ted.

                          I particularly liked the characterization of Lily.The manner in which Lily's past life is revealed is truly riveting.The writing is taut and thrilling.The Chapters alternate between Ted and Lily's perspectives and believe me, the shift in perspectives is not done in an irritating manner.

                         For those of you who are still wondering the origin behind the title of this work,here it is- Lily says at one point , "Truthfully, I don't think murder is necessarily as bad as people make it out to be. Everyone dies. What difference does it make if a few bad apples get pushed along a little sooner than God intended? And your wife, for example, seems like the kind worth killing."

On the whole,I am giving 3.5 out of 5 for this novel.

-nikhimenon

March 22, 2018

Mini Book Review : Little Boy Blue by M.J.Alidge

           
 Little Boy Blue is the first book by M.J.Alridge that I have read.It's basically a crime thriller and is the fifth book in the D.I.Helen Grace series.I was not that aquainted with Helen Grace and her subordinates before picking this book up for my weekend read, still I found this work to be quite an enjoyable read.

            Jake Elder( a professional dominator) is found dead in one of the shady clubs in Southampton.Though the case initially looks like a bizarre sex game gone wrong,pretty soon it becomes clear that there is something more to it,as bodies start piling up in a similar fashion at various other places.What's more striking is Helen's personal equations with the victims and it becomes evident that a lot is at stake for her. Adding spice to the narrative is the unhealthy competition between Helen's subordinates , Sanderson and Brookes.The tension catches on, the killer is revealed culminating in a stunning climax, leaving the reader anxious and surprised at the sudden turn of events.

Little Boy Blue is undoubtedly a fast paced,nail-biting thriller.I can't wait to grab a copy of the next one in this installment.I'm giving it a 3.5 out of 5.

-nikhimenon

March 15, 2018

Mini Book Review: I am Watching You by Teresa Driscoll

Agreed, this book is a smash hit and the author is widely hailed as the 'next big thing' among the new breed of women crime writers, but I found the novel to be a pretty average work.

A woman(Ella) accidentally stumbles upon two teenage girls during a train journey only to find out later that one of the girls (Anna Ballard) has gone missing.The book is all about the mystery behind the sudden disappearance of Anna. This 'Gone Girl' meets 'The Girl On The Train' kind of tale is told through the perspectives of it's principal characters -Ella (the witness),Luke (Ella's son),Sarah (the friend), to name a few.The chapters are pretty short and each one ends in a mini cliff- hanger (which was pretty annoying,after a point).The characters are poorly written, their motives and intentions quite patchy to say the least. Also, the reason for the 'guilt-feeling' of Ella and the others is not properly explained. The final twist is just about okay.

On the whole, I am giving a 2.5 out of 5 for this book.

-nikhimenon

February 21, 2018

Mini Book Review: Home by Harlan Coben

Home is the latest title in Coben's Myron Bolitar series and re-unites Myron,Win,Big Cyndi,Esperanza once again for a brand new adventure.Also Joining them in the adventure are Mickey,Ema and Spoon.

Two boys go missing and twelve years later,Win and Myron stumbles upon one of them in London and manage to bring him home ,but not everyone is convinced that he is the real person.This is the basic premise of 'Home'.Myron and Win ,in their trademark style try to solve this mystery but I must confess that 'Home' is one of the weakest works to have come out in Bolitar series.The book is not at all racy and nothing much really happens in the first two hundred +pages of this tale.The twists are far and few in between and not of them are indeed convincing.Too much time is spent in unnecessary detailing and by the time the actual mystery is revealed,the reader loses interest in the whole proceedings.The good thing about the climax is that though the twist is predictable,it manages to move you emotionally (the tail-end twist including Brooke and 'the gun' could have been avoided though).The epilogue reveals a positive event in Bolitar's personal life and I am definitely looking forward to the next one in the series.

On the whole,I am giving this one a 2.75 out of 5.

-nikhimenon

January 25, 2018

Mini Book Review: Harlan Coben's 'Missing You'

               

                  'Missing you' is yet another work of Harlan Coben which I have picked up to read.This is another stand alone- domestic thriller from the master crime writer.The premise is typical Coben.There is a past murder,a forgotten boy-friend who is making a re-entry years later, a single mother who has suddenly vanished without a trace and a female investigator accompanied by a teenage boy trying to solve the mystery and the tail-end twist which is happening in the very last page. It's a stand-alone thriller which is totally worth your time and money.
                   Kat is a NYPD detective who is fighting her past demons.She stumbles upon her ex, Jeff who had ditched her almost two decades earlier in a dating website.There is this teenage boy (Brandon) who is seeking Kat's help as his mother(Diana) has gone missing all on a sudden and is potentially linked to Jeff.In the middle of all this, Kat should also to find out who killed her beloved dad.
                'Missing You' tells the story of Kat,Jeff and Diana.It's an absolute page turner.The writing is fast paced,twist laden with never a dull moment.Go for it!

Verdict- I am giving it a 3.5 out of 5.

-nikhimenon

January 21, 2018

The Great Indian 'Law' Story !

                  
                Judiciary as the ‘saviour’ of democracy- a lot of noise is being made on this regard these days. A Nation without a robust judicial system will definitely face mayhem and turmoil. Agreed, Judiciary is one of the most pivotal limbs of democracy, but to bestow upon the guardianship of democracy solely on the Indian Judiciary is something which is not only over- ambitious but also outright ridiculous. Democracy is defined as the Government of the people, by the people and for the people. Judiciary and Democracy should complement each other so that the absolute interests of the state are upheld.
                India has been fortunate enough to have a sturdy judicial system. The efficiency of the courts in India is something which even the world has acknowledged and appreciated. From H.J kania to Deepak Mishra , we have had many CJIs who were renowned for their honesty and professionalism. And being the world’s largest democracy,we,as a nation cannot afford  to have a  half-baked legal system. It also should be remembered that the courts function on public money which necessitates the need of accountability pertaining to their work.Openness in the court procedures and lucidity in decision making can facilitate parity between the nation’s security and the civil rights of the people.
                 Judiciary is widely perceived to be the common man’s last ‘ray of hope’.Infact the responsibilities of the judiciary are many. It not only has to apply and interpret the law as per the constitution and exercise  the rule of the law but also act as a player in state politics.
              Having said that, it is also true that the legal system of the Nation has so many issues plaguing it. The huge back-log of cases and the time-lag which happens between hearing and the final judgement is indeed a stark reality. Also,of late,the courts seem to develop cold-feet when coming to giving judgements pertaining to extremely sensitive issues ala a ‘Babry’ Case or an ‘Abaya’ Case.
            There are many other matters worth pondering on.The country has got enough and more number of ‘attention seekers’ and ‘potential head line grabbers’ who resort to litigations and ‘PIL’ s to achieve social and political gains. Unwanted litigations like these waste the precious time of the honourable courts and only serve to ‘delay justice’ for the genuine aggrievers.
             A couple of days back, the Nation witnessed an unprecedented spat between a couple of sitting SC judges and the honourable CJI. In the present context, if an average citizen gets the idea that the ego-conflicts and power wars among the sitting SC judges and the honourable CJI has resulted in this present judicial crisis, he can’t be blamed. This situation of ‘it’s a matter of (the ‘rituous’ and ‘holy’) us v/s (the ‘crooked’ and ‘unholy’) him could have been easily averted had the grieving judges not resorted to washing the dirty linen in public. The recent developments have only served to tarnish the image of the highest court of the country among the general public. When four of the 25 judges of SC gang up and hold a press meet only to declare an open War on the CJI, there will indeed be repercussions and the message that it sends out to the general public and to the world  is not at all pleasant. After all, it’s not reality television that we are talking about! But sadly, the attempts to milk this episode for political capital has begun and it is anybody’s guess that this will go on till 2019!
            The role of judiciary in the maintenance and prosperity of an evolving democractic society cannot be under estimated and if done so, it will have alarming consequences which will be detrimental to the society and the country as a whole.

-nikhimenon