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Sunday 9 February 2014

Book Review: Nazaqat by Sasha H Singhal

About the book:
Naazani, a shy girl with a lonely childhood, was born and brought up in Dehradun. She moves to a metropolitan for further education and gets absorbed. In a series of events, she decides to adopt prostitution and becomes one of the most successful high profile escorts of the city with the help of her manager Sharat.
In a quest to be successful, she leaves her friends behind and dedicates more time to her profession. Nazaqat witnesses a police raid at a nearby place and the real scenario of prostitution terrifies her.She decides to take a stand and do something about it. However, Sharat convinces her that she is not powerful enough to make a difference
Nazaqat retires and pool all her money and starts a restaurant – Joy
foods in partnership with Sharat. The business grows and soon enough they have numerous outlets in various cities and Naazani Singh Shekhawat emerges as a significant entrepreneur of nation.
To cherish the old memories, she organizes a group together and calls all her old friends. Next morning, it is found that something drastic happened the night before.
Meanwhile, she invites an author – Matthews, who is an old acquaintance to pen down her own biography. He visits her each night and in a series of ten nights, her story finds its crescendo.
Will prostitution be legalized?  What’s her intention with the biography she is planning? What shall be the fate of Naazani Singh Shekhawat aka Nazaqat?
Nazaqat is a very detailed and carefully woven story which is a unique blend of thrill and drama. It is a refreshing story about a girl who adopts prostitution on her own will and starts a quest to legalize prostitution in India. While it’s entertaining because of the commercial voice, it also addresses grave issues of feminism, prostitution and homosexuality in society.
About the author:
The identity of the author remains a mystery: Mathews, Harsh A singhal, or Sasha H, Singhal. (wink)
Read our author interview here.
My Review:

The author's setting, plot, idea, narration, character etching all are fairly commendable. The part I like the most was that the story is replete with twists and turns and that helps to keep the reader hooked till the last page.
The distressing aspect, if any, was an abrupt ending and the editing especially for a grammar Nazi.
The book takes a neutral take on human foibles and human choices. With rhetoric comments on marriage writers life morals et al, this is undoubtedly worthy of a read.
Also, with fallible characters what sets this book apart is the fact that he does not attempt to reveal any dark side or pretend to have a funny bone. in other words unlike contemporary authors the author does not try to force his humor or seriousness upon anyone, particularly the characters and the readers. Smoothly read, and fortunately not one of the books trying to get into IIT of contemporaries, if you know what I mean.
The poem whose stanza is given before each chapter is exotically and brilliantly crafted. The character of Nazaqat is so exquisite, one can't help but smile at her idiosyncrasies.
Add to that the social tangent that the author introduces by addressing the issues of homosexuality, prostitution in a way that blends in the novel flawlessly, and you have a perfect read.
My judgment:
A very open ended book which dies at one level mark the triumph of good over evil nevertheless leaves much to the readers interpretation. overall a pretty serene read.
Best line:

Sunday 2 February 2014

Book Review: Life Mantras By Preeti Subberwal

About the book:

Are you looking for valuable insights on every aspect of life? Are you interested in a book that precisely and concisely explains whatever you need to learn about life? Are you seeking for the ways to run your life smoothly, effectively and miraculously? If you say yes to any of the above questions, then you are holding the right book in your hand. This is a book that throws light on all the dimensions of life. The powerful life mantras provided will not just help you to stay positive and happy but also will inspire you to be your best. It is a book to be experienced and savoured before assimilating anything. It has been designed to give you a visual delight besides leading you on the road to deep and profound wisdom. It will empower you to unravel the mysteries and discover the secrets of life. It will encourage you to commit yourself to continual improvement and helping others and once you resolve to do so, it doesnt matter from where you started, there is no telling who you will become and what you will accomplish during your journey. 
About the author:
  Preeti Subberwal is the Founding Director of Thoughtful Engagement, a firm that facilitates quick and sustainable positive change and transformation in individuals and organizations through powerful and innovative programs. Preeti is passionately committed to delivering personal and professional development workshops, seminars and coaching programs that empower the participants to attain their next level of success, fulfillment and self-mastery. 
My Review:

If you are a regular reader of self-help this book will act as your coffee table book and help you to memorize your beliefs each morning. If you aren't a regular in this genre, then this may be the perfect means to enter into this domain.
If you are one of those who usually shirk from reading self-help, here's a thing for you. The way in which the advice is presented, which includes photoshopped pages, and systematized headings, among other things, is sure to engage you. This book can make an ideal morning companion, what with a treat of quotations at the end of each page. And the best part of it all is that it leaves no aspect: from concentration, focus and energy, to rekindling your passion, discovering your purpose, serving others, it encompasses all. It has the crux of all the life-changing self-help that exists, and it will definitely empower you.

It is easy to read, even for a beginner in this genre, hence that makes it worthy.

"This book review is a part of The Readers Cosmos Book Review Program. To get free books log on to"

Book Review: The Other Side by Faraaz Kazi, Vivek Banerjee

About the book:
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 wasnt 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 goosebumps 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!

Book Trailer:

About the author:

A pediatrician by profession, Vivek Banerjee is an author by accident.He lives in Saharanpur with his parents, obstetrician wife and two children. The pressures of his profession leave him with little leisure but he still finds time for his varied interests. An avid traveller, he has covered the length and breadth of the country in real life and the rest of the world in his imagination. A voracious reader, music lover, self-confessed geek and an amateur ornithologist, he would rather walk the road less travelled, given the time and opportunity. A Bengali by birth, he has grown up in various towns of North India and studied in many different schools and colleges. He started writing on Rediff blogs where he is known as Ben and went on to write his debut novel THE LONG ROAD.
He has also been published by Westland in 'Chicken Soup for Indian Doctors Soul', Grapevine India in 'Shades of Love' and APK Publishers in 'Shades of Black'.
He won an all India short story competition for his story 'The hunter'which was published in 'Kaleidoscope' by Parlance publishers.
An anthology of stories about the paranormal, 'The Other Side', co-authored with Faraaz Kazi is a recent offering. He is also a part of 'Carnival' by

The winner of the 2013 National Debut Youth Fiction Award and also the recipient of the YCOF National Excellence award in Creative Writing apart from being the first Indian author to win the coveted ‘Best Debut (Romance)’ title at the international Goodreads choice awards, Faraaz Kazi has been tagged as the 'Nicholas Sparks of India’ by many and is rated amongst the top male romance writers in the country.
A certified soft-skills trainer and a three-time post grad, Kazi is the Founder and CEO of DigiImprint Solutions, India's first exclusive promotional agency for authors and artists that recently forayed into handling corporate brands. He also consults for a few public relations firms and publishing houses. Felicitated by numerous institutes, bodies and organizations alike, Kazi is a well-known name in the social media and literary fraternity. He is fondly referred to as 'The Young Marketer' and operates a revolutionary blog with the same name and writes for major media houses.

Kazi is a fellow member of the esteemed 'Film Writers Association of India.' Truly Madly Deeply, his debut mainstream romance novel is the only Indian book to have seven category nominations in the Goodreads annual readers' choice awards and is also the only Indian book in the 'Top 100 YA Global Fiction' list. Kazi is a voracious reader and counts singing as his second love. 

My Review:

We make up horrors to help us cope with the real ones. The book begins with these words of Stephen king, and one may as well think that this is yet another attempt at scaring the reader out of his wits. But the truth is, it is not just another book. This one really does that. After R.L. Stine's writing, if anything can give goosebumps, it is this collection of horror stories. Each of the stories would individually make full-fledged horror-thriller movies that can make you lose your sleep. The authors have really great insight as to the fear of the unknown. After reading each story, the reader is able to envisage an other side, travel to it, and then coming to terms with reality becomes a raw deal. The urban, educated masses are skeptic and rational when it comes to explaining these events, but this book is here to reaffirm the belief that indeed there is 'the other side' and that some inexplicable occurrences best be explained by the existence of the other side only. In this spooky collection, where one story surpasses another in its eerie, spine-chilling content.
If you consider yourself brave, take this challenge of not being chicken-hearted while reading this book in entirety, fully engrossed in the world the doors of which it opens for you. The descriptions make it hard not to believe what happened and your reason and rationality cannot explain it. This book will make the belief in supernatural immortal.
 Unexpected, raw, bone-chilling horror awaits you. For days now, I am still scared at the thought of waking up in the wee hours of night. Reading it at night before going to bed was a sheer underestimation of the horrifying stories that I read. The goosebumps haven't subsided yet.

Macabre characters, eerie events, uncanny places, supernatural beliefs, horrible scenarios left unexplained, sinister ramifications....interesting? Go grab you copy!

Best lines: 
ghosts, evil spirits are a by-products of a fanciful imagination. These are cooked up tales to usurp the property in the long run.

"This book review is a part of The Readers Cosmos Book Review Program. To get free books log on to"

Book Review: 9 Don'ts to Success by Abhinav Pandey

About the book:

Be Focused, don’t get Distracted.

Be Accurate, don’t make Mistakes.

Be Real, don’t be Fake.

Be Honest, don’t Lie.

Be Polite, don’t be Arrogant.

Play Safe, don’t take Risks.

Think Positive, don’t Think Negative.

Be Humble, don’t be a Show-Off.

Be Fair, don’t Manipulate.

Is this the sure shot map to success? Think again.

This book is about doing what you’re asked not to.

About the Author:

Abhinav Pandey is an alumnus of St. Xavier Institute of Communications, Mumbai. He believes in chasing dreams, making mistakes and living life.
His writings aren’t limited to books as he professionally writes songs for films, commercials and rock bands. Apart from writing, he has a keen interest in travelling, motivating people and watching movies.
Currently, he owns an event firm in Pune.

My Review:

The book presents to you 9 don'ts to success, because, it claims, the do's don't work. And no matter how skeptic you might feel about the content and philosophy of the book, you cannot help but admire the dexterity with which it is written. This book here is a pioneer of a new era in the genre of self-help. The book is about doing what you are asked not to do, and dear prospective reader, let me dispel your doubts and suspicion, it is not a collection of rants of some unsuccessful person who considers himself a victim of the ideal self-help and takes revenge by penning down a book that defies all the wisdom that they offer, rather this is a sensible take on the gargantuan volumes of self-help we have been reading till now. The last words you utter after reading this book are, “This is revolutionary stuff, man”.
The reason you should read it is because it is a repository of some really catchy witty phrases. Wit also emanates from the examples, comparisons and the metaphors that the author uses. They are so well thought out and presented. You know, when something is written with a lot of effort, it can be read effortlessly. The oxymorons couldn't get any better
so, the author prevents us from becoming the fastest car in town not reaching its destination in time due to a wrong route map and tells us that 'a person cannot decide on the total number of gears to shift during a lifetime, but he atleast has the option of not driving on the same gears ever again.'
What makes the author worthy of extraordinary commendation and appreciation is the extraordinarily remarkable effort that has gone into each chapter. Since this is altogether different from the ordinarily self-help stuff, the author has included, at the end of each chapter some tips and suggestions about applying these don'ts with caution, because he is cognizant of the fact that these don't are prone to misuse, or misinterpretation. It is so refreshing to see a first time author fully aware of what he is writing and what its repercussions are likely to be
Considering the radical perspective from which the author views the don'ts, it seems that these were things we were waiting to be told. 

Best lines: there are quite a few actually, the book is replete with memorable lines.
the limits are no more a challenge but an excuse to underperform.
Learn to distinguish between opportunities and temptations used as baits.

Judgement: No ifs, No buts, go get your copy now!

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Kritika's bookshelf: read

Angels & Demons
The Story of My Life
The Hunger Games
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
A Tale of Two Cities
Pride and Prejudice
Jane Eyre
Sense and Sensibility
A Christmas Carol
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
The Time Machine
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
The Da Vinci Code

Kritika Narula's favorite books »


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