BOOK REVIEW: YODDHA THE DYNASTY OF SAMUDRAGUPTA

Book: Yoddha The Dynasty of Samudragupta

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Author: Rajat Pillai

Genre: Historical, Fiction

Published by: Jaico Books

Number of pages: 316 pages

My Rating: 5/5

MY REVIEW: The author Rajat Pillai provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Chandragupta Vikramaditya of the Gupta dynasty of course is one of the greatest kings in Indian history.

The story begins showing Samudragupta, Chandragupta’s father at the peak of power and slowly beginning to show the signs of old age. Chandragupta has been raised in a village by a foster mother and does not know who Samurdragupta really is. He only knows Samudragupta as a benevolent relative who visits him and his mother from time to time. It is only when his foster mother is on her deathbed that Chandragupta comes to know that he is actually Samudragupta’s son and a prince of Magadha.

Chandragupta arrives in the capital, meets his father and assumes his rightful place as a member of the royal family. He is soon engaged twice, once as a political match and once out of love. He is also reunited with his brother Ramagupta.

Life in the royal palace is not what it appears to be as there is a deadly assassin on the loose as well as numerous conspiracies and rivalries afoot. Chandragupta finds himself in an asylum weak and in ill health, branded mentally unstable after a series of events.

Will Chandragupta be able to get himself out of this mess and will he stake a claim on the throne of Magadha? Will the assassin be caught? Who has hired the assassin? Who is the mysterious prisoner who is being held in the dungeons of the palace? The reader will have to read the story to find out.

It will remain to be seen whether the author will take the story forward in a sequel. I highly recommend “Yoddha”, as an extremely interesting story that will leave the reader hooked to the very end!

BOOK REVIEW: THE HIDDEN CHILDREN THE LOST GRIMOIRE

Book: The Hidden Children The Lost Grimoire

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Author: Reshma K. Barshikar

Genre: Fantasy, Fiction

Published by: Two Ravens

Number of pages: 401 pages

My Rating: 5/5

MY REVIEW: I was provided with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

The main character of the book is Shayamukthy or Shui as she is commonly known as. She is a teenager in high school, who plays basketball and loves to hang out with her best friends Nallini and Jai. Shui is not as normal as she appears to be, as she has been diagnosed with dyslexia. She used to live in the US with her family but they moved to India three years ago.

Shui’s life is disrupted with the arrival of a new girl in their class, Anya. Nallini takes an instant dislike to Anya but Shui is drawn to her for some strange reason.

Anya shows Shui how to summon butterflies using magic and just like that Shui finds herself sucked into the world of the Witana. Shui attempts to discover whether she has magical powers. Anya reveals to Shui that the grimoire belonging to Anya’s deceased mother is lost and that Anya is desperate to find it.

The story is very fast paced as the characters zip all around Mumbai. Does Anya have a hidden agenda beyond looking for the grimoire? Does Shui really have any magical powers? The reader will have to read the story to find out.

I highly recommend “The Hidden Children”, as an extremely interesting story that has left me awaiting the sequel!

BOOK REVIEW: ELEPHANTS IN THE ROOM

Book: Elephants in the Room

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Author: Suraj Laxminarayanan

Genre: Thriller, Fiction

Published by: The Write Place

Number of pages: 598 pages

My Rating: 3.5/5

MY REVIEW:

A bunch of small time crooks plan a bank heist thinking that this will solve all their monetary problems. As luck would have it, two other gangs have the same idea! So the incredible happens and the bank is taken hostage by three separate gangs of robbers. The police arrive on the scene before the gangs can resolve the situation among themselves.

The police are unaware of the happenings inside the bank and attempt to negotiate with the thieves as the customers of the bank are being held hostage. They of course think that the bank is being robbed by a gang of terrorists.

Inside the bank, the tension mounts as alliances are formed between the robbers. But the question arises as to who can be trusted. What will become of the customers who have been held hostage? Will one of the gangs be able to make use of the tunnel that has been dug and manage to make a getaway?

“Elephants in the Room” is a lengthy crime thriller, one that can be carried along on a vacation or a long journey.

BOOK REVIEW: THE TIMES WE LIVE IN

Book: The Times We Live In

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Author: Madhav Thapar

Genre: Thriller, Fiction

Published by: Notion Press

Number of pages: 195 pages

My Rating: 4/5

MY REVIEW: I was kindly provided with a copy of this book by the author Madhav Thapar.

The story has characters from the author’s previous book, A Friend Like Karna, playing a role in the story. However, for this story, the author has weaved an elaborate plot with characters based in the United States, England, India and Pakistan. The story also goes back and forth in time, from 1947 up to the present day. Moreover, there are numerous sub-plots in the story. I will endeavour to review the book without giving away any of the suspense of the story!

Girdhari Lal Mehta’s family attempts to cross the border from Pakistan into India at the time of Partition, with the assistance of his close friend Sarfaraz Khan, the Inspector General of Police. However, Girdhari Lal’s family is killed en route with the exception of his two children Sushma and Jai Prakash.

The main characters in the story are the progeny of Sarfaraz Khan and Girdhari Lal. The RAW officer Shashank Puri also plays a pivotal role in the story. Morever, there is a deadly assassin codenamed Cobra whose identity is unknown.

The thriller is action packed and taut with various twists and turns. The identity of Cobra is not revealed until the very end and comes as a major surprise.

A fast paced thriller that is definitely worth reading!

BOOK REVIEW: A FRIEND LIKE KARNA

Book: A Friend Like Karna

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Author: Madhav Thapar

Genre: Thriller, Fiction

Published by: Notion Press

Number of pages: 161 pages

My Rating: 5/5

MY REVIEW: I was kindly provided with a copy of this book by the author Madhav Thapar.

The story is set in modern times but readers familiar with the Indian epic The Mahabharata can certainly draw the analogy between the epic and this thriller.

The story is about two of India’s elite families, the Desais and the Sahnis. Veer Singhi, the central character works for Pranav Desai, a media baron and his spoiled son Jay. Veer considers Pranav Desai to be his godfather and benefactor and is extremely loyal to him and Jay.

On the other side, the Sahni family comprises of Pran Sahni, his widowed daughter Aditi, her three sons Mridul, Vidit and Varun as well as Aditi’s maternal uncle Vidur.

The Sahnis decide to take out a contract on Pranav Desai which is partially successful. Veer on behalf of the Desais, decides to retaliate.

The story has all the ingredients of a potboiler with suspense, passion and betrayal all being part of the story. The lovely Nisha Kapoor adds to the glamour of the plot and plays an important role as she is engaged to Vidit and in love with Veer.

The story races to a climax with Veer’s parentage being part of the mystery. I just wish that the ending was different!

A Friend Like Karna is an extremely enjoyable suspense thriller and I recommend it to readers.

BOOK REVIEW: SCARS DO HEAL

Book: Scars Do Heal

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Author: Shilpa Menon

Genre: Romance Fiction

Published by: Notion Press

Number of pages: 328 pages

My Rating: 3/5

MY REVIEW: I received a review copy of “Scars Do Heal” by Shilpa Menon in exchange for an honest review.

The main character in the story is Sonal Kapoor, who lives in London with her aged mother and runs a florist shop. Sonal moved from India to England several years ago, in order to escape from a traumatic incident. This incident has left her very disturbed and she is unable to trust a man.

A chance encounter with a handsome stranger in the grocery store leads her to dropping her belongings. The handsome stranger cares to track her down and return them to her. He is Dr. Ryan Percy, a cardiovascular surgeon.

Ryan is drawn to her and wants to get to know her better. Sonal tries to push him away but Ryan proves to be too charming to resist. He courts her in an extremely romantic fairy tale fashion until she too reciprocates his feelings.

It turns out that Ryan is also recovering from past wounds. Sonal opens up to him about her past as well. However, just when everything seems to be going on well, a ghost from Sonal’s past returns to haunt her.

All the characters in the story are portrayed very well and the reader will keep turning the pages to find out if Sonal and Ryan’s love story has a happy ending.

BOOK REVIEW: THE DIARY ON THE FIFTH FLOOR

Book: The Diary on the Fifth Floor

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Author: Raisha Lalwani

Genre: Fiction

Published by: Rupa Publications

Number of pages: 164 pages

My Rating: 5/5

MY REVIEW: I received a copy of “The Diary on the Fifth Floor” by Raisha Lalwani in exchange for an honest review.

The story is about Savannah, a young woman who visits Dr. Rama Berry, a psychiatrist, whose clinic is located on the fifth floor. Initially, Savannah consults Dr. Berry under false pretences. However, the doctor sees through her deception.

Savannah leaves her diary with Dr. Berry. This diary contains her innermost thoughts. There are several stories and incidents narrated by her in the diary.

There is a deep, underlying message in the book. Seeking psychiatric treatment is considered to be a social stigma in our society even today. Are the stories and incidents written by Savannah in her diary real? Did they actually happen to Savannah herself? Will Dr. Berry be able to help her? What is actually wrong with Savannah? These are just some of the questions that arise while reading the book.

“The Diary on the Fifth Floor” is an extremely interesting story that is worth reading.