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Book Review of “A Bolt of Lightning” by Satyen Nabar

A Bolt of Lightning

By Satyen Nabar

This book arrived when I was in the middle of another book. It was pure curiosity that got me reading the first page. Before I knew it, I had breezed through the first 100 pages!

It wasn’t easy to read two books simultaneously. But I managed!

The plot overall is funny, engrossing, interesting, unique, relatable, with a fresh perspective.

I don’t think I could give a better plot summary than the one on the book: Shiva, 35, hotshot executive, recently divorced, disillusioned with his life and fed up of the rat race in the corporate world, topples completely over the edge after an unexpected tragic incident.
In a hilarious journey from the boardrooms of Bangalore to the hippies, face readers, casinos and rave parties on the verdant beaches of Goa, Shiva attempts to ‘escape from it all’ till his life suddenly changes in miraculous ways after an electrifying act of nature bestows him with an extraordinary gift. Anchored by the strong bond of friendship with his college mates, Sid and Adi, and propelled by love for Anita his estranged ex-wife, Shiva attempts to make the most of his incredible gift to unravel the secrets of life, death and happiness as the story races to its exhilarating conclusion in the exotic jungle valley of Arambol, Goa. And it is a “bolt of lightning” that somewhat sets things right in his life.

This story is a witty and contemporary take on a midlife crisis story with an unusual twist in the tale. It at once touches the heart and entertains while offering a fascinating new perspective of the world we inhabit.

The language is quite simple (mostly) but at places the author makes splendid sentences that make you smile, giggle, laugh, praise and feel jealous – all at once!
The realities of present day life – building work pressures, haphazard social and personal life, meaningless rat-race, need and desire for introspection, battle to make time for oneself and loved ones, depression, loneliness, and addictions that engulf us at the end of it all – interestingly portrayed and brilliantly connected.

The timeline (past and present) keeps you quite alert and awake. It keeps you hooked. it keeps you excited. The characters have been etched thoughtfully. Though I personally feel the author could’ve limited their description and habit- since they were bound to be understood / interpreted by the reader during the course of the story. Anyway, that’s just my perspective.

There is much more to the story, and its characters, apart from their emotions, actions, deeds, thoughts, and behaviour. A hidden message. The eternal quest. A gripping need to introspect right away. To live in the moment. To live for the day. To follow your heart. And to read more and more!

I would definitely recommend this book to all!

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Book Review of “Just Friends” by Sumrit Shahi

Just Friends

By Sumrit Shahi

Picking this up wasn’t a bad deal at all. Sumrit has shown good potential with his debut novel JUST FRIENDS – a story that revolves around the friendship between a girl and a boy. The age old question of whether a girl and a guy can be friends seems to be answered almost perfectly by this teenager.

The story is about the two youngsters Aaryan and Tanie and their growing up years in school and hostel. Very relatable instances of the regular bunking, group studying, hostel tantrums, indulging in sports, examination fevers, friendships, crushes and first love add flavor and fragrance to his writing. School life is an important part of a person’s life. Those are the days of carelessness and alertness all the same. It somewhat leads you to your path ahead in life. For some, those are the most wonderful days of growing up…while for some a difficult road with hardships and bruises. Filled with humorous incidents and decently intellectual conversations, the book overall is a breezy and a refreshing read.

What prompted me more to pick up the book was its blurb/synopsis on the back page. “He knows everything about her, right from her favourite books to her favorite bra. She knows everything about him, right from his favourite soccer club to his favourite x rated websites. He will complete her English homework, even at three in the night. She will arrange an Armani suit for him, even if it calls for flirting with ugly guys. He has her picture in his wallet. She has his number on speedial. They talk to each other all the time. They talk about each other when they don’t talk to each other. They discuss everything from periods to playstation. They have tasted alcohol and then thrown up…together. They have bunked countless tuitions… together. They cant live without each other. YET They don’t love each other. They are JUST FRIENDS.”

Also, for me, most importantly, the correct usage of the language made it an enjoyable experience. I’m happy Sumrit did not disappoint me. There is humor, wit, emotions, and an element of connectivity.

Good work. Worth reading.

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Book Review of “Love @ Facebook” By Nikita Singh

Love @ Facebook

Nikita Singh

Well, here we go. Another “chick-lit” by a young Indian author.

And this time the author ropes in Facebook too!

Sweet!!!

So this is about a bored teenager, Vatsala, who ends up falling in “love” with a VJ – after having seen him on TV and then hunting him on FB (it’s amazing what all and who all we can find on FB!).

A few messages they exchange – blatantly flirting and generating interest – to end up being almost “obsessed” by each other.

Vatsala’s friends Janavi and Ankit can’t do much to help. And Ankit’s “love” for Vatsala usually ends up being unnoticed.

“Come on! Like wasn’t that natural. I mean Hello! She’s all “goo goo gaa gaa” about the hot-shot VJ. Talking about him day and night. How do you think she’s going to notice your gestures?”

You see, that’s the tone I felt in the dialogues while reading the book.

It’s like hearing teenagers having a conversation with a friend. And the “yuppy” ones.

I know the ideation is quite nice and the flow very easy, there is humor and a bit of maturity (hidden somewhere) but maybe I was expecting more. Oh! I forgot the author is just about 19 or so! Oh ok then…this book is just fine.

It’s nice to see Nikita’s ideation of using the FB tool to develop the story around it. It sure is a fact nowadays. Quite a bit of stuff happens on FB.

*But I wonder why some people on other sites have used the “defence” way already while writing reviews for this book?

As of today, not many writers think of adding literary value in their work – and somehow even I’ve stopped expecting the same from them, so why go “defending” it. It’s a personal opinion. Some people like it. Some don’t. Why prick them?? I wouldn’t really expect “you” to like Shakespeare, now would I ?!

Anyways, other’s who have chanced to stumble upon this one, wait for a friend to buy it so that you can “borrow” it and read it. Like I did ;)

Yeah, I invest my money in International authors!

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Book Review of “South of Broad” By Pat Conroy

South of Broad

By Pat Conroy

I was “oh-so-excited” to read another creation of Pat Conroy, only to keep the book down with bigger disappointment.

The story is about a group of friends their heart-touching enduring bonds of friendship.

The story addresses a lot of issues of high concern – like racial and social divide in the community; problems in dysfunctional families; sexuality related issues; etc.

There’s a lot of melodrama, irony, absurdity, lots of unwanted twists with death, depression, suicide, rape giving it a bit of a soap opera feel rather than a beautiful story that was originally intended.

Conroy brings in elements of poetry to lift the spirit from the depths of misery and despair – if only he could incorporate better dialogue and setting, this book would’ve been a bigger success.

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Book Review of “Fantasy In Death” by J.D. Robb

Fantasy In Death

By J.D. Robb


The story is about four friends are about to release their state-of-art holo-game but one of them is found murdered in his apartment during a solo testing phase. Lt. Eve Dallas is on the case. With nothing to begin with – no witnesses, no weapons, no clues, it seems tough in the
beginning but her husband Roarke assists and consults her from time to time to help her sort itout. It gives a glimpse of the future, given the rise of technology at breakneck speed.The book shows the dynamics of Eve and her friends (Peabody and Nadine) indulging in friendly humorous quips and sometimes mindless chatter, taking digs at each other. The pairing of Eve and Roarke in this one feels real with the lady being more understanding and strong. Eve also opens up her heart and reflects over “emotions” like friendship and letting people in her life.

Overlooking the flaw of the editor (misuse of commas, spaces, etc) this is one fun mystery.

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Book Review of “Best Friends Forever” By Jennifer Weiner

Best Friends Forever

By Jennifer Weiner

 

A bold attempt by Weiner as she pens down the story of two friends that stand through thick and thin during school years but the moment they land up in high school they stand on the extremes of the popularity scale.

Addie Downs, fat and unpopular while Valerie Adler, amongst the most popular cheer leader and “eyed” girls of high school fall apart when Addie reveals that Valerie is raped by Dan Swansea (high school football team quarterback), leaving scars in the heart and minds of both.

Fifteen years down the line, Addie is seen living in her parent’s house taking care of her disabled brother while Valerie is a weather girl on the local Fox news station. On the night of their high school reunion Valerie takes her revenge on Dan and leaves him almost dead (or so she thinks) and goes seeking Addie’s help.

What follows next are light-hearted twists and turns and Thelma and Louise-style road trip, being chased by a cop who has quirky issues of his own. Long flashbacks, tragic events, heartbreaks, put the reader on a wondering spree to see if the long-lost friendship will be re-discovered in times of crisis and will their hearts rekindle love once again in their hearts.

A fun chick-lit is what this book is. The characters are typical, real and relatable. The events though sometimes come across as contrived and predictable – making it a bit boring, overall the book is a light read that takes you through a myriad of human emotions like grief, humor, suspense, regret, revenge, redemption, bonds, sometimes leaving you hysterical.

What lies beneath is the central theme of love and support that the bond of friendship provides.

 

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