Monday, August 22, 2011

Book Giveaway: Love, Logic and the God's Algorithm

Alright, so here's another exciting chance to win not one but 4 copies of an up and coming book - Love, Logic and the God's Algorithm by Saptarshi Basu.


A book that started its release on 15th August, Love, Logic and the God's Algorithm is the story of the Saptak's transition from his 3G life (no, its not what you think - its guitar, grass, and girls) to his professional life. He is then bewildered by his repetive and boring work - until one day, he decides to leave. And start his own company based on an idea. Love, life, and other struggles await him. What is his idea? And will he get what he wants in life? 


It is very simple to win this book! Simply answer the following question (which, incidentally) forms the CORE of the book. 

How long can you wait to you hear your inner voice? How long can you wait to clear your heart’s doubt?

You can write your answer here as a comment (be sure to include your name and email address) or send over an email to 

Additional credit? 

We are giving you a chance to improve your chances of winning the book! Simply promote this book on social media like facebook, and send us a link along with your entry! (You can promote either of the following links: ( (Flipkart link) or (The novel's blog). 


The give-away ends on 15th September, so get in your entries ASAP! Best of luck!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Der Deutsche Sommer by Arnab Chakraborty

Der Deutsche Sommer promises to transport you to Germany.

This premise, I admit, is very fascinating. I mean, who doesn't want to be a student on his first trip abroad alone - free, curious, full of life? I sure would love to do something similar. And the author does share a lot of his experiences that I did like a lot - his struggles of being able to live in a budget, his excitement at going to Germany, his time there, his experience with trying to find vegetarian food - I think every time the author started talking about his own experiences, the book started picking up. Because I really did enjoy the story of someone in a mysterious land, exploring it and understanding it piece by piece. I wish the book had been made up only of such moments (though honestly they were actually not even close to enough) - it would have put it in a higher league than it currently stands.

The problem with this book is that the author intersperses in the narrative to give you information that sounds like its from wikipedia - information about Germany's GDP, or about the football world cup, or things like that - chapters and chapters of this book are less about the author's own experiences and more like a factoid about Germany. If you want to enjoy this book, you need to go in expecting exactly that - loads of facts (important ones, though I fear the facts about the university he studied in will be important for only a very limited demographic) and loads of information. Now, of course, if you're planning to go to Germany all this information might actually be useful to you, but for someone looking for a travelogue, it might be a bit of a problem to go through the pages of information to the parts you're actually waiting for.

That is not to say that all the facts were dull and boring - I did enjoy learning more about Hitler than I'd known before in the chapters where he does talk about Hitler (in fact, I admit to skipping through the book to read those first) - though I suppose I enjoyed it slightly more because I read the book while I was studying World War II in history class. I can't guarantee everyone will feel the same, but still, its exciting to read about Hitler - more than the FIFA world cup, and certainly more than wikipedia-esque information about Germany that told me a lot about the country but failed to make me feel anything. I do wish I would've gotten more information on how the author reacted to the things he learned and saw, but instead I got the dry facts, which are personally not my favorite thing in the world.

Final thoughts: Its a factoid mixed with a travelogue - an interesting starting point if you want to visit Germany, as long as you know what you can expect from the book.

Other thoughts: You'll be able to see author Arnab Chakraborty on my blog soon for an interview. Stay tuned!

(Financial disclosure: Book source was the author.) 

Friday, July 1, 2011

Book Giveaway: Broken Hearts by Shrenik Mutha

So, Shrenik Mutha, author of Broken Hearts, is offering a copy of his book to one lucky winner! And what's more, if you enter the competition, you might also get a chance to attend his planned writer's workshop and get a publishing opportunity at the end of it!

It is really simple to enter this contest! Just write up any of your thoughts on the Rain (in at least 300 words - which is three detailed paragraphs) and send it over to Its completely freestyle as long as its about the rain in some way or the other. Please make sure you have [giveaway] in the subject of your email and include your name! 

Deadline: To be announced soon. 

More about the book: Read my review of the book here and my interview with Shrenik here

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

A Dilli-Mumbai (Love) Story by Abhimanyu Jha

A Dilli-Mumbai <3 Story can melt your heart.

I will frankly tell you that I'm not often a sucker for love stories, and recently I've read so many that it is really difficult to make me a like a love story simply because I've read too many. However, A Dilli-Mumbai (Love) Story did not only make me go, "Aww" at places, but also made me almost cry near the end. Note that I say near, and not at the end, where many talented authors can get a tear or two out of me simply by killing a character I was especially fond of. I will not tell you whether or not Abhimanyu Jha does this, but I will tell you that I was very pleased with how he went with the conclusion and I was extremely glad he did not chicken out and rob this story of the end that it rightfully deserved. I think that he handled a pretty turbulent subject - a love story that happens in the time of terrorism (or more specifically, the terror attacks on the Taj Hotel in Mumbai) - with the subtlety that the subject demanded.

I liked the writing a lot. It was not only impeccable as far as spelling and grammar were concerned, but was also extremely well-paced. I loved how the author skips between the scenes of many different years in one chapter and makes you realize the significance of each line that Apu (the female lead) says - and when the author repeats some of these at the end of the book, well, thats the time when I felt like crying. The author handles the non-linear storyline with remarkable ease and makes it very easy for the reader as well by providing dates at every scene break (though I admit to having skipped those most of the time - after two scenes I knew which one belonged to which time period). I don't think many readers will have trouble understanding this book, which is written simply but elegantly. There is abundant use of colloquial language, hindi, and chat speak - all at appropriate locations. The only place where I could complain was when there was a <3 used in the place of the word 'love' even in dialogue, which I found terribly annoying. Yes, I get how its cute and matches with the title of the book and all that, but I find such things jarring in the actual narrative. I can understand chatspeak and smileys when you're showing the texts of the characters (in fact, I LOVED that touch) but not in the middle of the story for no apparent reason.

The characters were another thing I really liked about the book. At first, I will admit, with names like Aniruddha (shortened to Ani) and Aparajita (shortened to Apu) I was a little confused as to which one was male and which one was female. But they turned out to be extremely well-written characters (especially Ani, who narrates the book) filled with flaws and loves and dreams and lives that were bigger than the story itself. Yes, they got filmi sometimes, especially with the whole love at first sight and "I love you so much I'll put aside my dreams for you" stuff but thankfully they didn't overdo it. The other characters were also fun and believable - I loved Ani's sister Aaru and his best friend Rohan and Gill Uncle - who was a great character and also Ani's friend, companion, guide and only source of comfort. In fact, had the others not been such great characters, I might have been more upset at the end of the book. The way things are, I'm convinced that everyone will get out of the tragedy that is terrorism and move on with their lives somehow.

Final thoughts: Well-written, touching without being extremely cheesy and with great characters - A Dilli-Mumbai <3 (Love) Story is worth a read.

Other thoughts: Look out for author Abhimanyu Jha's interview on my blog soon! Until then, stay tuned because I've got many great books to review in the next two weeks.

(Financial disclosure: Book source was the author.) 


Friday, June 24, 2011

Interview: Douglas Misquita

Do you like thrillers? Then you might like Haunted by Douglas Misquita, which I reviewed recently. Want to know more? Check out my review with the author himself! 

1. I'd like to begin this interview by asking you what kind of books are there on your bookshelf? What books are you reading right now? Which genre of books do you generally read? Which books do you re-read again and again?

Hi Sakhi. My bookshelf is full of techno-thrillers, adventure-thrillers, conspiracy-thrillers...THRILLERS, a few biographies, Tintin and Asterix comics, encyclopaedia (now redundant because of the Internet), Hans Christian Anderson fairy-tales,  abridged classics, Noddy! (I haven't given them away!) The 3 Investigators, Masters of the Universe mini comics, Nat Geo and now a Kindle!

Right now I'm reading I, Sniper by Stephen Hunter

Which genre do I read? See above (smiles)

I pick up any of my books and read the exciting parts again and again. I've read the Tintin comics almost to the near 3-digit numbers and Jurassic Park 9 times. And I'm not telling you how many times I've watched the movie!

2. Tell us something about your work before "Haunted"?

Before Haunted, there were short fiction that I wrote on single-ruled books and a lot of discarded and frustrated writings that stonewalled and some songs I composed.

3. Did you always want to be a writer? How did you get into writing? What inspired you to write "Haunted"?

I'm sure people might know this by-heart now. I wanted to be a writer from 1993. I got into writing when I tried to emulate the late Michael Crichton's Jurassic Park in my own El Dorado-themed adventure. Fast-action-movies with in-your-face visual effects combined with my interest (and almost everyone's) in a troubled/ traumatized psyche inspired me to write "Haunted"

4. What kind of people do you think this book will reach out to?

Anyone who loves movies, high-octane action, and want to escape their routine.  There's no age-limit: I guess you could read it to a newborn baby with all the sound effects and visuals and hold it enthralled (smiles); read it to your grandparents and they'd be itching for those stunts!
5. What is your favourite thing about books and reading? How have books made an impact on your life?

Books and the stories and information they hold transport me to places. How have books made an impact on my life? Given me an active imagination, produced "Haunted", taught me a lot about the world we live in and where we are headed, given me a lot of imitable idols.

6. Quick take. Answer the following with the first words/phrase that comes to your mind, in five words or less:

Thrillers – Excitement ahoy!

Life – Acceptance and courage

-  Kirk Ingram (the character) – Troubled

Haunted (the book) – Raw adrenaline

Books – Comfort


And after that awesome interview, I have some good news. If you ever wondered about me, you can now check out an interview of me on Jidhu's blog.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Haunted by Douglas Misquita

Haunted by Douglas Misquita can keep you up at nights.


It is a really complex thriller about a terrorism outfit that will ultimately intersect with the lives of not just people like Kirk Ingram (the person I would call the protagonist) an FBI agent, but also many other people like a naval explorer looking for sunken ships, a group of scientists researching a nerve gas called Citex, a young lawyer, an ex-FBI agent now working for another side - and many, many more. I mentioned that the plot is complex, and the characters are also many and the different plot lines (till they converge) may confuse many readers. On the other hand, if you're the type of person who loves a good complex but extremely coherent and eventually very neatly tied up plot, then you're in for a treat. Haunted seems to be (and I admit I am uninitiated as far as crime thrillers of this type are concerned) a well-researched and well thought-out book, with enough twists and turns to keep you occupied, enough drama to keep you engaged, and enough different characters to make you want to keep a list. 

The characters are all introduced to you at various different, emotional or conflict-filled situations in their life, which I think really adds to the book because I found an immediate connect with most of the (I hesitate to use this word, but) good characters. The antagonists were a little harder to keep track off, especially because the story weaves in and out of many different plot lines and you might forget one when you're on another - especially if, like me, you read the book in whatever minutes you can snatch in a bus ride or in school breaks. I recommend you read this book at a stretch and not get disheartened if all the parts of the story do not make sense immediately - I know I had to re-read certain parts of the book before I understood what had happened, and I plan to re-read a few more parts immediately after I finish this review. Its definitely not the kind of book you can flip through without reading - you do have to pay attention to understand the story - but the story is quite interesting and does manage to hold your attention without much trouble. 

One of the problems that I faced with the story was its pacing. Somehow I felt that the beginning, that should have gripped me immediately (and I talk about chapter 1, not the prologue, which definitely chilled me) was slow and through me off balance. There was a lot of description of the weather and the nameless 'person' that I did not want and did not find relevant. I would recommend skimming through parts you can't get through and coming back at the end of the chapter - they are certainly interesting and even relevant later on. However, there were also a lot of positives about the author's writing - no spelling or grammatical errors, and great and interesting chapter headings. I particularly loved "The Haunting" chapters, and I would have loved some more of those, though I do understand why there weren't too many. 

Final thoughts: Interesting, complicated, well-written. Definitely a great read for people who like dark thrillers. 

Other thoughts: Author Douglas Misquita has gracefully agreed to appear on my blog for an interview! Keep checking back!

(Financial disclosure: Book source was the author.) 

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Interview: Nikesh Rathi

So, do you remember Somewhere @ Nowhere, which I reviewed on my blog recently? Today I have author Nikesh Rathi on my blog! Welcome, Nikesh. 

1. I'd like to begin this interview by asking you what kind of books are there on your bookshelf? What books are you reading right now? Which genre of books do you generally read? Which books do you re-read again and again?
I have quite random reading habits. I read random articles from newspapers, magazines and websites to books – fiction as well as nonfiction.

I have quite a disorganized bookshelf! Currently I am reading Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse. Before that I read Liar’s Poker by Michael Lewis and some short stories by Ruskin Bond and Roald Dahl. Next, I am planning to read A short history of nearly everything by Bill Bryson.   Some of my all time favourites are 1984, Animal Farm, The Godfather, The Alchemist, Catcher in the Rye, To kill a mockingbird etc. and I have read most of these multiple times.

2. Tell us something about your work before "Somewhere @ Nowhere"?
 I belong to Raipur, have done most of my schooling at Baroda, my engineering at NIT, Bhopal (2005) and MBA at IIM, Lucknow (2008) and worked in IT, FMCG and education sectors.

3. Did you always want to be a writer? How did you get into writing? What inspired you to write "Somewhere @ Nowhere"?
Writing is more of a hobby. Full time writing is like wishful thinking!
I used to blog somewhat regularly and used to write short stories, poems and articles, some of which have also featured in sites like IBNLive and Rediff. I started writing a book quite a few times, but never got going. Finally I overcame the inertia and Somewhere @ Nowhere happened.  I always had keen interest in travelling and knowing about places and people. I guess, these factors, apart from trying to come up with something different were instrumental in shaping the book.

4. What kind of people do you think this book will reach out to?
I think this is for people who want to read something more than just chick lit or pulp fiction. I have tried my best not to make it one of those run of the mill kind of books. I think age is not a factor in determining if you’ll like it. I have actually received some nice compliments from not so young people!

5. What is your favourite thing about books and reading? How have books made an impact on your life?
Reading lets you to explore new things and broaden one’s thinking and outlook. Every time I read, I become amazed by how little I know and there is so much to learn and explore.
I can’t pinpoint a particular book that made an impact on my life. But some books that have impacted my thinking in varying magnitudes are Animal Farm, 1984, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Alchemist, Catcher in the Rye, etc. (most of which happen to be among my favourites!)

6. Quick take. Answer the following with the first words/phrase that comes to your mind, in five words or less:
India – A superset made of different Indias.
Life – Random
Somewhere @ Nowhere – Hopefully, a masterpiece.
Unplanned Journeys – Wish to undertake some day.
Books – Exploring new horizons

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