The Cinderella of Karnal : A psychological thriller – Reecha Agarwal Goyal

Lately, the books that I have read, focus more on mental health issues. It was not a conscious decision to pick these books but incidentally, they all point to one thing – Mental Well-being. The Cinderella of Karnal was an interesting thriller. It revolves around many issues and social stigmas in India. I would say that this book was surprising and it was a great read for me.

Diya, a girl from Karnal suffers because everyone thinks she is inauspicious because her father died when she was born. She struggles all through her childhood and when forced to marry an unsuitable man, she leaves her house and tries to make a living on her own. She makes it well in life but will her past trouble her present forms the crust of the story.

The writing is simple and plot has many intricate details that makes the book very interesting. It  leaves a cliff hanger in the end and that’s the icing on the cake. I would rate this book 4/5. I would recommend this book to those who are looking to read something fast and thrilling. Thanks Writers Club India for the review copy. 

Earth to Centauri: Black Hole Oblivion: One Ship. One Crew. No Escape – Kumar L.

This is book three in the Earth to Centauri series. I really liked the first two ones and was excited to read this one too. It sure delivered in entertainment. I always pick a book with an expectation to be transported to another world. This book was my perfect escape from reality for a few days. It had all the action, drama, and science packed in one awesome story. I really appreciate that the author yet again succeeded in keeping the readers engaged with the right mix of science and fiction.

Captain Anara and her spaceship Antariksh get caught in a black hole from where nothing can escape. The crew tries hard to escape and Anara needs to face her deepest fears to save Earth. The combination of Science and faith really works well in this book. The characters are strong and the science terminologies are used in the right places and make the book more interesting. The writing is simple and fast-paced which makes it all the more enjoyable to read.

This one is a treat to all sci-fi lovers. Even if you are not a fan of Sci-fi, give this one a try because it has all the elements of a great story. The gorgeous cover deserves a special mention too. I rate it 4/5. Thanks Writers Club India for the review copy.

Jasmine Builds on Shifting Sands: A Self – Help Fiction – Sanjay Desai

The title says it all. It’s the story of a female protagonist who tries to achieve something in life and the author has artfully combined self-help into the story to help us understand the concepts of manifestation better. I was intrigued by the title and the blurb. I was so excited to read this one as I love reading self-help books with great examples especially the ones with a great narrative and a story to help you understand better and implement them in life. So, as I said, the title hit the right buttons for me and I purchased the book immediately and was thrilled to read it.

I must say, the most profound parts of the book for me were the Prologue and the Epilogue. The author mentions in the book that you could skip these parts and yet you would get the story, but I strongly recommend reading them both for beautiful insights into life. It’s a conversation between the author and his spiritual guru. It is really helpful because many might have the same questions that the author asks in their minds and don’t have the means to get them answered. Well, this helps us understand the importance of focus, manifestation, inspiration, and hard work. Plus, the book also encourages us to get up and dust ourselves in case of failure even after working so hard. That’s the main highlight that I take away from this amazing self-help fiction read.

Apart from the mind refreshing conversations in the prologue and epilogue, it also tells the story of Jasmine, a beautiful young girl. She is shy and is an academic topper in her college. Life takes a wild turn when her friends make her participate in a beauty pageant in their college. She wins and is discovered by the famous Ms. Sheena Jaiswal, a modeling agent. From there on she wins the title Miss Mumbai under the guidance of Ms. Jaiswal and she juggles between her academics and her newfound love of the fashion/beauty industry. In her new glamorous life, she meets many influential persons who help her focus, never lose heart, and keep trying to achieve her goal. Does she go on to win the Miss India pageant forms the rest of the story.

You can take a lot out of Jasmine’s experiences in trying to make a name for her. The author has intelligently woven the self – help materials into the story that add great value to the book and help us immensely. The writing is excellent and the narrative flows easily between the parallel worlds of Jasmine and the serene Himalayas. There is never a point where you feel it’s all overwhelming. Everyone wants the best in life. Everyone wants to succeed in their profession. Everyone gives their best. But what you take from these experiences matter a lot than the success itself. Thank you BlogAdda for suggesting this awesome book and I had a great time reading and reviewing this one. I give 4/5 to this self-help fiction.

The Gifted Words – Manish Kumar

This was the last book that I read in 2020 and it helped me end the year with a good story. The Gifted Words is a beautiful story about a father’s love. Being a daughter is always special. Especially with ones who cry seeing wedding scenes like mine, there is never a dull moment. The book oozes love in every page. It’s a father daughter story that will leave you happy and sad.

Sneha’s father is a librarian and is suffering from a fatal disease. All he wants is to find the best partner for Sneha who would look after her just like him before he dies. Sneha and Prince fall in love. Will their love last the test of time and death?
Will prince proved to be the best choice for Sneha?

The story is quite simple. While reading, it gives a good vibe. It gives hope and something to look forward to. It is a small book and you could finish it off soon. The writing is elegant and easy to follow. One thing that stands out in this book is the unconditional love that a father has for his daughter. Like they say, for every daughter, her father is her King and first love, Sneha cherishes her father too. The characters stay with you long after you have finished reading the book and that’s the success of this book. I would rate it 4/5 for pure love. Thank you Writers Club India for the lovely review copy.

Earth to Centauri: Alien Hunt – L. Kumar

This is the second book in the Earth to Centauri series. The first one was so amazing that I started this book with great expectations. Alien Hunt exceeded my expectations and just made me excited for the next book in the series. Science –fiction being one of my favorite genres to read, this series would definitely make my top10 list. This is not only a Science – fiction drama but also a techno-thriller.

It is all set in 2118 and Anara, the female protagonist is pushed to make decisions that would affect the world. The way she handles them and suspects the sources are interesting to read. Anara is very strong and inspiring. The story just moves forward with twists and so much technology. It was exciting to read it because this might happen soon for real with the technology growing rapidly every day.

The narrative is strong and gave me an edge of the seat experience. All the spaceships, aliens, and the galaxy didn’t overwhelm me but pulled me into the parallel universe and the story is so gripping that made it difficult for me to put it down. I rate this one 4/5. I am eagerly waiting for the next book in the series. I would recommend it to all sci-fi enthusiasts. Thanks Writers Club India for the review copy.

Sitayana – Rajnih Rethesh

It is an amazingly written thriller that will speak directly to the feminist in you. It is true that the world has changed for the better. It is true that women are progressing in all walks of life. Unfortunately, it is also true that women still suffer physical and mental abuse at the home, office, and other places. At home, all the adjustments asked of her are in the name of love for her family. It is not only some men that subject women to abuse, it is also some women who are quick to judge and therefore abuse and cause stress to women in general.

Sitayana has two stories running in parallel. One is about Sitalakshmi, a columnist and writer and another one is about Sita from Ramayana. It compares both of them and highlights how things are still the same from ancient times. It all starts with the disappearance of Sitalakshmi, the writer of a controversial book in which Rama is depicted in a negative way. Sitalakshmi is a devoted wife, mother and who looks after her home as well as her office work. She is the type of woman who does all the work at home. Her husband takes her for granted. Sitalakshmi becomes a leader of the women’s committee of a political party. The leader of the political party is Gauri Naik whom Sitalakshmi admires a lot. Gauri Naik is found murdered in her office. Diana, a police officer is assigned to the Sitalakshmi’s missing case. The story builds up the suspense with each chapter and was a delight to read. I do not want to give away the spoilers.

The narrative was excellent with two parallel stories. The writing is simple and enthralls with suspense. It shows the known mythological story from a different perspective. The story of Sitalakshmi is a must-read and it may serve as a wake-up call for all men and women. I would rate it 4/5. Thanks Writers Club India for the opportunity to read and review this wonderful book.

How to Communicate Strategically in the Corporate World – Mahul Brahma

This is a perfect manual to help in understanding the importance and the concept of communicating strategically in a corporate world. It is a short book of 40 pages where the message is clear and crisp in each chapter. The examples help very much in understanding the principles. It is easy to understand and will have a positive impact on one’s career if used properly.

The author covers various topics including crisis, crisis management, change management, challenges faced by the organization. Each chapter is well explained with examples. The language is elegant and the narrative helps in understanding the concepts better. It is explained like a story. Even if you are not from the corporate world, the teachings of this book can be used in life too. Overall, the return on investment in this book is very high.

You can take so much from this book that will help in your career growth. Especially, during these Covid times, where Work From Home has become a norm, communicating strategically plays a much bigger role now more than ever. It was a solid 5/5 read for me. Thanks Writers Club India for the review copy.

Earth to Centauri: The First Journey – Kumar L

I am a fan of sci-fi thrillers and when I read the blurb of The First Journey, I was definitely intrigued and fascinated to read the book. I am very glad to say that the book highly delivers on the entertainment quotient. It is a fantastic science fiction thriller that has created the perfect base for a series. It was enthralling to get lost in the past and the future. The author has succeeded in transporting us to interstellar space with this thriller. With many facts and explanations about interstellar space, this book keeps you glued to it until the end. Sure the first book of the series has created a lot of expectations for the whole series itself.

It is about an interstellar chase led by Anara when Earth receives an alien signal from the nearest star – Proxima Centauri. Anara is given the latest faster than light spaceship called Antariksh for the mission. Will she be able to surpass all the obstacles and reach her goal? Or will the problems in her own spaceship hinder her way to success? Will she successfully meet the aliens? The book is full of twists and turns and was very interesting to follow the chase.

The language was simple. The narrative was excellent and there was a seamless transition between the past and the future. The story was engaging till the end and makes you want to read the next book in the series immediately. By the way, I really liked the character names. Even the spaceship’s name was very Indian and real. If you really like reading about space, this book will not disappoint you. I would rate it 4/5. Thanks Writers Club India for the review copy.

Fifteen Minutes Fifteen Seconds – Punit Pundir

It was a refreshing read. You get a lot of insight into spirituality from the book. The author has succeeded in transporting us to Kedarnath and its adjacent places. The book speaks in detail about the human mind and feelings. The biggest plus of this book is that it gives a lot of valuable information and is not very preachy. It is a short book of 62 pages and you could complete it in one go too.

The book starts with Arya practicing Meditation. It is his daily ritual along with drinking alcohol in the evening. The book does not delve deeper into why he took to drinking. But we can understand that Arya got spiritual because of his mother. But his mind keeps oscillating between Spirituality and atheism. Arya and his mother’s family plan to go to Kedarnath. It has been his mother’s dream for so long. So they all go on the trip. But flood occurs and he loses his family. And thereby loses his will to live. He goes on a journey alone to find his purpose.

The book discussed random things like bargaining in the temple markets, how some vendors are greedy and some are honest in these pilgrimage places. I liked that because Arya tried to find the meaning behind why these people acted in that way. And while reading the flood part in the book, I could not help myself from thinking about Kedarnath movie and Sushant. The ending was unexpected and was easily the best part of the book.  Apart from some grammatical errors, the book was interesting to read. If you are looking for an intense short story, please do read this one. I rate it 4/5. Thanks Writers Club India for the review copy.

Voices Beneath Our Waves – Dhaval Radia

It is a beautiful story of love, friendship, and family. No matter how violent or how wrong a person is, if you are family then you are family. You never let go of family. All we can do is try to help them change for the better. Be with them through the rough times. This is one such short story of an estranged family.

The story is narrated by Anna, a coconut –seller who loves his daughter Gutthi whom he found in a temple as a baby. Gutthi helps Anna in selling coconut in the shack near the beach in Mumbai. They both share a special friendship too. Gutthi could find all her answers in Anna. They both enjoy looking at all the different people who frequent the beach every day. One of his customers is Raghu who is a gangster in Mumbai. His wife Maya and he are almost separated because of a poor decision made by Raghu’s father. He ordered that his granddaughter be killed because the first child in the family should be a boy.

This story seems straight forward. You can guess the parents of Gutthi very soon but the turn of events is very intricate and complicated. I really liked the way the story picked up the pace with some unexpected revelations. It is a book that you cannot put down until you read the ending. It was simple and interesting. The special bond between Anna and Gutthi is heart touching. The ending was very fitting and unexpected. I also liked the soulful conversations between Anna and Raghu at the beach. It was very philosophical and gave a lot to think about. Overall it was an amazing read. I rate it 4/5. Thank you Writers Club India for the review copy.