Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Book Review: Dilli Darbaar by Satya Vyas

© Written by Tarang Sinha








'उस रोज़ दो घटनाएं हुई थीं। दिन में मोहल्ले वालों ने शुक्ला जी की टीवी पर रामायण देखा और रात में महाभारत हो गया.'

सत्य व्यास रचित  'दिल्ली दरबार' की कहानी कुछ ऐसे शुरू होती है, और पूरी किताब में आपको कई ऐसी या इससे भी बेहतर पंच लाइने मिल जाएंगी जो आपको मुस्कुराने पर मजबूर देंगी। 

दिल्ली दरबार कहानी है हद से ज्यादा लापरवाह, दिलफेंक आशिक, और चालाक - कुल मिलाकर सर्व अवगुण संपन्न राहुल मिश्र की। ये कहानी है प्यार और दोस्ती की, और हर उस बात की जो एक माध्यम वर्गीय/छोटे शहर के युवाओं से सम्बंधित होती है। 

और कथावाचक है उनके  परम मित्र (और मेरे पसंदीदा पात्र), मोहित जो अपने मित्र से बिलकुल विपरीत स्वाभाव के हैं फिर भी उनका साथ किसी भी परिस्थिति में नहीं छोड़ते। कहानी कहाँ से शुरू की जाये ये समझ नहीं आने के कारण मोहित कहानी शुरू करते है राहुल मिश्र की तुड़ाई से। 

'इसकी शिकायत करते करते प्रिंसिपल रिटायर हो गया। इतनी बार शिकायत आयी है कि इसके कॉलेज में इससे ज्यादा अटेंडेंस तो मेरा होगा।' ये कहना है राहुल के पिताजी का। 

रांची की बेपरवाह ज़िन्दगी को त्याग कर राहुल मिश्र और मोहित पहुचते है... सही पकडे हैं...दिल्ली। पढाई, जिसमे राहुल मिश्र की कोई रूचि नहीं है, छोड़कर वो रुख करते है लड़कियों का, जिसमे उनकी अत्यधिक रूचि है। और फिर शुरू होती है ज़िन्दगी की असल आपाधापी। राहुल मिश्र कैसे-कैसे और कहाँ-कहाँ फसेंगे (फसेंगे ये तो तय है) और स्वाभिक रूप से अपने परम मित्र को फसाएँगे? क्या उन्हें एहसास होगा की संभल जाने में ही भलाई है? क्या उन्हें कभी सच्चा प्यार होगा?

'प्रेम के कारण नहीं होते; परिणाम होते है पर प्रेम में परिणाम की चिंता तबतक नहीं होती जबतक देर न हो जाए।'

ये जानने के लिए आपको पढ़ना होगा दिल्ली दरबार। और अगर आप थ्री इडियट्स या फुकरे जैसी फिल्में पसंद करते हैं (हांलाकि इस किताब की कहानी बिलकुल अलग है) और अगर आप उत्तर भारत से आते हैं, तो आपको ये किताब निश्चिततौर पर पसंद आएगी। मैंने प्रदेश का जिक्र इसलिए किया है किया है क्योंकि इस किताब  के संवादों में प्रादेशिक असर है। बिहार/झारखंड/यूपी की भाषा में 'खांटी बिहारी' संवाद हैं। मगर यही बात आपको गुदगुदा सकती है अगर आप इस प्रदेश से आते हैं।  

ऐसा नहीं कह सकते की कहानी अलग है, मगर उसका प्रस्तुतीकरण अच्छा है। लेखन हल्का-फुल्का और मज़ेदार हैं। कहानी की गति अच्छी है और कई घटनाएं ऐसी हैं जो आपको हँसायेंगी। सभी पात्र/घटनाओं का अपना महत्व है। कहानी का अंत संतोषजनक है हालांकि ये कहानी कोई सन्देश देती नज़र नहीं आती। 

चूँकि इस किताब में कई अंग्रेजी संवाद है, इसलिए  -  I'd like to conclude the review in my usual way. I really enjoyed reading this book. For me, it was a funny, witty and entertaining read!

I received this book from the publisher (Westland Books) for an honest review.


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Friday, January 27, 2017

Book Review: Lanka's Princess by Kavita Kane

© Written by Tarang Sinha



Finished yet another mythological fiction, my new favourite genre. Lanka's Princess is Kavita Kane's 4th book (Again by Rupa Publications), however, this is my first book by the author.

Although, Mahabharata is more advanced, complicated and multilayered - basically more interesting, I find the women characters of Ramayana intriguing.

Kavita Kane is known for her lesser known/talked female mythological characters like Urmila, Karna's wife and Menaka, but this time she has chosen a very well known character as her protagonist.

This book tells about Surpanakha, a very significant character of Ramayan; her emotions, sexuality and role in Ramayan - from her point of view.

Lanka's Princess starts with prologue where Krishna meets Kubja, and I loved this part even though I don't like the idea of prologue. The author has portrayed Krishna beautifully!

The setting has been described really well - it creates vivid imagery. Characterization is nice. I particularly liked little Surpanakha's relationship with her grandmother, Taraka who loves her - somehow an ignored child - unconditionally and encourages her wholeheartedly. Also, the scenes where Surpanakha converses with Sita and Urmila were interesting.

'You make the world believe what you are, not believe what the world believes of you.'

Writing is good, of course, however several editing errors were a tad disappointing. Usage of words like cerebral and damn in 'dialogues' felt odd for this genre.The first half of the book is slow and repetitive, but picks up in the second half.  But, the end (including the epilogue) seemed rushed. Some important incidents just pass without much importance they deserved.

The main story starts with Surpanakha's birth, and then, it goes on in a linear way. It seemed more prototypical than imaginative. I didn't find any lesser known anecdotes (except for the prologue)- an important factor for mythology (in my opinion).

Overall, it was a nice read but not as exciting as I had expected it to be. But, if you enjoy mythological fiction, go for it.

I received this book from the publisher for an honest review.


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Sunday, January 15, 2017

9 Things I Have learnt As A First-Time Author - Part 2

© Written by Tarang Sinha








For those who don't know me or are visiting my blog for the first time, I have published my first book, We Will Meet Again, last year, and here I am sharing my learning experiences. You may want to read the first part. Sharing the link.

9 Things I've Learnt As A First-Time Author - Part 1

Here goes the second part.

FIRST-TIME AUTHORS - YOU...


SHOULD NOT rush to get your work published.

'Haste is the mother of imperfection' - this old saying still carries a lot of weight. Time is an important factor. Don't waste time but do give your manuscript some time. Let it rest. Then write. Revise. Re-write. Edit.

Have patience. If you think you are very patient, then have some more patience.

SHOULD (read must) Get a Beta Reader.

You should write what you love, but avoid loving what you write. Believe in your story and characters - that's very important - but don't love what you have written.

Get a Beta reader even when you think that your manuscript is perfect, and you don't need one. Trust me, you badly need a Beta reader. Not necessarily a professional who charges hefty amount, but someone who is willing to spend time on your work. Someone who reads a lot especially the genre you are writing in. And, someone who can be honest - brutally honest. You don't have to agree on every point she/he mentions as you know your craft better, but it does help you to see your own story (And, the way it progresses) in a new light. To fix plot holes. You don't want your readers to fall into those big-tiny (plot)holes, do you?

SHOULD NOT  seek perfection in your first draft.

Perfection - let it remain an exciting journey. It will instill a disturbing restlessness in your mind if you try to make it your destination. Please understand, perfection is a mirage.
Don't expect much from your first or even second draft. Finish your manuscript first; it could be good bad or even ugly. Doesn't matter. Collecting your wandering thoughts and ideas, capturing your imagination that crawls in your mind constantly, and clutching those ephemeral flashes of ideas are more important that making your manuscript perfect. You can polish your craft later. And, do polish it later nicely.

SHOULD  Edit your manuscript meticulously (and immaculately).

This is the biggest problem. Not just self published/first-time authors, but even biggies make mistakes. It's wise to hire professional editor (at least for final proofreading), but that can be tricky. There is no 100% guarantee of getting an immaculate, error-free manuscript. You must choose wisely. However, self-editing is possible.

(Careful) Editing is the essence good writing. Writers must take it very seriously and do it very carefully. (Self Editing Tips That Work - it requires another post. Will write it soon).


Tell me what's your take? Are you writing/planning to write your first novel? Or written one already? Please share your views. I'm all ears (err eyes), always ready to learn.



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Saturday, January 14, 2017

Book Review: Someone To Love by Ruchita Misra

© Written by Tarang Sinha



I love romance fiction, but it doesn't mean every romance would appeal me. There are some books that hook you so much that you don't care about social media updates. About your favourite movie that's been airing on the television. For me, Someone To Love was one such book. Gone are the days when I wouldn't budge without finishing the book I enjoyed. But, this a book that you would want to finish in one sitting.

I have read Ruchita Misra before - her debut book, The (In)Eligible Bachelor. I really liked the humour in her writing, but this book is a little serious and intense. Usually, authors get repetitive, but I am so pleased to see the growth in Ms. Misra's writing - both style and content-wise for this is very different from her first book, however, I haven't read her book two or three.

Someone To Love is a beautiful portrayal of love and childhood friendship.

This story is about Atharv and Koyal who are childhood friends and are inseparable. Even adulthood could not change their pure relationship until one fateful day, when something strange happens and their beautiful relationship turns ugly. Atharv, utterly confused, fumes with anger, pretends that he hates her, however, Koyal, short-tempered, does something that destroys her life.

Years later, when they are almost settled, they meet in an unexpected way, and their life gets jolted once again. Are they made for each other and don't even realize that? Or have they lost each other forever? What was the reason that distorted their friendship? You need to read the book, and if you like reading romance, if you like emotional tales, you won't be disappointed.

The book is very cleaverly crafted that makes the story unpredictable. 'Cleaverly' because the story is (vastly) inspired by a movie, but I realized this in the second half. And, even when I realized that,  I didn't lose my interest. The writing style, embellished with beautiful thoughts/quotes, is very interesting. The characterization and character development are skillful! I loved the character of Atharv.

The story has been told in multiple points of view (I am not fan of multiple PoV), but it doesn't make the read confusing. Except for Kimberly's POV, I thought every point of view was significant and added something important to the story.

If I have to point something negative in this book, it would be some editing errors as this book comes from a big brand like Harper Collins India. I didn't like the cover much. Also, I didn't get the epilogue. I thought it could have been done more interestingly.

Still, I would say that it was a lovely, engrossing read. Good writing/style, unpredictability, and the ability to grip - as a reader, these three things are important, and this book has all these ingredients of a good read!

Thank you so much, Writer's Melon for sending the review copy for an honest review.



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9 Things I Have learnt As A First-Time Author - Part 1

© Written by Tarang Sinha




If you don't know me or visiting my blog for the first time, then I would like to tell you that I published my first book, We Will Meet Again...last year. It's a mature love story of Paridhi and Abhigyan, an eccentric couple in a love-hate relationship. We Will Meet Again is not just about falling in love, it's about believing in love and growing in a beautiful relationship. You may like it if you like relatable characters and convincing situations.

It was a tough and long journey, and a learning experience too. With my book, I have grown. My writing process has changed. My approach is different now.

So, here I am sharing - not preaching - just sharing my learning experience. If you are an aspiring writer, you may find it helpful. If you are a new writer (Like me), please share your learning experiences. And, if you are an experienced writer (And still reading this post), please share your advice - what works best for you.


FIRST-TIME AUTHORS - YOU

SHOULD be very careful about your craft.

Being a debut author doesn't mean you can publish anything, and it would be excusable. Since you can self publish (any day), it does not mean you don't need to polish their work.

Think - think deeply how can you make your craft better.

SHOULD NOT take rejections personally and don't let your enthusiasm diminish. It's natural - rejection - for everything we try to do. Editors are not our enemies. If they reject our work, there must be some reason. We need to understand/find that reason, and work, work, work hard.

SHOULD write in a reader friendly voice

Your writing should be good. Clean, crisp and simple, not flowery. AVOID it. It doesn't work. Write in a manner that readers could connect with, and THIS connection is crucial.

SHOULD NOT save your best for later.

As a first-time author, your future (as a writer) is uncertain. Unlock your imagination, and put your best ideas into your first manuscript. Saving your ideas for your next book is not a good idea. New ideas float everywhere. Listen. Watch. Read. Observe. You will find many. Put your ultimate effort in making your first manuscript good. It's true that we, writers, write books, but eventually, a good book gives birth to a good writer.

SHOULD Try to break the cliche and build cliffhangers.

This is a little difficult especially if you are writing a romance (Like me!). I found it difficult, but I know it's not impossible even for romance. Think, think. It's not that difficult.
Conflict/cliffhangers and unpredictability are two important pillars of a good novel. Don't hesitate to experiment. It gives you a new vision. It offers new ideas. Sometimes, you need to write things that you think you shouldn't. Sometimes, your characters should do something you think they shouldn't.

There's no hard and fast rule for writing. Make your own rules. Again, there's no hard and fast rule for chapter length. Just make sure you end your chapters with a cliffhanger.


To be continued...


So, what do you think? What do you like/dislike in a book especially by first-time (Indian) authors? Please share your views.

Good Bye till We Meet Again. :)

9 Things I have Learnt As A First-Time Author - Part 2





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Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Book Review: A Walk in the Rain by Udai Yadla

© Written by Tarang Sinha





A Walk in the Rain…sounds nice. The covers are attractive. The blurb is interesting, and it has got some wonderful reviews on Amazon and Goodreads. So, when Writer's Melon (If You are an avid reader, you must follow this site) announced about the review copy, I signed up immediately. 

A Walk in the Rain by Udai Yadla (Don't know what to write about the publisher as this book has been published by 3-4 publishing houses) falls under romance/action/adventure genre. It tells the story of...many people, but mainly, it's about Surya aka Sunny, a recluse and Saloni, a prostitute.

Sunny is a forlorn (but not whimpering) boy still living in his unpleasant past, still thinking about his lost love - Sandy; Saloni has a troubled life, and she wants to earn a lot of money by any means. Destiny brings them together for a purpose, and then their lives change the track to start a new adventurous journey. The story involves romance, action, vengeance and too many characters.

The plot indeed seems promising, but for me, good plot doesn't work if it isn't well written and executed or has well developed characters. And, this is my biggest problem with this book.

The prologue (However not necessary for this story) is nice and I liked the title/concluding chapter (again, epilogue seems unnecessary), but the story between the prologue and the concluding chapter is scattered and stretched.

The writing is immature. Narration is weak and execution of the story is uncoordinated. You would seldom find any descriptions of surroundings or character's appearance. Characters just meet and talk. And, if you find any, it's mostly unnecessary. Like in the opening chapter, Surya just watches, and watches the rain. He ignores phone calls, and even his office as he watches how it's raining.

Talking about his office, I didn't get it when he is in the office and when he is in school. The story often goes into the past without any indication. One moment you are in the present, and then suddenly, you reading about the past. I did not like the frequent usage of "F" word in dialogues (sometimes, in every second dialogue). Poems (that have long lines/tough words) seem forced.

There are several editing glitches, proofreading/comma errors, and absurd sentences that ruin the reading experience. 

For example, asking, 'Why is your head so hot?' when someone is angry. Or sentences like ''Why does no one come to school today?' Imran fired at Sunny. 'Today is a school Holiday.''
Or 'Am I walking into a suicide?' Or 'How many more times, would I be indebted to her?' Or 'He hadn't expected to encounter him on a holiday and spoil his whole day.' seemed a little odd.

If you are a new reader or if you are a young reader (who likes teenage stories), you may like this book. For me, it was a tiring read, and I am disappointed.





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Sunday, January 8, 2017

Book Review: Rightfully Wrong Wrongfully Right by Varsha Dixit

© Written by Tarang Sinha



My first book by Varsha Dixit was Xcess Baggage, and I really liked it! And, I'm waiting for the sequel.

Rightfully Wrong, Wrongfully Right (Rupa Publications) is the third (and probably the last) book in the 'Right-Wrong' series. I haven't read the first book in the series, but I've the second one, 'Wrong Means, Right End', and since I have read this book, Rightfully Wrong...' made sense as I understood the characters. This book can be read as a standalone book, but better if read after reading at least the second book of this series.

Rightfully Wrong, Wrongfully Right is about Gayatri, a rich spoiled, guilt-ridden diva and Viraj, a reserved, mad scientist. Certain circumstances in Gayatri's life make her meet and work with Viraj who works for Nikhil, and has a very difficult and bitter past. They don't start on a pleasant note, but as they get to know each other, their feelings change.

So, what would be the destination of this changed feelings of two entirely different people? What are those situations that bring them close? You will have to read the book to find the answer.

The book starts off well. I liked the character of Sneha (Better than the last book where she was the protagonist) and her bond with her husband, Nikhil, and best friend, Nandini (She was the protagonist in the first book of this series). I liked the way their relationship with Gayatri (Which was not good in the last book) develops. The way they encourage her.

'Everyone has more downs than ups. All it takes is one big successful up and all the downs are ancient history.'

The little twist about cupcakes was nice, and it made me smile! 

But, I didn't understand the character of Viraj. Showing him weird in just one scene doesn't make him mad. This needed to reflect, but it doesn't especially when the book opens with his introduction. His character and his chemistry (and the development of her relationship) with Gayatri lack depth. However, the backstory of Viraj is nicely done and seems convincing.

Considering that this book is author's fifth book, the writing is not as crisp as it was supposed to be. There are unnecessary descriptions and dialogues that don't advance the story. The chapters have names but, they are mostly meaningless. There are several editing glitches, which is disappointing as this comes from a big brand like Rupa Publications.

Overall, for me, it was an okay read. If you like Varsha Dixit's writing, if you like love stories, and if you have read the other books in this series, then you should read this book. It can be a nice travel partner.


I received this book from the publisher for an unbiased review.




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Wednesday, January 4, 2017

जेब में लिए फिरते थे ज़िन्दगी...

© Written by Tarang Sinha



याद है अब भी वो 
बचपन की बेफिक्र दुनिया 
छोटी सी ज़िद और ढेरों खुशियां 
दौड़ते-भागते, खबर थी क्या -
कि वक़्त कुछ यूं दौड़ेगा, ज़िन्दगी कुछ यूं मुड़ेगी 
कि उम्र को पछाड़ 
तज़ुर्बा आगे - मीलों आगे होगा 
अब सोचते है...

जेब में लिए फिरते थे ज़िन्दगी 
 आलम ये है कि अब दिखाई भी नहीं देती. 


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Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Hello 2017! Resolutions? Well...

© Written by Tarang Sinha



Hello! First of all, I wish you a very happy, serene and successful New Year!

I don't believe in luck, and 2017 started on a very familiar note - that I can never get lucky. No good things arrive on time. They pop in when they are insignificant. Thank you very much! I'm not surprised. Definitely not shattered.

Okay, now let's talk about New Year Resolutions. 







I found this amusing image on Kindle Facebook Page. Amusing, yes, but for me it's true. I never make any New Year resolution. I know I am going to fail if I bind myself to a long term strict resolutions. I believe in creating small, short term (sometimes, one day short) and realistic goals. And, for that, I don't wait for New Year. It works better for me. They are more achievable; hence makes you feel good and encourage you to do more.

I believe if you try to banish something completely, it makes you tired and restless. You keep thinking about that. So, instead of 'Do- Don't Do', I have made 'More This - Less That' list.

Weight loss is a Universal issue, and for me it's perpetual. I can't diet. I can't exercise regularly. So, I will choose something that's more achievable, less tiring. So, for my health and fitness, I have decided to drink More Water and eat Less sugar. Less Sitting, More Standing/Walking. Use More Colorful, Less White foods in our diet.

Writing is something I love, but these days I have found myself just procrastinating (It's a phase when I Don't Feel Like Writing. But I try to make this phase a little productive. You can read this post - 4 Productive Things To Do When You Don't Feel Like Writing). So, this year, it will be More Writing, Less Procrastination. I will write (and send out) queries. Will try to shape up those vague, disturbing ideas whirling in my always occupied mind.

Saw someone's update on Goodreads who read 500 books in 2016. I was like !!! How? I like to keep my reading goal small so that I can achieve it successfully, better if I surpass. Last year, my reading goal was 30 books. I read 34. Satisfying, however, my reading goal for 2017 is 36 books.

I am a borderline internet addict. Sometimes, it annoys me as I know it robs my time, but I can't resist. I have uninstalled all the apps from my mobile, but then there's Google Chrome, and guess what? I can always surf the Net - open whatever social media platform I want to. Now, I can't uninstall Google Chrome. I switch the Wi-Fi off after every usage, but then it's not difficult to switch it on. But, I have decided to be more determined this year. So, this year, it would be More Reading (Books), Less Internet Activity/Online Availability.

There is a thing that I can't achieve no matter how hard I try. Getting up early in the morning. With a doubtful heart, I hope it would be Less Late Nights, More Early Mornings.

Let's see how it goes. Do you believe in this "More This - Less That' concept? Or you make New Year Resolutions? What's your resolutions for 2017?


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