Book Review: Handful by Amit D’Souza


A few days ago, I finished a short anthology, ‘Handful’. Over the past couple of days, I caught myself thinking about certain aspects of the stories and the characters.

The beauty of this book is that the stories are spread across various genres, from historical action to surviving loss of a loved one. While each story is different in itself, there is a strong undercurrent of the strong sense of survival in each of the protagonists.

Excerpt: Handful is a collection of short stories. Each story talking about tales of survival, spread across times and places. Each tale, a window to a different world. I hope you, dear reader, find a window through which you see the world once you thumb through.

My personal favourite was ‘Love Immortal — Naaz’, which focussed on Naaz and how she dealt with having to break up with the love of her life in order to appease her family. I really enjoyed the way the author conveyed the depth of her feelings using flashbacks to a happier time.

I just had a little trouble relating with the first story, ‘The Son of the Dragon’ which I felt was a little fast-paced, there were so many things happening almost immediately that I took a little time to get a sense of what was going on.

All in all, this book is a short fun read, the characters are well-etched, each of the stories has its own unique charm, yet fits perfectly with the others without it becoming monotonous. Since it is just a hundred-page book, it does not take long to read. If you find yourself with some time on your hand, this book would be perfect for you!

Grab your copy:





The Genius of Ranveer Singh


Renaissaa Blog

From Ram Leela to Padaamvat and, most recently Gully Boy

It is often said that there is no great genius without a touch of madness. This is true for Ranveer Singh who has had to struggle to find his place and acceptance for his eccentricity. Over the years, his acting has refined, and he has become more comfortable with his screen presence in recent years.

His first few films, namely Band Baaja Baaraat, Ladies vs. Ricky Bahl, and Lootera may not have impressed the audience, but the critics had high praises for the man’s acting. As his movies started to garner attention, the man came under the media eye and it was found that he remains unapologetic-ally himself, and this is reflected from his choice of clothes to his choice of films. He is a man who wears his heart on his sleeve, and he revels in being…

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Letters in the Rain: Book Review


Authors: Anubhav Shrivastava, Ananya Roy

Letters in the Rain

Book Blurb:

Quite early in his life, Aman had been labelled a ‘weirdo’. His side-parted, oil soaked hair and gawky physique made him the butt of jokes among his peers. There is nothing spectacular in his life—he studies all day, has never had an interaction with a girl that lasted more than five minutes, and scribbles his inner musings into his best friend, a personal diary.

Deep down, however, the guilt of being considered a social killjoy by the society starts to have a negative impact on him.

When forced out of his solitary shell into the action-infused warehouse that is ‘college’, Aman’s life takes a drastic U-Turn. Owing to a Chemistry project, he is forced to partner up with Kiara—a cheerful, carefree soul who tucks away her dark, brooding past upon arriving in Manipal.

What follows is a series of awkward encounters and quirky adventures; ones that throw them in the deep end and make them face their worst fears.

My Review:

On the whole, the cover of this book is interesting, it felt professionally done!

Coming to the story, we have a nerdy Engineering Student who is socially awkward. He goes to college and meets a girl who helps him and becomes his friend. The crux of the story line lacks freshness. The basic story follows the predictable path of many engineering guy-goes to college-meets the girl- falls for her- issues- sorting the issues line of narrative. It felt quite linear and oft too predictable.

On the other hand, it felt that authors had worked really hard to create meaningful characters, and this showed! Each character was well thought out and had their own personalities. There were three central characters in the book, and all three had distinctive personalities and the authors maintained them till the end. The character development of the protagonist, aka Aman was sketched out perfectly. There was also parallel story line going on for the other characters as well. I felt that had the authors spent a bit more time sketching these story lines, the book would have had more depth to it.

If we look at the overall graph of the story, the middle of the story was the strength of the book.

It did feel that the final proof reading was missed out. There were many grammatical errors, especially plural forms used for singular and vice versa, etc. I felt that the book had potential, had the book more depth, instead of focusing on the singular “Love” aspect.

On the whole, I rate this book a 2 out of 5.



The Colours of Passion: Book Review


Author: Sourabh Mukherjee

The Colours of Passion: Unravelling Dark Secrets behind the Limelight

Book Blurb:

Within days of her fairy-tale wedding with Manav Chauhan, Hiya Sen, the reigning queen of Tollywood, is brutally raped and murdered. As ACP Agni Mitra investigates into the high-profile murder, he meets Neha Awasthi, with whom Manav broke his engagement to marry Hiya, Neha’s father Deepak Awasthi, who was eyeing business benefits through the alliance, Mayank Kapoor, an alcoholic model and Rituja Bose, the diva who had reigned over Tollywood over the past decade. When two more murders connected with the case make headlines, it’s time for Agni to find answers to perplexing questions and unveil shocking truths.

The Colours of Passion breezes through Kolkata’s glamorous world of industrialists, movie stars, models and fashion designers laced with drug addiction and illicit liaisons, with a heart-wrenching tragedy at its core.

My Review:

This is the second book of the Agni Mitra series (You can read the first book “In the Shadows of Death’s review here).

I felt that the plot of this book was crafted really well. In the by lanes of Calcutta, the author weaves yet another compelling murder mystery. The newly married actress, Hiya Singh, is brutally raped and murdered by three men after a club brawl. What is seemingly a case of random violence turns into a sordid tale of betrayal when it is discovered that these three had been hired to kill the actress.

The author manages to hide his cards really well. It is not until the climax that one can guess both the motive and the person who was behind the murders. The pace of the novel is quite fast which manages to keep the readers hooked on to the story.

My only issue with the book is that the characterisation could have been better. A lot of characters were added in the story line and, especially the female characters, felt a bit too same in terms of their personalities. Of course, this may be entirely intentional as both were from the same industry and competing for almost the same life goals. On the whole, if you are looking for a quick, yet thrilling mystery that would keep you guessing, read this one! I rate this one a 4 out of 4.


Principles of success made easy-14 easy steps to climb the ladder of success


Author: Roopleen

Principles of success made easy-14 easy steps to climb the ladder of success

Book Blurb:

Principles of Success Made Easy – 14 easy steps to climb the ladder of success is the culmination of my onerous efforts of writing something simple yet relevant. It is a pragmatic account of the fundamental principles of achieving success by self-help and is the distilled essence of my years of research and understanding of the dynamics of success. This practical manual serves as a step-by-step guide to climb the ladder of success. It gives both an in-depth view and a time-tested approach to succeed and chronicles 14 golden principles of achieving success. The principles are wide-ranging and apply to success in any sphere of life. My own life has been transformed by the principles enshrined in this book. Therefore, I recommend this book to anyone who wants to be successful in life and seeks happiness. Principles of Success Made Easy – 14 easy steps to climb the ladder of success would prove to be not only a guidebook for success but also a reservoir and storehouse of strength and motivation.

My Review:

As the title suggests, this book deals with the topic of success. The book is divided into 14 steps and the author explains each chapter in detail giving real life examples of people you may have heard about. This helps the reader identify with the writing, as well as create an interesting diversion for the readers that helps retain the interest.

This language is very simple, even those who are not well versed in the language would be able to follow it easily. The flow of the principles is also very well thought out and flows a very logical sequence.

The issue with this book is that it lacks depth. If you have read books on success before, you don’t really learn anything new. Also, the titles are self explanatory so one pretty much gets an idea on what the author is going to write.

If you are just getting into self help, this book might help you.

On the whole, I rate this book a 2 out of 4.

Buy this book




Lying Through My Teeth: Book Review


Author: Abhyudaya Shrivastava

Book Blurb:

Abhay, a dentist, has always been unlucky in love. The three women from his past, Zainab, Latika and Prakriti, come back and complicate his life. To make things worse, his parents are hell-bent on finding him a wife. Stuck in this situation, Abhay decides to lie his way out of his troubles…

My Review:

This is the lonely engineering guy story who has nothing better to do in life than think about girls…except here instead of an engineering student, the protagonist is a dentist. Which makes it even more sad as he is no longer a teen and a person of that age is expected to be a bit more mature.

Other than this, the characterization was too two dimentional. The girls in his life were so similar to each other that one can easily be replaced with the other and noone would know the difference.

The plot line of a guy who is surrounded by his love interests is now done to death, so if you have read even one book with this story line you will not find anything new here.

On the plus side, the pace of the story and the narration were good. The author gives details at the right moment and knows when to end the scene. One knows that he knows his dentistry as the parts where the protagonist is treating the patients are carefully crafted.

All in all, you can give this one a miss. I rate this book a 1 out of 4.


The Girl With a Dragon Tatoo: Book Review


Author: Stieg Larsson

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Millennium, #1)

Book Blurb:

Mikael Blomkvist, a once-respected financial journalist, watches his professional life rapidly crumble around him. Prospects appear bleak until an unexpected (and unsettling) offer to resurrect his name is extended by an old-school titan of Swedish industry. The catch—and there’s always a catch—is that Blomkvist must first spend a year researching a mysterious disappearance that has remained unsolved for nearly four decades. With few other options, he accepts and enlists the help of investigator Lisbeth Salander, a misunderstood genius with a cache of authority issues. Little is as it seems in Larsson’s novel, but there is at least one constant: you really don’t want to mess with the girl with the dragon tattoo.

My Review:

This is part one of the Millennium trilogy, and the first book in years that is more than 500 pages long and I finished it in a day. I just had to, there was no other option. Once you start reading, you need to finish it asap.

This book is quite different to any other book that I have ever read. It is a clever amalgamation of murder mystery and corporate thriller.I have read both stories independently, but never together.

Character crafting is excellent, especially when the number of characters are too many. While you take time getting to know them, once you are familiarized with who is who their individual personalities start making sense.

I loved the character of the Girl with the dragon tattoo. It is so true when a person’s looks do not fit your idea of a ‘responsible adult’, you tend to think that they are nothing, that they have nothing to offer, they have no talent…and Lisbeth is here to ensure that you realize that you are very wrong.

If you are looking for a thrilling read, be sure to pick this one up.

I rate this book a perfect 4 out of 4.

Buy the book.

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel: Book Review


Author: Deborah Moggach

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

Book Blurb:

When Ravi Kapoor, an over-worked London doctor, is driven beyond endurance by his obnoxious father-in-law, he asks his wife: ‘Can’t we just send him away somewhere? Somewhere far, far away.’ His prayer seems to have been answered when his entrepreneurial cousin, Sonny, sets up a retirement home, recreating a lost corner of England in a converted guesthouse in Bangalore. Travel and set-up are inexpensive, staff willing and plentiful – and the British pensioners can enjoy the hot weather and take mango juice with their gin.
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is a brilliant comedy of manners, mixing acute observation with a deeper message about how different cultures cope in the modern world.

My Review:

This is one of those books that I got from a trip to Goa. What do you do when your wife’s very irritating father comes to stay at your home, and you do not know when he will leave? Ravi was so frustrated with his living situation that it was putting a strain on his relationship with his wife. So when his cousin from India comes with a business proposal to start an old age home for Britishers in Bangalore, he jumps at it!

What I liked the best about this book was that the author did not have to resort to stereotypes while creating her characters. Each character had his or her own lives and issues. You become so invested in them that even if they have weird opinions, you understand that this is the kind of a person he or she is.

My only issue with the book was that while the author tried to include hindi in places to give it an authentic feel, there were many phrases that were used incorrectly. So it becomes very apparent that the author does not really know the language. It would have been better if this had been skipped.

There is a movie that is based on the book, but I felt the movie was too dissapointing.

On the whole, this is a feel good real. I rate it a 3 out of 4.

Buy this book

The Inscrutable Americans: Book Review


Author: Anurag Mathur

The Inscrutable Americans

Book Blurb:

This hilarious novel describes one year spent on a small university campus in the U.S.A. by an Indian student. He comes out of a small town, locally reputed to be ‘the Paris of Madhya Pradesh.’ His English is comically Indian, and his initial notions of America are absurdly inadequate and stereotyped. The theme of the novel is his comic discovery of America, and his own growth and maturing through his diverse adventures there. The novel is thus a variation on the form of the bildungsroman with a foll-protagonist, with the difference that the native wit of the protagonist far transcends his linguistic limitations. This novel has thus an acuteness and a depth of meaning which go beyond the obvious comic implications of the chosen initial situation.

My Review:

If you have met Indian men from small towns who have it ingrained in their minds that foreign women are loose while Indian women are to be respected, this book would have you in splits.

I found the dark humor in the book extremely close to the stark reality. It reminded me of a conversation with a guy who took creep shots of women on his trip to Goa to show it to his friends. When confronted, he said, “Oh chill…these women are not Indian, so it’s ok.” Unfortunately, thanks to the popular media there are many men and women who believe in the myth of the extremely loose foreign women.

What happens when a man, who has this and many other perceptions of the “foreign people”, finds himself in America?

He is confused, very very confused. And the author very cleverly portrays this using proper amount of wit and humor.

On the whole, this is a fun light read which has its amazing moments. I rate this book a 3.5 out of 4.

Buy this book


A Bond With Nature


Nature Omnibus

Author: Ruskin Bond

My Review:

The cover of the book is different.

This is an old edition of the Ruskin Bond Nature’s edition which is not in print anymore. But, it is a delight to read nonetheless.

The book has different sections:

  • An Island of Trees
  • A Bond with the Mountains
  • Tigers Forever

While you can buy these books separately, getting them together would be a bit tough.

Coming to the story line, this is quintessential Ruskin Bond. You read the stories and you long for a childhood amidst the jungle. You long for the experiences that you would never have, and you find yourself wishing that was as simple as the books.

My favorite story was that of an extremely mischievous monkey and her shenanigans.  The way the whole thing was described, had me in splits.

If life ever gets you down, go for Ruskin Bond. I rate this book a perfect 4 out of 4. If it is ever in stock again, I will be sure to leave a link to buy it.