Book review: The Devil’s Prayer

Book review: The Devil’s Prayer

I once got caught red handed by my Science teacher in my fourth grade for reading Archie’s while she was teaching. (Yea I live on the edge like that.) A friend had brought her book for me to read and I wanted to finish it before the evening. No wonder I stood without feeling guilty and in fact I was proudly standing when she called out me.

Now that I think about it, I realize she didn’t scold or punish me; she just forbade me from reading during class hours. Thanks to teachers like her, my love for reading has not burnt or faded out, like everything else in my life. 

You know what,  I still am the same, I love Archie’s and I don’t stop reading even when I am reprimanded or scorned upon. Yet, I can’t think of the last time I picked a book and couldn’t put it down until I finished it. Thanks to ‘The Devil’s Prayer‘ by Luke Gracias, I stayed awake up to the wee hours to complete this one.What makes a novel un-put-down-able?

Is it the fast-paced and well-knotted plot? Characters that you can relate to or intrigue you? Or crisp and engaging narration and language? Or just the fact that it has the name of an author that you like? Well, I can not hold it anymore. This book has it all, erm, except the last one.  I hadn’t heard of Luke Gracias before I picked the book and now I can’t wait for the sequel. Says much about the book and his writing, read on to know more.

Book Name: The Devil’s Prayer 

Author: Luke Gracias

Genre: Fiction – Historical Thriller

Characters: Siobhan, Denise, Jess

Setting: Brisbane, Australia

Disclaimer: Thanks to the Author, Netgalley and Writer’s Melon for the free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.  

The story begins with Sister Benedictine’s suicide leaving a group of monks on a trail in Spain. Siobhan watches the story on the television to realize that it was her mother who went missing six years ago.

She begins her journey to the isolated convent her mother seemed to have belonged to in a quest to search answers for her questions. She is tailed by the mysterious monks when she finds her mother’s confession and a mysterious key.

What she learns leaves her confused about her mother’s sanity and makes her start doubting her loyalty to her family. Whom would you choose to believe and trust – your mother who abandoned you six years ago or the person whom you have loved and protected until that moment?

The book takes us through two parallel stories from different realms, her mother’s story leading to the suicide and the daughter who is trying to solve the mystery behind her mother’s disappearance and the subsequent public death.

Denise’s story and her deal with the Devil had me engrossed and sleep defied me until I completed it. Of course, as always I rooted for the so called bad guy, the Devil and was waiting for him to get his share back. There are  some graphic scenes of violence, so a word of caution for the faint hearted.

I loved that Lucas’s storyline never dropped its momentum anywhere in the story. But I did find a difference in the writing between Denise’s and Siobhan’s stories, may be it was intentional – or not. The ending seemed to be a little bit hastened and cluttered though that did not affect the reading experience much. I repeat, I can’t wait for the sequel. Even though the book did not leave a cliffhanger, there are too many answered questions.

Do you remember the frenzy that the number ‘666’  created when the Omen came out, or the Mona Lisa garnered with the release of ‘ The Da Vinci Code’  and somehow everyone wanted a piece of Da Vinci’s history? That is how I felt about Genghis Khan and the solar eclipses.

You might find the plots to be quite similar, an untimely death, followed by a family member frantically trying to make something sense out of the death and unraveling of the mysteries related to the religious cults supported by history and fiction. It is the execution that makes all the difference.

If you like historical fiction/thriller, grab The Devil’s Prayer already.

Book review: The Speaking Ghost of Rajpur

Book review: The Speaking Ghost of Rajpur

My countdown of the number of days for summer holidays to begin starts right from the day our school reopens. I guess every Indian child would have done this. Summer vacations are all we wait for. For me, summer reminds me of the lazy afternoons with no fixed schedule. One day could be playing in the streets with friends without even realizing that the sun usually works at his best or just wondering what snack my Paati (grandmom) was going to make that evening.

 

Summer and its scorching hot days sure did bring out the mystery seeker in me. We used to invent stories in our heads, decide to enact them and all that, without the adults finding out them somehow made me feel adventurous and excited. There are very few books that take you back in time make you feel nostalgic and make you miss those good ol’ times. The Speaking Ghost of Rajpur by Priyonkar Dasgupta promised to do just that. Read on to know if it delivered what it promised.

 

Author: Priyonkar Dasgupta
Genre: Fiction – Thriller
Characters: Shoumu, Shoumik, Joy, Pinku
Disclaimer: I received the book from The Tale Penseive in exchange for an honest review. 
 
It is summer vacations and Shoumo and his brother Shoumik are visiting Raipur, their cousin’s place. Their thirst for adventure triggered high, they roam the streets and try to chase some mystery until they come across a ghost. If you were like me having elder cousins and sibling that you had had to work hard to fit into their group when you were young, you would be able to relate to the protagonist, just like I did. I felt he was adorable, and his acts to fit into the older teenager gang were likable because the voice of the narrator seemed a little bit more matured than the so-called normal 13-year-old kids.
 
I loved the writing and the idyllic tone the novel was set in. The language is quite simple, and the pace was a tad bit slow for my liking. But for what is lacked in pace was made up by the interesting and quirky characters. Though some might find it little difficult to get past the vivid descriptions and loads of extra details that do not add to the story, when one might enjoy the book if one reads the book as a gateway back to your past. Kudos for the writer to have tied all the loose knots and made it a well-knit story. There were few places where the editors could have done a better job and could have avoided words like ‘stuffs’, ‘wetting in the rains’.

 

 
I was reminded of the Malgudi Days and Swami and Friends while reading about Rajpur. In fact, I had too many visits and revisits to memories from the past thanks to the book. I remembered one crazy night when my cousins decided to share ghosts stories claiming it real and the many nights that I was afraid to go to my aunt’s house which was about 20 ft away from mine. So I guess the book fulfilled the promise to bring back the nostalgia.
Bottomline: If you like Enid Blyton’s series like Famous Five, Secret Seven, don’t think, just grab the book.
 
P.S I loved the cover. It is not only beautiful but also intrigues the reader hinting at what to expect. 
Book Review: The Girl Who Couldn’t Come Up With an Original Title

Book Review: The Girl Who Couldn’t Come Up With an Original Title

This week has chosen to be dark themed on its own. I have been reading on and off these days, erm.. actually took a long break from reading and that is for sure going to affect my yearly target of 52 books. I know it sounds an easy mark for few, but seems such right now a difficult one to reach. Hey don’t hold it against me, there were many books that I read and decided to not continue further. 

Anyway coming back to the topic, I received ‘ The Girl Who Couldn’t Come Up With an Original Title‘ for review and I picked up not knowing that it contains two short stories both based on the above mentioned dark themes like suicide, depression and despair. All I knew was it had a intriguing and title and it came in highly recommended by Maxine herself. So go ahead find out if I was satisfied.



Author: The Behrg
Genre: Fiction – Short Story
The first short story is about ‘the girl’ who is a writer with incessant suicidal thoughts. She attempts to commit suicide thrice but fails miserably. The story starts with her struggling to find a title for her writing all through the story, falling and travelling between lines. I loved the word play and her struggle to cope up with depression and the thin gap between survival instinct and to give up and choose the easy way out.

It took a few pages for me to get into the story, and once we are past that we are worried if she is ever gonna return back to the land of normalcy. The pain of not feeling anything and having no one to speak to hits too near to home to not understand her frustration. 

The second story is about another struggling writer again fighting his emotions to go ahead with his decision to die. He knows Despair too well and his tug off war with Insanity and Reluctance creates the necessary suspense in the reader to know if Dave is going ahead with his decision.  

I loved the second story better even though it was shorter of the two. It was like watching the  Inside Out (the movie) but only darker and more grown up. I know this may not be a fair comparison but I liked the personification of our emotions. 

Both the stories wouldn’t make you love them or feel happy after you read them, many might be put off by the theme, but they struck a chord with me and make me mull over it for a while.The author’s note made a lot of sense and her call to understand and help people affected by depression and suicidal tendencies is welcome. 

I picked up the book for its quirky title and I wasn’t disappointed and all in about 36 pages! 

Watch out for this space where I try attempting to review one of those much hailed author’s book pretty soon!
Book Review: The Grownup

Book Review: The Grownup

I love Dr House from the TV series, Harvey Spectre from SUITS and Alan Shore from Boston Legal. Oh Scarlett O’Hara from Gone with the Wind, of course. Wondering what is common among these characters that I seem to love so much? They are all arrogant, cocky and snarky and of course self obsessed. Yes I have set out to like all grey characters somehow and may be that is why I seem to love every one of the books of Gillian Flynn. Things weren’t any different with The Grownup.

Wait I am just trying to reason out my favoritism, but the truth is I really do like her writing and her well thought out character. For obvious reasons I had to pick up her new short story The Grownup as soon as I could and how could I end up liking her more than I was liking her earlier, if that makes any sense.

Book Name: The Grownup
Author: Gillian Flynn
Genre: Fiction – Paranormal
Characters: Narrator, Miles, Susan and Mike Burke
Setting: The USA

The narrator works at Spiritual Palms as a fake psychic, rather a keen and quick observer, a rise from her earlier occupation of providing hand jobs (yup you heard me right). She is smart, manipulative and of course selfish, much as expected from Flynn’s novels. When her newest client, Susan is worried about her house being haunted, the narrator decides to use that opportunity to earn some easy money.

But her visit to her house reveals much darker secrets and her step son Miles even threatens her to leave if she wanted to save her life. She chooses to ignore the teenager’s warning only to find out more creepy things like a cat whose tail had been cut off. But things take a turn when she hears out Miles’ side of story, when she finds Mike’s books at their library. Was she being conned by Susan, the wife of her favorite customer Mike? Or does the house really have some ancient history? What to believe and what not?

Grown upFrom a short story with less than 50 pages, I could not have asked for more. And if you were into horror and super natural, you sure would love the second part of the story. Like most of her books, The Grownup is filled with grey characters and I could not decide whom to believe or not. The story is filled with twists and left me wondering if I were siding the right guy / lady at all, much like the narrator.

Flynn has become one of my favorite writer in a very short time. She has the wicked way of making the reader reach out to his dark parts of the brain, even if he does not generally (I do). In this story I was hooked to her flow of unexpected twists and I loved the open ending, which may not work for many.

We start with the skeptic outlook of the narrator, then we start to look out super natural elements because your narrator does, thanks to Susan’s creepy house and creepier step son. Then we just unlearn everything we just read because there is a new version of the story. It is almost like Flynn wanted us to go, ‘phew we reached almost the end’ and she does it all over again and again and again. Damn it, READ IT ALREADY, I say.

P.S Did I say the narrator was not named at all?

P P S. Watch out for my next book review from a completely different genre from anything I have written yet – yes, we are going on a spiritual trip to Himalayas!

Book Review: The Grownup

Hey Dad Meet My Mom: A Book Review

How far would you go for love? Would paranormal activities stop you? Would a young boy from the future derail you from your quest for love? Read my book review of Hey Dad! Meet My Mom to know more.

About Hey Dad Meet My Mom

Hey Dad! Meet My Mom

Book Name: Hey Dad Meet My Mom

Authors: Sandeep Sharma and Leepi Agarwal

Genre: Fiction – Paranormal, Romance

Characters: Puneet Agarwal, Rishi, Myra, Roshni, Maya

Setting: India

Disclaimer: Thanks to Sandeep Sharma for lending his book Hey Dad! Meet My Mom for a fair and honest feedback.

Plot summary of Hey Dad Meet My Mom

Puneet, a banker falls in love at his first sight with Myra, and coincidentally or not he starts seeing an image of a 10 year old boy visible to no one else. He is naturally shaken especially since the boy looks and behaves like him and calls him Dad. Puneet assumes it is his work stress that is getting to him while his mother brings in holy men to protect his son.

It becomes easier for him to do that, as he befriends Rishi and they both plot to make Myra fall in love with Puneet. To add to his misery, he constantly dreams of another faceless woman who asking him to seek out his past

Succumbing to the pressure of his mother and Myra he agrees to visit his uncle who is a renowned psychiatrist who prescribes some more sessions and medicine. On a weekday, Rishi just appears at his office asking Puneet to rush to his house, only to find his shrink and his mother discussing him. After the doctor leaves, he confronts his mother who painfully confesses about his past. What happens next forms the rest of the story in Hey Dad Meet My Mom.

Book review of Hey Dad Meet My Mom

I liked the way Hey Dad Meet My Mom began and that the suspense was built up till the very end. There was nowhere that the book lagged in pace or want of depth in the characters (for a short book). The romantic episodes between Puneet and Myra were realistic enough and maybe cute to an extent.

For a 10 year old kid, Rishi does know too much – I would probably have cringed to discuss my love life, much alone take advises from a kid claiming to be my son – that too no one that known else could see. I could sympathize for Puneet that Rishi could read his mind.

On the other hand, I felt the author had too much on the plate for 160 page novel. What started out as a time travel or paranormal story turned out to be a love story, hypnotism, drugs, ragging, holy men, adopted kids – too many themes and extremely sharp turns which made it look like author was unclear with the direction of the story and as though the ending was hurried.

Cliched and completely unnecessary characters like a long haired stranger from the streets asking him to chase his dreams could have very well been avoided.

Writing an intimate scene is supposedly harder than others, but I should confess no other book made me cringe reading as this one, especially crude and unpolished phrases like “cried like hell” and “the slightly hairy organ between the legs”. In fact the entire scene could have been done away with, and no on would have missed a thing. Better none than a half baked scene.

It puts any reader off to find any typos or spelling error while reading the book, how much ever the story might be good and interesting.

Bottomline

If you wanna pick up an easy read through with Bollywood feel – try Hey Dad! Meet My Mom out.

Let’s talk

Have you read Hey Dad! Meet My Mom before? What sorta books do you love reading? What are your favorite genre? Let us chat.

Book review: Ivy’s Envy

Book review: Ivy’s Envy

Book: Ivy’s Envy

Author: Latashia Figueroa
Genre: Fiction – Horror
Main Characters: Ivy, Thomas Miles, Grandma Shirley
Series: Want & Decay Trilogy # 1


I have always liked reading horror and psychological thrillers, but when I read the blurb of Ivy’s Envy I was not sure if I would like it. But I was proved wrong and I keep the book down till I finished it.
The story opens with Ivy being held by restraint and her love of the life, Thomas being the one who has been holding her. I was hooked to the story right from the opening paragraph. I had to know why Ivy was held by force and what could happen to her.

The protagonist is a severe narcissist and self obsessed person who has fallen for Thomas Miles, one of her superiors. She has a way to get her ways always. Her Grandma Shirley had seen through her and then had to be admitted in hospital. Ivy has had to take care of her mom’s cat and her boyfriend Charlie. Now she is obsessed with Thomas and she is convinced he is also in love with her. The only problem between them seems to be his lovely wife, Daena. To Ivy it means just one thing – eliminate her, until the table is turned.

For a book with just 80 pages, the story is as fast and racy as it should be. I just couldn’t put it down till I completed the book. I could understand Ivy’s mind and fear things she is capable of. I read somewhere, the author’s bedtime stories were of Stephen King. I just could see its effects from her description of the horror and paranormal description in the story.

I can’t wait for the second book of the trilogy.

Disclaimer: I received this book from the publicist free of cost in return for a honest review.