Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Review: The Treasure of Kafur

The Treasure of Kafur

Goodreads Description:

‘The fate of an Empire trembles in the balance…’

Hindustan, 1580 AD. The Mughal Emperor Akbar is at the height of his power, seemingly invincible. But twenty years of war have earned him many enemies, and rebellion is brewing, led by Asaf Baig, the tyrannical ruler of Khandesh. Baig has stumbled upon the knowledge that the fabulous lost treasure of Malik Kafur, that will guarantee victory to Akbar’s enemies, is known to an old woman called Ambu.

Baig Kidnaps Ambu to wrest the knowledge of the treasure from her; but her twenty-year-old grandson, Dattatreya, escapes and flees across Hindustan to enlist the help of the one person who has the most reason to stop Baig – the Mughal Emperor himself.

Staying one step ahead of capture and death, Datta is swept up in a world of kings and warrior princesses, of uncommon friendships and an implacable evil; and a desperate race against time to save his grandmother – and the Empire.

My Review:

After what seems like years of reading historical and contemporary romance (six months actually), I was yearning to read a good thriller filled with loads of blood and gore, or an adventure a la Da Vinci Code. Just as the thought crossed my head, I was contacted by Aroon Raman, the author of this book, asking if I would like to read it and review it. I went through the blurb on Goodreads and seeing that the book promised to be a rolling adventure, I obviously jumped at the chance and am I glad I did!

The book is placed in the Mughal Period in India, the late 1500s, when Akbar was in reign. As the title states, it is about a lost treasure. The plot revolves around a rebellion by Asaf Baig, the ruler of Khandesh, who plans to overthrow Akbar, and plans to fund the battle with the Treasure of Kafur. The whereabouts of the treasure are known to Ambu, a Guardian of the forest, who can communicate with animals, and is kidnapped by Baig. The 'Guardian' bit adds a mystical angle to the plot, but luckily, the author has managed to reign it in to a large extent and not let it swallow the plot. The premise of the plot is clearly established in the first few chapters, and what follows is how Datta, Ambu's grandson with the hep if his animal friends, manages to reach Akbar and rescue Ambu with his help. 

I don't know how historically accurate the book is, but that does not bother me as it is not a text book but a work of fiction. The author has a good command on the plot and has not veered too far from it in most instances. The court descriptions were a little boring and I did not like to read about Datta's impressions on ALL the things, and these parts could be shortened a bit. Also, I felt that the romance angle was kind of unnecessary and the ending was a little lame (It would have been great to end on a super high note of battle victory or finding the treasure). But the politics and the strategy part was gripping. I also liked the descriptions of the war and battles. The aside about Maharana Pratap was sooo interesting, it makes me wish Aroon will do a follow-up with the Maharana and Akbar as protagonists. 

In this book, Aroon avoids two of my favorite complaints regarding Indian Authors, extremely loong descriptions of anything and everything and pathetic grammar and language. His language is quite good, unlike most other Indian writers who are on extremes most of the times, either writing exceedingly simplistic language, as if the reader does not understand English at all or writing as if they are Oxford professors or have overused the thesaurus function in Word. The author has managed to run a relatively tight ship, making the book a tolerable length instead of making the reader wish it were over. 

All in all, I enjoyed the book, it is well written and a different subject that what I have read before. I would recommend it for all readers looking for an adventure read.

If not for the ending, I would have rated it a 4/5, however, as I did not like the end, I will rate it 3.5/5 for delivering a quick fun read.

I have received a copy of this book from the author for review, however, it has no effect on my actual review. All the impressions, good and bad. are my own.

P.S : Indian readers like me beware, Like me, you may keep imagining Hritik Roshan as Akbar! Not a problem for me though as I quite like him!!! :) :) :)  

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Review: Heaven's Price by Sandra Brown

Heaven's Price

Goodreads Description:
Blair Simpson has embraced a life most people merely dreamed about. Devoting her nights as well as her days to dancing--in the chorus line of Broadway musicals and occasional TV commercials--she had never considered another career. Now an injury has sent her to a small town for six long months of recuperation. All around her are couples who are raising families and building dreams together. And there she meets a man who forces her to come to terms with a part of herself she has long denied.

From her first encounter with her new landlord, Sean Garett, the powerful sexual attraction between them catches her off guard. For the first time she's unable to lose herself in her dancing, as Sean's passion and tenderness urge her to open her life to him. More than anything, Sean wants to build a future with fiery, raven-haired Blair. But Blair's own passion for dance has ruled her for so long, she may not be able to break its hold--even if it costs her the love she had thought she'd never find.

My Review:
I did not like this book at all. In fact, the moment Sean opened his mouth, i was seriously put off. I put the book down after a few pages itself. In whatever few pages I read, Sean's character was dominating and dumb and Blair just takes it. He orders her around and does what he pleases, while she just goes along his plans. I can take this type of characters in a historical setting cause people were like that, but this is too much to take in a contemporary American setting.

All in all, I did not like the book and would have given it zero stars. 0/5

Monday, January 28, 2013

Review: Once a Princess by Johanna Lindsey

Once a Princess (Cardinia's Royal Family, #1)

Once a Princess
Author: Johanna Lindsey

I remember reading this book many years ago when I was on a Johanna Lindsey reading spree. This time around, I was in mood for reading a good bodice-ripper. And Johanna Lindsey always delivers on that count!

It was a quick read and I enjoyed it. The story is very predictable, anyone can guess it by reading the description written at the back. Mostly it consists of a lot of hot scenes with a loosely woven plot to hold them all together. Very predictable and funny, but I enjoyed it.

I rate it a 4/5 for delivering what it promised!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Review: Just for Kicks

Just For Kicks (Showgirls #2)

Hello All,

Hope you all had a great start to the year and have started cracking up on fulfilling those resolutions. I for one started off with a good book, Just for Kicks by Susan Andersen. I just happened to pass by the old paper mart where the book was considerably marked down, just Rs20! The excerpt on the back cover caught my fancy and so I picked it up.

I really really liked the book. Read it on a Sunday afternoon. The plot is based in Las Vegas, with Carly being a 'real live vegas showgirl!' and Wolf the Important Security Man at the casino. The book also involves Niklaus, Wolf's nephew, and 2 dogs and 2 cats.

Wolf and Carly are great characters with a lot of chemistry going on between them. While I can't say that the plot or the characters were unique in any way, but they were fun. I liked all the other supporting cast as well and would not mind reading more about them.

All in all, a great start to the year!

I rate this 4/5 mainly just for being a super easy breezy read.

P.S. Let me know what is the most interesting resolution you have made for the year!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Review: Tea for Two and a Piece of Cake

Tea for two and a piece of cake Tea for Two and a Piece of Cake by Preeti Shenoy

My very good friend, A, had come down recently, bearing gifts. She gave me a few books, this one amongst them. A few months after her visit, I finally got around to reading this one. Like most books by Indian authors, I found the story line very intriguing. The story is about a plump, not conventially good looking (its the PC word for ugly), girl, Nisha, who out of the blue, finds her dreams turning true. The story follws her life over 8 years, where her dreams shatter and she is forced to pick up the pieces and start all over again.
I have reduced my reading of books written by Indian authors, as I don't find the book actually living up to the expectations set by the introduction on the back. However, I was not really dissapointed with Preeti Shenoy's writing, she writes lucidly, with acceptable grammar and has etched out most of her characters well.

Nisha, has been a neglected only child, who has lost her mother early in life and has also lost her father's attention. This shapes her to be what she is, a woman who is slightly awkward and starved for love and attention. Her life revolves around her work at a small-time travel agency and her colleagues, who while not her friends, provide her with the much needed human contact and acceptance.

Enter: Samir Sharma, the high-flying travel agency director, who seems to have it all. He is good looking, sophisticated and doesn't seem like much of a bad guy. Then follows the case of an opposites attract romance between Samir and Nisha, culminating in marraige. Then the problems start. It seems that Nisha is living in her own bubble, wanting totally different things from her husband, who tolerates her for most part. One day, he finally breaks-up with her, (over the phone!) telling her he is leaving her and their two children for another woman.

 Then, for me, the story takes an intersting turn, with Nisha picking up her life and coming on to her own self. She is helped by Akash, a younger ex-colleague, who has been interested in her all these years. She also gets support from an elderly neighbour, Mrs. Billimora.

The story is good, and I also like the ending. The characters are for most part well etched, however, I failed to connect much with Nisha, not able to understand how she could have lived in her own world for 8 years! How she could have noticed but ignored the fact that her husband did not like or want children and was drifting apart. I do not understand or connect with such woman, but I suppose it must be possible given the plethora of books written about them.

All in all it is a good book, well written, with the author bringing the story to a satisfying conclusion.

I would rate it 3.5/5, reccommending to all who would like to read a good novel about relationships.