Life or Death: Book Review

Thursday, September 25, 2014
Title: Life or Death
Author: Michael Robotham
Genre: Thriller/Fiction
Price: Rs 399 (Buy from for Rs 339.)
Number of pages: 434
Publisher: Sphere
ISBN-10: 0751558869
ISBN-13: 978-0751558869

The Blurb:
Why would a man escape from prison the day before he's due to be released?

Audie Palmer has spent a decade in prison for an armed robbery in which four people died, including two of the gang. Seven million dollars has never been recovered and everybody believes that Audie knows where the money is.

For ten years he has been beaten, stabbed, throttled and threatened almost daily by prison guards, inmates and criminal gangs, who all want to answer this same question, but suddenly Audie vanishes, the day before he's due to be released.

Everybody wants to find Audie, but he's not running. Instead he's trying to save a life . . . and not just his own.

About the Author:
Michael Robotham started his career as a journalist but then became a ghostwriter, writing many bestselling autobiographies in collaboration with politicians, pop stars, psychologists, adventurers and showbusiness personalities. His thrillers have been translated into twenty-two languages and he has twice won Australia's Ned Kelly Award for best crime novel. He was shortlisted for the CWA Steel Dagger in 2007 and 2008 and was also shortlisted for the inaugral ITV3 Thriller Awards. 

Michael Robotham talks about his book, "I’m releasing LIFE OR DEATH, a story that I’ve nurtured and turned over in my mind for more than twenty years – ever since I read a newspaper account of a man who had a served a long prison sentence, but escaped the day before he was due to be released. Why, I asked myself, what could possibly be the reason? It took me years to come up with an answer and even longer before I felt I had the skills to tell the story properly. I needed to practice. I needed to learn. I needed to get better. That’s why I’m so excited about LIFE OR DEATH. It’s a love story and a prison story and a heart-stopping account of one man’s refusal to surrender. More importantly, it’s the book that I was meant to write."

My Review:
When I began reading the book, I thought it was all about the money and maybe a big thriller mystery which includes a lot of murders and suspense plots as goes with all thriller fictions. Of course, the thriller angle is just perfect which makes you cling to the book till you reach the last page. The book surprised me remarkably and took me on a great journey. As each chapter unfolded, it brought depth to the characters and an entirely different angle to the story. The main question, "Why would a man run away from Prison just a day before his release?", I made a thousand guesses before starting the book but none was as brilliant as what the author talks about.

The characters are not flawed like the usual trend. Be it the convict Audie Palmer, his friend Moss or the officer Desiree! They had clear ideology which wasn't of a confused person. I like Desiree's character the most - stubborn, intelligent and witty - in short ME! :P With such well drawn and original characters this is a fantastic read and certainly one of the most enjoyable ones I've read so far this year. 

The writing is flawless with each person's vantage point. An unstoppable page-turner which keeps you hooked and takes you on a journey. I finished this book of more than 400 pages in just three readings (longgggggg readings). The climax just does wonders for me. With so many bad yet influential people involved, I thought the end would leave me heart-broken yet it manages to do just the opposite. I thoroughly loved it, and now I'm gonna read all books by Michael Robotham. He's my second favourite author after John Grisham! *love in eyes*. And this book is a perfect movie material too!

Who would love it: Everyone who likes thriller/crime centered stories
Who wouldn't like it: Nobody! :P

My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars! Perfect blend of suspense and love on a roller-coaster ride! ;)
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The Scribbler's Orchard: Part 15

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Team Name: Scribbler's Orchard
Read the previous parts of the story here

Amidst the discussions regarding the involvement of Mr Ahuja aka Acharya in the on-going kidnapping of Roohi and PM, the doorbell rang. Tara went to open the door and was shocked and relieved at the same time. In front of her, stood Roohi in her uniform with tears in her eyes. Tara , being unable to control her emotions, tears flowing out of her eyes with happiness, hugs Roohi and kisses her all over. She shouts, "Shekhar! Our Roohi is back. Come here. My baby is back!" Shekhar shook Tara strongly to bring her out of her hallucination. Jennifer offered her a glass of water and she realised she had just been dreaming of Roohi's return. Her baby was still out there with some dangerous people who are a part of a bigger plan which involves the abduction of the PM. 

Jennifer, after waiting for Tara to regain control of herself, started explaining how she came to know Mr Ahuja was involved. She explained to Shekhar and Tara about how Cyrus was used as a suicide bomber, his hospitalisation, her curiosity about his involvement and her going through his stuff. "I found out that Cyrus had been an intern under Mr Ahuja's lawyer in the past where he found about Mr Ahuja's cases which involved illegal trade practices. He has written blog posts regarding these but didn't publish them. I read these in his laptop at the hospital.", expressed Jennifer. She then showed the three of them some images of a charity function which was held two months ago in Mumbai in which the PM and Acharya can be seen standing next to each other. 
"But that does not mean Mr Ahuja is involved in PM's kidnapping. They might just be having good relations", argued Arjun.
"Yeah but...", Jennifer stopped, scared that she might reveal more than she should. Shekhar read the expression on her face but waits for the right moment.
"I will start investigating about Mr Ahuja and any connections with the abductions but its too early to accuse anyone at this moment!", assured Arjun before leaving The Orchard

Shekhar waited for Tara to leave before confronting Jennifer, "So what were you hiding?"
"I was conscious because Arjun was still here but it is regarding the photos I gave you", Jennifer explained.
"How is Mr Ahuja related to those photos? He was not in any of them!"
"Yes, he wasn't but he was at the function and left early. What if he is the one behind the bombings at Ganesh Chaturthi, Roohi's kidnapping and PM's abduction?"
"Then my little baby is in big danger Jennifer!"

Read the next part of the story here

You can join our story here

Me and my team are participating in ‘Game Of Blogs’ at #CelebrateBlogging with us.
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Shackles of Freedom

Friday, September 19, 2014

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The Scribbler’s Orchard: Part 4

Monday, September 15, 2014

Team Name: Scribblers' Orchard
Read the previous parts of the story PART 1 | PART 2PART 3

In a corner of the room in The Orchard, Shekhar sat facing an open window that led to their lawn with lush-green grass whose tips were shining due to sunrays falling on the dew giving them a heavenly look. Oblivious to the beauty that lay in front of him, he was lost in thoughts of what Jennifer had told him. If they were aware that Jennifer had the photos and that she was going to Kochi with the exact flight number, it meant that they were following her for long. Does that mean they knew he had the photos of the murder? Was that why his Roohi was kidnapped..? His thoughts were interrupted by Tara's loud scream. 'Roohi! Roohi, my baby!', she was shouting.
'Wake up Tara', he said while shaking her. 'It was just a bad dream.'
'They have our daughter Shekhar! They have my Roohi. It's all because of you! Bring my baby back!', she shouted in between her sobs.
'Calm down. I'm trying...', he was saying but was interrupted by his phone's ringtone. It was a private number which made his heart stop. He let it ring for sometime before picking up, 'Hello'.
'Do you want to see your daughter again or not?', said a hoarse voice on the other end. 
'Who are you? Where's my daughter?', shouted Shekhar.
'Listen to me carefully. I will not keep her for long. She's young and blooming. I will get any price I demand for her. Now you decide, you'll pay the price or should I advertise her in the market?'
'You bastard! Don't do dare touch my daughter!'
'There's a package outside your door. This is your only chance to save your daughter!' and the line went blank.

He rushed outside the house to get the package and Tara ran after him. There lay a blank large envelope on their doormat. He looked around but there was no one else as far as he could see. They came inside and opened the envelope. There were three half-nude pictures of little Roohi which made Tara burst into cries. Her usually composed self broke on watching her baby in this state. Along with the pictures was a note which read, "Return the photos that you have and I'll return your daughter. Or else, you can keep these as her last memory. You have two days to decide the future of your daughter!" 


Cyrus woke up with a start in the dark room. The morphine's effect was slowly wearing down and he could feel the pain in his head again. He tried to feel his limbs but couldn't move them much. Apparently, they gave him some drug which were inhibiting his body movements. Both his hands were tied tightly to a pole above his head and his legs were tied to an old pipe and a pole, spread far apart. He couldn't feel his phone in his pocket, they would have taken it. But, he could still operate it using his smart-watch linked to his phone. With much effort, he moved his fingers to press play on his watch and started listening to the recordings of the last hours.

Read the next parts of the story PART 5 | PART 6 | PART 7 | PART 8 | PART 9

Me and my team are participating in ‘Game Of Blogs’ at #CelebrateBlogging with us.
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Play With Me: Book Review

Wednesday, September 10, 2014
Title: Play With Me
Author: Ananth
Genre: Fiction/Erotica
Price: Rs 250 (Buy from at Rs 198)
Number of pages: 252
Publisher: Penguin Books India
ISBN: 9780143423621

The Blurb:
Not very often is one confronted with ravishing beauty. Sid is a successful photographer who works in a boutique advertisement agency. He is single and pretty much has everything he had ever wanted – a rewarding job which happens to be his passion, great co-workers and a smooth sailing life. But the one thing missing, perhaps the most important, is love. And one day, a stunning, independent, free-spirited woman called Cara walks into his life. The two get involved in a thrilling affair, sexually obsessed, which drastically changes all of Sid’s ideas about love. The relationship completely alters the way he thinks about the natural, sensual pleasure. But again, everything changes because something strange happens in Sid’s life - he discovers himself falling intensely in love with another woman. Does that mean he has to walk out on Cara? How will he deal with his new love interest? Find out the answers and more in Play with Me - a story of those emotions that are universal, timeless, and which touch everyone’s life.

About the Author:
Ananth is a young Indian author and Sr. Vice President at Penguin. He is also a photographer who loves petting dogs, and a keen bibliophile.

The Review:
Judging this book from the cover will not be a huge mistake! As it belonged to erotica, the first thought that comes to mind is Fifty Shades of Grey! However, as I didn't read that book, I can't really compare the two. The story is a bit straight-forward with a male protagonist (Sid) and his two love interests (Nat and Cara). In absence of any twists and turns, the plot revolves around Sid's emotions, mixed feelings, confusion between choosing one of the two. The characters, although described vividly by the author, are not so familiar to me. Honestly, I haven't met such confused urban-characters in my life! Infidelity seems like the flavour of the book with a lot of people practicing it and blaming it on living life for the moment.

Being an erotica, it does have loads of love making scenes, most of which could have been easily avoided (I would have loved if I had to read less of the redundant scenes). The author, though lacking a bit in vocabulary, makes up in his ability to describe the emotions and feelings. I really liked the way he was able to describe his feelings in such simplistic manner that at some points I was able to understand his otherwise screwed up way of thinking. The flawed characters are really in, I guess. The last three novels I read definitely had one of these but this one had all flawed which spiced up things! 

One remarkable thing about his writing style is, he has described characters so beautifully that I could actually visualize them all in person! Just one wish remains to know how Sid looks because he described everyone except for himself. Although I imagined him to be tall, fair and really handsome that's why two main female leads go gaga over him! ;)

The best part of this book is the climax - not for any major twists but purely for the writing. The author also includes a poem by Vikram Seth which won my heart. Apart from that, he ends the novel with a magnificent style of writing. For me, the most fav part will be the last two chapters!

Who will like it: Anyone looking for a light, urban lifestyle based story with loads of "love making".
Who will not like it: Thriller lovers. 

My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars.
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