The Stranger Trilogy – Novoneel Chakraborty (Book Review)


Marry me, Stranger
I’m Rivanah Bannerjee, a young and independent girl living alone in Mumbai. My parents love me, my boyfriend adores me and I have a great job. But here’s the thing -my life is in danger. Someone’s been following me around, watching my every move, trying to get control over my life. At first, I thought it was a silly prank to gain my attention. My roomie suggested he must be a secret admirer. Is he? What he doesn’t know is the police have set a trap to nab him. Soon I’ll know if its simply a lovers obsession or there is more to it. BTW, I call him Stranger.
Enough 4 me to lay my hands on the book…
All Yours, Stranger25841792
For those of you who don’t know me yet, I’m Rivanah Bannerjee, a Kolkatan trying to find her footing in Mumbai. Even though I’m currently in a relationship with a great guy, I can’t help but miss my ex-boyfriend despite knowing that he cheated on me. But that’s the least of my worries. The stranger has gone missing since the police tried to nab him unsuccessfully. Where is he? What does he want from me? Why did he come into my life in the first place? Will he ever contact me again? These and many more questions continue to torment me every day. I’m desperate for the stranger to come back to me knowing fully well that he may destroy me forever. But then that’s the sexiest thing I have ever known about someone.
29351209Forget me not, Stranger
I m Rivanah Bannerjee 23 F Mumbai. Some of you might already know how my life is on a razor edge. Those of you who don t just know this I may be killed soon . . . by the Stranger. I don’t know who or what he is, a ghost a person or a figment of my imagination? All I know is he isn’t just one thing, he is sexy and scary terrific and terrifying. What I don’t understand is why a young harmless girl like me who works in a big city stays away from her parents and has a screwed-up love life would be of any interest to him. Unless there is something about my own story that I do not know. In the hotly anticipated final installment of the Stranger trilogy, Rivanah will learn the answers to her many questions What is it that binds her to the dead Hiya? Who is the Stranger? Why has he been following her all this while? leading to an intense breathtaking climax.
I began reading the book. This is what I thought after I came to the end…

780 pages, 3 novels and 3 days later after having read all three parts of the ‘Stranger Trilogy’ did I FINALLY get to know who the stranger was. The author, Novoneel Chakraborty really keeps the reader wondering who it (the stranger) could be and the mystery that surrounds her and the stranger – connections and all.

One word – Phew!

After having read his first novel ‘that kiss in the rain’ a really really long time back (which was simply wow! btw) The stranger trilogy was a whole different genre that the author ventured into. I was very skeptical about purchasing the book at first, but after having finished all the 3 parts, I’m glad I did. He has done a great job. This guy had got some serious writing talent. Great going buddy!

As anxious as Rivanah (the main character in the novel) was to find out who the stranger was, I was equally waiting to reach to ‘that page’ where the revelation would be made. It was not until I completed 780 pages (over 3 books) to eventually get there.
I’m not sure why I always end up liking the main girl lead character in any book I read, but as messed up as Rivanah’s life gets over the course of the story, I like her a little more as I kept reading. There’s really no boring part in the book, it just keeps you going as a reader to know more & more.

However that said, I did not like a couple of things, which may be the author could improve on, firstly his language skills which need improvement (better sentence construction, phrase usage etc) it was good but can definitely be better and of course the intimate scenes between characters, could be explained or written in a more passionate/erotic/sensual manner. It felt more like ‘rough sex’ than ‘passionate sex’

The plot was wonderful and so was the story flow, keeping the reader engaged after every turn of the page. There were many characters which were fitted well at different junctions in the story which was really good. Character portrayals were to the ‘T’.
I would not to be able to point out a certain kind of category who would enjoy reading this book, but for anyone who enjoys a little mystery, a little love and a good read will have a great time reading the ‘stranger trilogy’.

Not sure the titles or the book covers quite matched up to the contents of the story but well… it’s the story that matters most, covers & pictures can always change.

I’ll give it a 3.5/5 rating. Overall happy with the purchase.

The Crunch Factor – How did I like the book?

The CRUNCH Factor by Andaleeb Wajid

Was the book crunchy enough to deserve a 5 star rating?

Not for me at least, a maximum of from my side.


Love comes in all tastes and spices!

Twenty-six-year-old Aliya loves almost everything to do with food – eating it, styling it, photographing it. But while her career as a food photographer is on track, her personal life is entirely derailed. Determined to move out of her parents’ house, she agrees to marry Kamaal, the hot owner of the trendy new restaurant in town. But why does she feel like she’s waded into a bowl of bland khichri? Where’s the papad, dammit? Where’s the crunch factor?

Then, on the day of her engagement, she finds out that the celebrated chef at Kamaal’s restaurant is none other than Sameer, an old crush from her younger days. Aliya cannot believe that, even a decade later, he’s still as hot as jalapeno poppers and as charming as cheesecake, and that she’s as attracted to him as she was all those years ago.

What is Aliya to do now? Should she go ahead with the wedding and settle for a Milky Bar-like relationship with Kamaal, or should she choose rocky road pie and explore her possibilities with Sameer?

Going by the name of the book, you’d think the story would be crunchy enough all the way through to the end. I wouldn’t say it lacked the crunchy factor, for it can be found at different places in the book but I’d put this book more as a salad dressing to the actual meal.

What else? The book is good, good attempt made at writing out a good story and moves at a fast pace throughout. Though I will say, I was very very disappointing with the ending. I’m not sure it deserved that kind of an ending.

A One Time Read. Not sure if one will be able to relate to the characters too much, unless of course you like photography or are a foodie or basically food is your thing. It is kind of a mix bag of what you get when you read the book, so go ahead and read it.

IDEAL reading situations (i) during journeys (ii) when you have nothing else better to do (iii) sitting at a restaurant waiting for someone to turn up

Sakshama Dhariwal’s MAN OF HER MATCH – Book Review

Yes, I am finally done with reading Sakshama Dhariwal’s second novel  MAN OF HER MATCH after her first very very successful book ‘The Wedding Photographer’. Just like her first novel, I enjoyed reading her second book too, I liked it but in comparison to her first novel, I absolutely loved it. So on the personal front, that’s a drop of a 00.5 rating star for me.

Coming straight to the novel. Let’s start with the cover, what is with the author and cutting of the faces of the people on her book covers? (same with her first novel too) though the curve on the girls behind makes up for the loss of face view (I quite enjoyed that) but again comparing the girl on the cover of her first novel and this one, I liked the pic of the girl on the first one, if only Sakshama would have been kind enough to acknowledge her name like she did with this novel in the acknowledgements section. Wait!! at some level, they do look the same (if looked at closely)

I was thrilled to bits, when I heard that the author had her second book out fairly quickly after her first, expecting the same quirkiness in this book, which I guess at some level it did but maybe I didn’t quite latch on to. The story was well written, character portrayal was good, disappointed on the ‘Kuku’ and ‘Monty’ characters. Nevertheless, here like the previous novel, credit would have to go again to the strong female character (played by Nidhi) and more of a supporting cast in Vikram. There was an attempt to bring out some hilarity in the trio of the chauffeur, the cook n the Nepalese security guard (which didn’t really work), I thought that could have been avoided at certain places, though their introduction and their initial involvement in the story made it a good start to the novel.

In a nutshell, to put in in cricket terminology – It did not have the excitement of a T20 match but more like a 50 overs match where in you feel the team could have upped the run-rate a bit in the middle overs (more like the current team playing style of Team India under Virat Kohli’s captaincy) Good effort nevertheless Sakshama Dhariwal. Well done! Loved Nidhi as much as Rishi (the female character in her first book) though’ I’d say I’m tilting more towards Rishi right now.

To find the review of her previous book, click HERE

You are the Best Wife – Non Fiction Novel

It is the first time that I have actually read a non-fiction book – A true story, that of Ajay K. Pandey (the author) and his wife Bhavna Pradhan, the title of the book, which is ‘You are the Best Wife’

The book covers the journey of their lives, from the first time they meet until the point of marriage and a little after that. The writing style is simple and pretty straight forward, which does not have too many frills, which one would expect in a fictional novel, this being a true story, has a charm of its own.

It wouldn’t be fair to give a review on a true story written, maybe that’s why I don’t want to say much about the book. However, purely concentrating on the content, one can find errors here-n-there, not very glaring, but if you’re someone who is a stickler for grammar, you will not miss them.

There are a lot of good things that come out from this book, some things that it may have lacked, but I still give it a ‘thumbs up’.

This is one story, that comes straight from the heart.

I’m gonna skip giving a rating to this book, purely because it is a true story, and only one knows what it must feel to  bring out one’s feelings in print, especially if it is a story like this (not-a-happy-ending)

This is not your Story – Savi Sharma (Book Review)

Sometimes, you do not write your story, it writes you.
You don’t choose your story, it chooses you.
But would you believe it if someone told you, ‘This Is Not Your Story’?
Would you have the courage to rewrite it?
This has to be a killer blurb! Just by reading’d want to have your own copy.,204,203,200_.jpg?w=558

This is the second book of Author Savi Sharma, I’ve read in 2 days. While you might have read my review of the first book, her second book ‘This is not your Story’ is simply, to put in one word ‘brilliant’ – Savi Sharma does indeed have the talent to carve out a beautiful story, unlike her first book which disappointed on many levels. Maybe I should have waited to read both her books and then review it together.

There’s something different and refreshing about this story, that caught my attention.. a few pages into the book. Maybe it was that I could relate to so many parts of the story. What I loved the most, were the sections of ‘Miraya’s Diary’, I could relate strongest to her character, though the characters of Kasturi, Shaurya & Anubhav were equally interesting to read. We could take a little something, from every character portrayed in the book. I could actually picture the story coming alive in front of my eyes.

You many find this review very contrasting to the one I wrote about her first novel, but the fact is – this novel had more heart put into it, it had the the right mix of heartfelt emotions to move the reader, which maybe her first novel lacked. 

Rating: 4/5

Author Savi Sharma will go places.

Everyone has a Story – Savi Sharma (Book Review)

Everyone has a story to tell. Everyone is a writer. Some are written in books, and some are confined to hearts.

Must admit, I fell in love with the line above, not sure if it is a Savi original tho’..

‘Savi’ – yes that’s one less alphabet to my name Savio, I think she stole my name 😉 she almost did and stopped short.. 😂😂😂

Okay, coming to the book “Everyone has a Story”  by Savi Sharma and my take on it. Maybe I should not call it ‘a Review’, maybe I’ll say just ‘my take’..whatever! I liked the title, even the author’s name (short of 1 alphabet…) she looks pretty too, but wait! that’s not why I bought the book. I thought it would make a good read, since the reviews I read about the book were praising the author and the book to the skies – and I needed to read it myself to know, if all that praise was worthy. you look at the back cover you have three reactions from The Hindu, Femina and the New Indian Express, they say the following:

‘A runaway success’ – The Hindu

‘Savi Sharma is a publishing phenomenon’ – Femina

‘A relentless storyteller’ – New Indian Express

I say, don’t go by these flattering words for the author or the book. I’m not saying the book isn’t good, but it isn’t worthy of the praises. It is an average book, written by an average Indian and tells average stories. So Yes! That’s it..

The author is talented no doubt, the language is good, editing is even better, but it doesn’t have any ‘X’ factor like some other books I’ve been reading recently or read in the past (reviews which you can find on this blog). She could have easily approached Chetan Bhagat for a few words of appreciation too.. and seriously ‘Femina’?

I expected much more, just based on the hype the book created. I have another book of Savi’s in my cupboard which I’d start reading today but…I hope she doesn’t disappoint me 2/2, that will make me real sad – not because the stories are not up to the mark but for the money I paid for them 🙁

This book is OKAY/AVERAGE and a good read, a book you’d read maybe in a train or a bus or basically when you’re on wheels. I was on wheels too, my chair has wheels-that kept me going. Light read, quick read-the book doesn’t give the reader too much to ponder over. Not the best when it comes to Indian writing. I am reminded of a dialogue of Baburao Ganpatrao Apte (Paresh Rawal’s character in the movie Hera Pheri)

(looking upwards) Utha le re babe, utha le.. mereko nahi re.. (you can complete the rest…)

This by no means is a negative review, it still is a better book than so many others I have read, just that I think Savi Sharma has so much more potential to do better. Go ahead, pick up the book if you’re looking for something casual.

I do also want to know what is the criteria for a book to become a BEST SELLER in India. Anyone has any idea?

Rating: 3/5

A Forgotten Affair – Book Review

The synopsis of ‘A Forgotten Affair’ gives you a fair indication of what’s in store or what to expect, but what it doesn’t tell you is, how well written the story is, paying attention to the finer details of the characters and the story line. There is no dull moment in the book.

The story revolves around, Sagarika and other characters who are attached to her. As the synopsis says After six months she wakes up with no memory of her past”, her character starts on a clean slate and she goes about finding out the who’s, how’s, why’s and what’s attached to her life. The author does a great job of timing, in introducing each of the different characters in the book. The plot moves effortlessly between the present and the past, revealing important details and incidents which keeps the reader hooked on.

One simply can’t switch off from this book until the final chapter.

The language is simple to understand and follow, which makes you run through the book even though you might want to slow it down a little, just to absorb the story in a little better. For a debut book, she has done FANTASTIC. Looking forward to reading more from this talented author, Kanchana Banerjee.

The cover goes well with the simplicity in which the story is written. Well done!

Aditi had highly recommended this book, she thought I’d really like it and I did. It was only fair that I call her up and discuss a little about the book with her (Goa-Mumbai…yes) while she was travelling in a local train, with the clanging of the wheels with the track in the background.

How much would I rate this book out of 5? Tho’ I really liked the story and everything about the book from its editing to language, cover & design, character portrayal etc. It would be unfair to give it a full 5 out of 5. There’s always scope for improvement 🙂 

My rating: 4.5/5

3 Books you would surely want to read. I call them feel-good-factor books, they are:

Naughty Men, Nick of TimeThe Wedding Photographer. Do catch up on these books!

2 Book Reviews – (Indian Authors)

I. The Guest – Mitali Meelan

Synopsis: Eighteen-year-old Neha Ranade is perfectly comfortable with her life—a singer boyfriend, a group of loyal friends and with the college annual festival around the corner, her days are exciting and full. But when her father’s Canadian colleague arrives home, Neha’s grand plans are uprooted. What could be the purpose of this curious guest’s sudden visit—for better or for worse? 

My take on the book: Good read! A predictable story the moment I was 2/3 pages into the book. Good narration, story flow was good. You will want to read the book more for its writing style than the story, though the story is pretty decent 🙂 For a debut novel, the author has done a fine job. Can definitely get better over time. 

II. Secretly Yours – Vikrant Khanna

Synopsis: Orphaned at birth, seventeen-year-old Sahil has always blamed himself for his parents’ death. He has little interest in life until he meets the ambiguous Anya in a chance encounter during the Shimla fest. Soon he falls head over heels in love with Anya, but she doesn’t reciprocate his feelings. An accident leaves him in a coma and when he wakes up he makes a shocking discovery he can read minds! Now he can find out what goes on in Anya’s mind and maybe, just maybe, make her fall in love with him. But is Anya all she seems? Or is she hiding something?

Deliciously plotted, full of morbid secrets and startling revelations, Secretly Yours will make you question what you see and who you trust.

My take on the book: Author Vikrant Khanna is 3 novels old now. I personally loved his first book (When Life Tricked Me..) I thought it was an awesome book for a debut. Didn’t read his second book but this one..well! It had all the making of another good one. Good start, moved at fast pace in the first few pages and towards the middle and then came the lull towards the end. Another twilight…if you get what I mean! The two main characters here were Sahil and Anya obviously and a bunch of other characters thrown in. The ideas were right when thinking of the story but the story by itself was a let down. Add to that editing flaws, mistakes, language, sentence structure errors etc… NOT DONE! The talent that the guy possesses, he can definitely write better! I will rate this book because I know this guy is capable of getting a 5/5. Secretly Yours : Rating – 2.5/5

….and Oh yes! On the WordPress front, I’ve crawled to 602 followers (another 100 up!) Yay to that! 🙂

From Tiggie With Love – Book Review

Can you believe that’s the name of the book..? From Tiggie With Love. I mean like seriously! At least think of a better name. This novel is Nitin Sharma’s first attempt at writing a book.

What can you expect from this book?

First things first…why did I flip and order for this book? If it was the name alone, I would have never gone ahead and bought it, it was the synopsis that I read that had me interested, it seemed like something that I would enjoy reading, a little mystery thrown in but after having read the book, I was disappointed, very disappointed with the book. Nitin’s writing skills have to improve BIG TIME! Editing is another crucial thing which has been ignored and overall this book, though it was good at some points, it had equally or more bad parts in the book.

The major part of the book is ‘the interview’ (Saarika interviewing Rehaan Dutt) which was boring to read to an extent…so much of detailing wasn’t required. The author’s got to understand that some things are understood by the reader, you don’t have to mention every little thing. Ishaani’s character could have been portrayed better. This book was all about Rehaan Dutt! I mean, as a writer you need to give equal importance to all your characters…but NO, that didn’t happen.

So would you want to read this book if you see it in a bookstore? I don’t know…pick up some better book maybe. This books lacks the good language and what I found most IRRITATING in the book was the extensive use of hindi language.  That is so not cool.

I should b sorry for myself for buying this book. A waste of my money, if it was gifted to me it probably wouldn’t have made me feel so bad.

The book didn’t move me at all, it could have been far worse, it is at least bearable to an extent. Sorry Nitin, I hope your next book would be better, if you plan on writing one that is!

I read another book before this by Ruchita Mishra – I DO, Do I. Now this book is a good read. You might want to pick this one up if you see it in a bookstore. A light read.. Kasturi is cute so are the other characters. Her first book ‘The (in) eligible Bachelors  was also a good read.