Thursday, July 27, 2017

Book Review: The Bestseller She Wrote by Ravi Subramanian

Book Review

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When you red through the story, you realise that this is definitely different from the books Ravi has written earlier. And it seems predictable and even slow in first half. The story is seemingly coming to a conclusion midway in the book and you then get confused.

And once you cross the half way mark, suddenly things begin to happen. The story gathers pace and you suddenly realise that Ravi almost fooled you into thinking that this story was going to be slower than his usual thrillers.

Ravi makes up for the pace in second half and you start realising that there is an undercurrent of mystery. People are not what they seem to be and you begin to realise that there are numerous random things that Ravi has thrown around in the story.

In the climax, Ravi wraps up all those random loose ends and puts the complete jigsaw puzzle in front of you .. revealing the 'real' picture. It may not shock you but definitely surprises you at how the climax plays out and who the real 'villain' is.

I waited too long to buy it and then kept postponing the reading. Should have done it earlier. Its a Good Read.

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Tuesday, July 25, 2017

VSS 027 - Eyes on the Prize

Eyes on the Prize


Very Short Story (VSS) 027


He was dazzled by her hair.


And by the way she carried herself with poise. 


He was completely focused on her.


He noticed everything - every crease in her short dress, every movement of her small golden clutch, every expression on her face and even the frown that appeared out of nowhere.


His eyes never left her


He had learnt his lessons, not in the school, but in real life. He got trained on-the-job with no retakes.


As a pick-pocketer aiming for specialization in ladies handbags; his number one learning was 'Eyes on the Prize'



This story was interesting to write. I started out with a one-sided romantic angle in mind with a shy guy infatuated with a beautiful girl. But as you can see, right in the end, the story took an unexpected turn and became something else altogether.

Its fun and satisfying to write such a story. Amusing to see such an unplanned twist coming from inside. 😊

Quick Note: Very Short Stories are max. 99 word stories that i am writing, as part of my writing resolutions for 2017. My target is to write at least 50 VSS this year - about 12-13 every quarter. 

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Book Review: Encrypted by Carolyn McCray

Book Review 

Encrypted by Carolyn McCray

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Imagine Lara Croft and give her computer hacking skills. And also give her a FBI agent lover with whom, unfortunately, she can only play a game of cat and mouse since they are both on different sides of the law.

The book is essentially an action thriller with a lot of interesting electronic gadgetry supporting james Bond like escapades and hacks.

The background story is that of a vicious group trying to spread the black plague once again to wipe out majority of the human population.

While there are lots of things in the story/plot that don't make sense, it is a nice action thriller read.

View all my reviews on

Saturday, July 22, 2017

VSS 026 - Thank You

Thank You


Very Short Story (VSS) 026


He watched the kids play in the garden. Everyday. He never joined them though.

They came with their toys, cycles, balls, frisbees and numerous other games.

He had none. 

He was my maid’s kid and I noticed him. Asked my maid and learnt about his hesitation.

My Child’s old bicycle was lying unused. Got it repaired, polished and ready for him at his house next day.

My neighbor asked why I did it secretly. Not even a Thank you in return.

The child’s dumbstruck happy expression was more than the mere ‘Thank you’.

Go ahead. Do some Good.


As promised in my last VSS, I pick up 'Thank You' as the title. When I began writing the story, i had the end in mind, where the child would say Thank you. When i wrote that, i realised that it was not enough. Had I been in the position of cycle-giver; the Thank You would have been nothing. i would be looking forward to the smile on the kid's face. hence the end got a re-write. And a message 'Do some Good' got added as I had a few words to spare :)

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

VSS 025 - Silver Jubilee

Silver Jubilee


Very Short Story (VSS) 025


Silver Jubilee – a celebration of 25


With time, patience and longevity, both have gone down. Even the silver jubilee celebrations have come down from years to months to weeks to days.


And strangely, while the Silver does become Golden (50), the cases of things NOT going beyond are on a rise. Sad.


25 years of married life

25 weeks of a movie running in theatres

25 months of being in the same job

25 days of being engaged

25 hours of going without junk food

25 minutes of being away from social media


Living a sliver of fickle life


The title wrote itself this time around.

It is my 25th VSS and it is a reason for celebration since it is half of my annual goal of 50 stories. 20 days and 3 stories behind schedule but quickly catching up.

So here is the silver jubilee story with a tinge of philosophical musing towards the fickle nature of life today. 

Thank you to all friends who have liked and commented on my stories. Thats encourgement for me. Thats what keep this going.


(and with that, let me use THAT as the title of my next story. THANK YOU)

Sunday, July 16, 2017

VSS 024 - Letters and Papers

Letters and Papers


Very Short Story (VSS) 024


Corporate life is very stressful and the annual vacation is a much sought after time … to relax and cool off. But this year is different. With down-sizing and cost-cutting news in the air; no one dare take a leave.

The moment your boss realizes that the organization can survive without your presence, even for a single day; you go from indispensable to ‘dispensed’.

I gave my whole and soul to the job. Worked hard, slogged nights. Missed birthdays, anniversaries and kid’s performance in school.

It paid off.

Got my Promotion letter today.
Also the divorce papers too.


The 'ing ong' series discontinued since I ran out of words. if you can think of any, feel free to suggest. I might pick them up for a future story. 

In this story, I take a serious turn, touching upon the elusive work-life balance and strenuous demands of work life.

Quick Note: Very Short Stories are max. 99 word stories that i am writing, as part of my writing resolutions for 2017. My target is to write at least 50 VSS this year - about 12-13 every quarter. Currently I am behind my target but quickly catching up :-)

Friday, July 14, 2017

VSS 023 - Ping Pong

Ping Pong


Very Short Story (VSS) 023



He was always fixated on Table Tennis; making the ping pong ball dance to his wishes. Literally.


There was no one who could make the ping pong ball fly the way he did. It was almost magical.


The Principal was confident he would go on to play for the country. And win Gold.


And just before the inter-school championship, his right arm got paralyzed permanently in an accident. Doctors said he could play no more.


Seven year later, I was happy to see him win the Gold for the country yesterday, playing table tennis … with his left arm.


The 'ing ong' series continues. In this case, the title 'Ping Pong' had a clear meaning so I had to wrap the story around the ping pong ball. As the story climaxed, it transformed into an inspirational message of sorts.

Quick Note: Very Short Stories are max. 99 word stories that i am writing, as part of my writing resolutions for 2017. My target is to write at least 50 VSS this year - about 12-13 every quarter. Currently I am behind my target but quickly catching up :-)

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

COVER REVEAL - Avishi by Saiswaroopa Iyer

~ Cover Reveal ~

Avishi by Saiswaroopa Iyer

Long before the times of Draupadi and Sita
Immortalised in the hymns of the Rig Veda
But largely forgotten to the memory of India
Is the Warrior Queen with an iron leg, Vishpala

Brought up in the pristine forest school of Naimisha, Avishi reaches the republic of Ashtagani in search of her destiny. When Khela, the oppressive King of the neighbouring Vrishabhavati begins to overwhelm and invade Ashtagani, Avishi rises to protect her settlement. But peril pursues her everywhere.
Separated from her love, her settlement broken, with a brutal injury needing amputation of her leg, can Avishi overcome Khela?

About the Author:
Saiswaroopa is an IITian and a former investment analyst turned author. Her keen interest in ancient Indian history, literature and culture made her take to writing. Her debut novel Abhaya, set in the times of Mahabharata was published in 2015. Avishi, her second novel set in Vedic India explores the legend of India’s first mentioned female warrior queen Vishpala. She holds a certificate in Puranas from Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies. She is also trained in Carnatic Classical music and has won a state level gold medal from Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams. 

This Cover Reveal is brought to you by Book Review Tours

Monday, July 10, 2017

VSS 022 - Ting Tong

Ting Tong
Very Short Story (VSS) 022
The doorbell startled her. The first thought after overcoming the initial ‘shock’ was the question – ‘When was the last time someone had rung her bell?’
The answer was Never. Well, not actually Never. She had heard it 25 years ago when it was installed and tested by the electrician. But never after that.
That evening her family had gone for the movie and met with an accident while returning. No one had ever rung the bell ever since.
She missed her family and never understood why she was left behind.
Being a lonely ghost was no fun.

I continue with the 'ing ong' series .... using Ting Tong this time, the ubiquotous sound of the doorbell.

I find this an interesting way of writing a very short story, starting with the title and then building the story on it. A challenge in itself but the best part is the sense of amusement and wonder I experience after completely the short.

Quick Note: Very Short Stories are max. 99 word stories that i am writing, as part of my writing resolutions for 2017. My target is to write at least 50 VSS this year - about 12-13 every quarter. Currently I am behind my target by about a month's worth but gradually catching up :-)

Saturday, July 08, 2017

VSS 021 - Sing Song

Sing Song
Very Short Story (VSS) 021
I no longer sing
I used to sing
I used to sing pretty well I must say
I used to sing for her
And she sang with me
Together we were unstoppable
We sang everywhere – in the bus, in the train, on the plane, in the rain
Heads turned when we sang – some in annoyance, some in appreciation
Then she was gone
And I lost my voice
More than that, I lost my zing to sing
Every song reminds me of her
Songs evoke happy memories, which cause pain
Singing choke me
I no longer sing


The title of this story is not random. It was inspired by the title of my previous story (Ding Dong) and in this particular case, the story came out of the title rather than the  other way round. I had no story or a thought when I created the Sing Song title from Ding Dong. After I wrote that title, the words began to flow.

Quick Note: Very Short Stories are max. 99 word stories that i am writing, as part of my writing resolutions for 2017. My target is to write at least 50 VSS this year - about 12-13 every quarter. Currently I am behind my target by about a month's worth but gradually catching up :-)

Thursday, July 06, 2017

VSS 020 - Ding Dong

Ding Dong


Very Short Story (VSS) 020



The young chap asked me if I could exchange seats with him since his friend was sitting next to me. I had a window seat and he had a center seat (neither window nor aisle) elsewhere in the plane.

I hate being squashed between 2 passengers fighting for armrest space; but I agreed.


I regretted my decision as soon as he told me I had to move from row 12 to row 47.


Later during the flight, on the way to the washroom at the back, he saw me squeezed between two sexy European girls and cursed his luck.  


This one is not just based on True Story; it is a True Story. Not only did it happen to me; I was the one who accepted the change of seat and got the middle seat :)

And before you ask me about the title of the story - It was random words i wrote before starting the story. When I finished the story, i couldnt think of another title and somehow liked this meaningless, musical title and so it stayed.  

Quick Note: Very Short Stories are max. 99 word stories that i am writing, as part of my writing resolutions for 2017. My target is to write at least 50 VSS this year - about 12-13 every quarter. Currently I am behind my target by about a month's worth but gradually catching up :-)

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Book Review: Married to the Mossad by Shalva Hessel

Book Review: Married to the Mossad by Shalva Hessel

Spoiler alert - Although, I do not reveal secrets and actual spoilers; I do make a comment on how the story progressed which I personally feel is spoiler alert worthy enough.
The title was promising.
My first impression was that the tale would be about the wife of a spy and her struggles with life as she tries to make sense of her husband’s suspicious job and its requirements.
As the book progressed, I realized that this was true for only one chapter. In the very next chapter, the secret was revealed to the lady and she embraced it.
In fact, she, more than embraced it. She became a part of the job and voluntary inducted herself into her husband’s mission, helping him achieve his objective.
And that is when she comes across a person who had helped her once … and was now seemingly being duped by another person, who had duped someone the lady knew. She wants to warn him but can’t for fear of blowing up her cover.
Once her husband’s mission is completed, she takes it upon herself to investigate and find the truth of the matter and warn the benefactor about the cheat. 
The more she gets involved in the matter, more bizarre the story gets.
There books starts out with a promise of being a joyride but half way through we get the feeling of it being dragged mercilessly.
The story could have ended in many places and it could have been a good novella or even a novel; but the story went on and on, creating new twists and turns, surprising support and shocking betrayals.
In fact, half way through the book, you begin to question the title of the book. Except for a few mentions and some background material, the Mossad does not really play a role in the story.
The book is entirely about the female protagonist who has her own convictions and who stands by them. She is indeed a very strong character but her transgressions in the second half take some of the glory away. What she does is not surprising. It is probably what would have happened in real life too. But somehow it scraped and tarnished the towering image that was built for the protagonist through the story. It was almost anti-climactic. Also, it was in direct conflict with her own thinking, principles and view of the other person.
Overall, an interesting story but don’t go by the title. Mossad is not the key to the story. It is just in the background. Be ready for a story which involved a strong female protagonist who takes on some evil and strong thugs who won’t shy away from harming her for meddling in their affairs. It is also about her personal emotional conflict and choices.
Not much in cover design there. a few pics thrown in along with engagement rings and a gun. Gives it a spy-love-triangle feel where one guy is linked to 2 women - which is totally misleading. And it is totally untrue.
Rating: 3/5

Sunday, July 02, 2017

Book Review: Love, Murder & Mayhem – An Anthology edited by Russ Colchamiro

Book Review: Love, Murder & Mayhem – An Anthology edited by Russ Colchamiro




The tagline on the cover - ‘Cosmic Tales of the Heart gone Deadly Wrong’ - sets the mood of the stories wrapped inside this anthology bundle. Also, the stories live up to the book title and give you a generous helping of love, murder and mayhem / chaos.

This collection with stories from 15 authors has super-heroes and super-villains; in diverse sci-fi futuristic worlds with other world creatures, artificial intelligence and space as well as time travel thrown in to complicate things further. The stories are wild, wacky, dark, gritty, heartbreaking, fun – in short, an entire bouquet.

Authors who have contributed to this mélange of sci-fi jumble: Meriah Crawford, Paige Daniels, Peter David, Mary Fan, Michael Jan Friedman, Robert Greenberger, Glenn Hauman Paul Kupperberg, Karissa Laurel, Kelly Meding, Aaron Rosenberg, Hildy Silverman, Lois Spangler, Patrick Thomas,

Editor: Russ Colchamiro.

A lot of sci-fiction stories that I have read either created a different futuristic world or they set you thinking. The story collection here isn’t set in any particular universe nor intends to focus on it. Each story stands in its own world, own universe.

The focus is NOT the technology of the future. Focus is people and their perspective of things. The perspectives are different and interesting since they are set in a different world. It is interesting to see how people (and lets include aliens in this as well) react to the situations.

Some of the stories have interesting concepts of the future – like the sleep surrogates – people who will sleep for you while you benefit from 24 ‘waking’ hours every day to accomplice whatever you want … uninterrupted.
Overall, a good set of stories to read.

 Rating: 3/5

Addendum -
I wrote a good review about the book and still rated it 3 and not 4 or 5. More than the quality of the book, it is reflective of my own perception and expectations. I have been spoilt by Isaac Asimov and Philip K Dick as far as sci-fi is concerned. They set me thinking by their space age stories. They introduced you to mind boggling technologies of the future without even making them the core of the story. Their stories always had the human and their emotions at the core. This collection attempts to do the same and have managed it too … but the comparison with Asimov and PKD will always be there. Just like the comparison of any action thriller novel with those written by Ludlum and Reilly.