Tag Archives: Ebooks

Book review of Despite Love


Mistakes Happen…
After all, we are human.

Smriti wanted to be alone, away from Risabh. Their tumultuous relationship was too much for her to take. There was too much pain and sadness and they were staring at a point of no return. She needed a break from him, she thought. But little did she realise that she would be gone from him forever.

Risabh is shattered as he loses the love of his life in mysterious circumstances. Unable to come to terms with reality, he is constantly tormented by the memories of his past. With the investigating inspector pinpointing the murderer, it seems to be an open-and-shut case. Till things take a murkier turn with the death of another close friend of Risabh…

And then there is yet another murder, just as Risabh is about to pick up the pieces of his life again. Is there a professional killer out on the loose and is Risabh next in line?

Despite Love: Love. Hate. Murder. Deception. Some Secrets Are Meant to Be Revealed. by [Srivastava, Siddhartha]


Unattractive cover. Decent blurb. Good reviews on Amazon & Goodreads.

First look of the book doesn’t justify a really good plot written inside!

With the suspense element added in the very beginning, Prologue added curiosity and this was maintained throughout the book.

Climax and end gives this book an edge.

Gripping plot, good imagination!

Also, consider the fact that the suspense thriller is written by a 12th grader who aspires to become India’s Sidney Sheldon.


Suspense Thriller Novel
Despite Love by Siddhartha Srivastava

Saying anything on the story line can spill some beans. Rather read it!

‘Despite Love’ is a story of Risabh, his love life Smriti, and other friends who plan a reunion. But none of them wondered it would turn dark for them.

Gripping plot. Strong story line.

Organized in 4 parts, the book has a got a good structure. Parts in Delhi, New York and Hyderabad are used well.

The places used in the story failed to create the connect and feel that these metros give.

At certain places in the book, depiction is beautiful. Narration of Risabh’s life and his past memories are frequently used, giving it a Bollywood flavour. And then at times, the dialogue delivery and description doesn’t match his own standard!

There were portions in the book where plot was certain, but climax compensates for all minor errors.

P.S. The writer is 17 years old and is able to pull out a book with so much maturity. He has shown a lot of promise. All the best for your future endeavours, Sid!


Comparing Books One Indian Girl, The Four Patriots

In October first week, Rupa Publications launched two fiction books- Chetan Bhagat’s ‘One Indian Girl’ and Sumit Agarwal’s ‘The Four Patriots’. Interestingly, both these books are hitting the right notes at the right time; clearly winning the sentiments of Indian readers. No doubt Rupa is called ‘The House of Bestsellers’!

One Indian Girl by Chetan BhagatThe Four Patriots by Sumit Agarwal

One Indian Girl & The Four Patriots : Points of Parity and Difference 

1.Contemporary Fiction

Both the books are contemporary fiction. While ‘One Indian Girl’ is like the other fiction works of Chetan Bhagat involving romance and youth, ‘The Four Patriots’ has elements of patriotism, politics and thriller.

2. Based on issues in Indian Society

Both the books address issues prevalent in the Indian society.

One Indian Girl is clearly based on women empowerment and feminism – topics on tip of tongue.  The recent movie ‘PINK’, supporting an altogether different theme of feminism, brought Indian women in picture and this worked for Chetan Bhagat. ‘One Indian Girl’ had record breaking pre-orders of 2 Lakh copies by 20th September, 11 days before official launch of the book!

The Four Patriots is based on four individuals dissatisfied with the system, who set on a journey to change things and bring back glory to the nation. Clearly based on patriotism, it has elements of Terrorism, poor performance in Olympics, Caste-based reservations, water issues between states, thereby clearly taking public sentiments hands on. The recent Uri attacks, surgical strikes and approach with Pakistan is icing on the cake for Sumit.

3. Chetan Bhagat & Sumit Agarwal

While Chetan Bhagat is a brand in himself, a youth icon; Sumit Agarwal is a first time writer.  Just like Chetan Bhagat, Sumit is also an IITian getting into writing. (Seems like IITians don’t want to be just engineers!) Chetan is an investment banker, a columnist, screenplay writer, speaker and motivator and has been judge in shows like Nach Baliye (weird!). Sumit Agarwal is a director of a chemical business, singer and runs NGOs in Kanpur. They belong to same age group.

4. Keep it simple silly!

Simple English – Chetan Bhagat’s signature. Sumit Agarwal’s book follows the same. Simple and Lucid. Easy and written for all.

5. Heroes & Villains 

Every story has heroes and villains. In ‘One Indian Girl’, there is a heroine – Radhika. ( Rahul Gandhi will be happy with Chetan Bhagat empowering a woman!) And the boyfriends, mother, aunts … the society are villains! Chetan Bhagat has portrayed mother of Radhika as orthodox, thinking always of what people will say.

‘The Four Patriots’ has four lead characters suffering at the hands of the system. Patriotism totally ingrained in these guys, they went on to fight elections and become ministers of the country. But when it’s politics, there will be all sorts of villains. Corrupt politicians, scamsters, anti-nationals, terrorists and naxals. Relatable to the real life political-national scenario.. isn’t it?

6. Sex and No Sex!

Chetan Bhagat is known for his marketing gimmicks. One Indian Girl got trending for Page No. 57. Guess what Chetan must have placed. Sex! Like he does it in all his books. Explicit sex. Even when it is not required to show to the extent. Neither it is some E.L.James work nor it is the core theme of the book. He knows well how to attract the Indian non-readers. Thankfully, he’s got no Pahlaj Nihlani for books!

Sumit Agarwal has garnished patriotism with romance and love. No sex. There are moments in ‘The Four Patriots’ but he maintains the sanctity of the book’s theme.

7. Marketing Gimmicks

Ask authors and they say, ‘Writing is easy, Marketing is tough!’ Authors these days try innovative ideas to promote their books.

Apart from Press releases, grand book launches, video teasers and contests, Chetan Bhagat went to Arnub with a U! The team at TVF and Bhagat went on to humiliating Chetan Bhagat and his works. Arnub literally spits on his book! Chetan shows his waxed leg to promote his research on feminism for ‘One Indian Girl’. And if that was low, he also agrees to show his stupid dancing clip on Nach Baliye stage. Lows of negative publicity! And not to forget how he promised sex in the teaser itself!

Negative promotion of One Indian Girl with TVF, Arnub

Negative promotion of One Indian Girl with TVF, Arnub

Sumit Agarwal went on to develop a 5 minute trailer of the book ‘The Four Patriots’, using actors to create a Bollywood style fast-paced drama. He composed theme song titled ‘Four Patriots hai hum’. He even created 14 episode series of ‘Kya aap Deshbhakt kehlane e layak hai?’ 10 sec ads to promote the theme of his book.

Image result for Sumit Agarwal14 episode series of ‘Kya aap Deshbhakt hai?’ for The Four Patriots

8. Soon to be a major motion picture

Both the books are written such that they can be converted to Bollywood movies. Chetan Bhagat has a series of books converted to motion pictures. No surprise if One Indian Girl finds its way to a big Bollywood banner.

Image result for chetan bhagat one indian girl

Sumit Agarwal stated on the launch of ‘The Four Patriots’ that few Bollywood houses are looking forward to convert it to a movie script.  Interestingly, there were two directors present at the launch – Vivek Agnihotri and Jaideep Sen. In fact, Jaideep Sen gave his nod to the fact that he is looking forward to convert it to a movie script. Although Sumit Agarwal hasn’t decided yet.

 Image result for sumit agarwal book launch

However, Sumit Agarwal has a long way to go. Chetan Bhagat is the most loved and hated Indian author simultaneously. It has taken books, controversies and what not to become what he is today. A good book is just not enough!

Innovating the READING

KINDLEIt was midnight 3:00. The last of the campfires had extinguished. But there was a dim light coming out from one of the tents. First thought – must be the back light of a cellphone! Cellphones, these days, have long battery life. With power bank, the reserve capacity increases. It was Kindle. A ‘kindle’ in the dark from a Kindle Ereader!

The experience of book-reading has changed over the few years. From paper back edition to e-book, the world of books has seen several innovations. Have a look at the history of e-books and you will find that it started in 1930s! It involved people like Doug Engelbart, books like Hitchiker’s guide to the Galaxy and later companies like Sony, Amazon, PocketBook, Adobe,etc shaping it.  Well, I ‘m not going to take you through the History of eBooks. I will take you through certain ‘Innovations’ in this world; some already done, and some I have come up with. Rekindle your imagination with my ideas!

Bookmark bookmarks

A book purchased online from amazon, flipkart will get you a free bookmark. Funky, creative, colorful little pieces of plastic paper with quotes or facts written on it. But these funky bookmarks are limited to paperbacks or say physical copy. What’s in for ebooks? Nothing special except that bookmark icon. What if an ebook reader provides you with dynamic, creative and funky bookmarks like those you use with the hard copy? Definitely, it enhances your reading experience, especially when the reading goes boring. Now another question. What if you get a chance to create a bookmark of your own choice and use it while you read? Just like you get to choose how your facebook timeline looks, you can choose your template, design and add your favourite quote to it. Your bookmark is ready to feature in the ebook you read. The bookmark can be kept on the top-right corner of the reader, however it acquires a little more space than the usual ones. But it enhances your reading experience.

Fold your page

The traditional way to bookmark a page was to fold that particular page. Ebook Readers already allow page turning/flipping experience. An added feature and you get traditional reading experience.

Resale Value 

Physical books have resale value.This is one big advantage over electronics ones. Plus a physical book can be shared (borrowed/lend). Just like Kindle recently came up with borrow/lend option to friends for 14 day period, a similar feature may change the library world. However, Kindle is facing certain issues with sharing options because several sites like Lendle have come up with borrow/lend matching option.

What can be done is a common library be created or made available (in case of Kindle which already has one) to users, and user can look for secondhand options- as in a secondhand ebook. How does this work? every original copy bought from the platform gets the original tag which when sold gets a secondhand tag along with reduction in certain features like funky bookmarks, already inked notes from the previous user, etc. but at a price little lower than the original e-copy bought. This will create an “artificial physical world” of books. And people because of cheap price availability will avoid using pirated copies. Also, a pride of having original copy in the library will develop in the reading community. Similarly, pride of buying originals will also develop as the common library shows the reader’s library and reading habits. What will the platform gain? Obviously a secondhand ebook purchase/ sell will be mediated by the platform so the sharing brings in some percentage buck to the platform as well. Also, the transaction can be done with the price points the reader possess in his bucket/cart. This will ensure further transaction for the platform.

Vocab builder

Most E-readers are equipped  with Vocabulary builders and Built-in dictionaries. But what if you want to particularly focus on Vocab while you read. Such E-readers should come up with tests to check your Vocab knowledge the first time you begin using the device and then accordingly show meanings for the words you encounter on the page. With a click on the corner button,  you get the meanings of the word you may find difficult to understand on that particular page. This particular feature will however show meanings of those few words which it feels you may not know- it depends on the evaluation the feature does at the beginning. This evaluation can further be taken after some period when you feel you have improved in your vocab and then it evaluates and sets the level of the vocab you possess.


Talked too much  on digital innovations. Let me come back to paperback edition. Just like you can adjust the light intensity in a Kindle reader, tablet or a cell phone, leds come in handy for a paper book. Button cells fixed inside a funky small holder with a thin wire connecting an LED create a bookmark which can be used to increase light intensity falling on paper books. Such bookmarks (say BOOKLITE) comes to use while sitting in dim lights.

There are certain features which have already enhanced our reading experience:

-> Ink technology : available with commercial ebook readers; it doesn’t hurt your eyes with back light. 

-> Font adjustment

-> Text-to-Speech : from smart phones to tablets, the e-readers are equipped  with this facility. You  can plug in your earphones and hear the ‘text’. 

-> Portable Library with cloud facility

Hope someday I built these features to equip you readers with enhanced reading experience. Till then enjoy reading my long blogs with your limited features.