Book Review: Hama-Guri Goes to School, by Aditi Bose

I have a fondness for children’s stories, and love to read them. I honestly feel that there’s a part of me which refuses to grow up, so the genre appeals in particular to that part of me. What appealed to me when I first read the title of the book is the name of the main character. I had no idea what the cover looked like at that time, so it was just that name, Hama-Guri, which piqued interest in the story.


The collection has five stories – Hama-Guri Loses a Competition, Hama-Guri Stops a Bully, Hama-Guri Learns How to Manage Time, It is Doctor Day for Hama-Guri and Hama-Guri Earns Pocket Money. Each story looks at imparting valuable lessons, and features the bubbly six year old boy Hama-Guri and his friends and family.

From the five, I liked the first story the most, probably because it has the most important lesson of the five. The story aims to show that it doesn’t matter if you win or lose, but it matters that you try the hardest, and that’s one lesson that I feel needs to be ingrained early in life. If winning is given precedence always, then the disappointment of defeat will be hard to bear. And even that is shown well in the story.

The second story aims to show that bullying is not right, the third shows how doing things on time is important, the fourth a doctor’s visit and the last one the importance of saving. I feel each story has been given its due justice. The character names are fun, and bring a smile. And the cover design, simple as it is, is beautiful. I’m told the final copy, which is due to release soon, will have pictures in it. I feel that will help the stories to make more of a mark on children than a plain black and white print. And I hope it also reaches children in a hardcopy format. As much as eBooks are popular these days, for a child, the joy of flipping pages and seeing pictures and reading is incomparable.

I would suggest the author go through the book once more before final print/launch. There are typos and missing words that would make a difference. Also, I would suggest a similarity in how Hama calls his parents. Mumma and Pappa would make more sense than Mumma and Father, I feel. Though it’s not unheard of, it felt odd to me to read it that way. And lastly, I thought the title might have been something different. Though the first two stories are school-relevant, the other three (and even the lessons imparted by all five) are not particular to school.

Here’s hoping the book, when completed with pictures and proofread again, makes more impact than this ARC did, and wishing the author and the book success.

The Bookworm Rates This: 4/5
The Bookworm Rates This: 4/5
Book Details
Title: Hama-Guri Goes to School
Author(s): Aditi Bose Genre: Children’s Fiction
ISBN/ASIN: B00XEH14VU Publisher: Cresco Books
No. of Pages: 93 Price: £1.99

The author gave me an Advance Reviewer’s Copy. The views expressed here are my own, frank and uninfluenced.

(© 11th May 2015)



Book Review: The Many Lives of Ruby Iyer, by Laxmi Hariharan

When I first heard about the book from my friends, there were different genres being mentioned. One said it was a thriller, another said it was YA, and a third friend said it was paranormal. Maybe it was a curiosity to know if it was all three that made me take up the book for reading. And yes, I guess The Many Lives of Ruby Iyer is a cross genre book.


Ruby Iyer’s best friend is kidnapped, and she is determined to rescue him. And she’ll go to any lengths to do it. She finds an ally in Vikram. Together, they try to save Panky from Kamini Braganza. To think of saving her best friend is one thing, but to do it is another. She faces obstacles, meets bad guys and what not. There’s plenty of action and that makes for interesting reading.

Good points: Well, I liked the character of Ruby. It had the potential of a strong female protagonist and for the most part, I felt that the character was done justice, be it with the perfections or the imperfections. The pace of narration is mostly steady, though I felt it wavered a bit at times. It was easy to imagine, though not pleasant when it came to the blood spilling scenes. The other characters, though they don’t stand out as much as Ruby, were also done justice.

What didn’t work: I don’t know why, it just didn’t feel engaging. I couldn’t connect with the character as much as I would have liked to. She didn’t feel very real at times. With the beginning, even I ended up wondering how she survived that accident. And there are other scenes that just felt right out of a movie. Language wise, it is not difficult to follow but still needed some tighter editing. I do not know if I would classify it as YA either.

The book, and especially the main character, has the potential to be good. But it still needs something more. Maybe the next book in the series would push the character of Ruby to that level. I certainly hope that it does.

The Bookworm Rates This: 3/5
The Bookworm Rates This: 3/5
Book Details
Title: The Many Lives of Ruby Iyer
Author(s): Laxmi Hariharan Genre: Thriller
Read Out Loud Publishing
No. of Pages: 302 Price: INR. 250

I was given a signed review copy by the author via The Readdicts. The views expressed here are my own, frank and uninfluenced.

(© 10th May 2015)


Book Review: The Activist and the Capitalist, by Vibha Batra


They say opposites attract, and perhaps none more so than the protagonists in this book, Anusha and Jai. If the former is an introvert who takes time to gel with people one-on-one, the other likes to take the lead and talks and mingles easily with people. The book starts off when Anusha and Jai meet again years after they first met. Anusha and her team are trying to protect the site that Jai and his company are looking to develop. Though they clash on that front, the old spark is still there and they find that. But when their aims are clashing, they’re sure to find obstacles in the path of love. The novel looks to see how they overcome that.

What I liked in the book was the character sketching. The main characters have more depth than just being introvert or taking the lead. When looking to get her goals, Anusha is quite vocal, and when she’s down in the dumps, the escape vent she chooses is quite interesting. Similarly, the work focused Jai also ensures he doesn’t have a big ego and spends time with Anusha. The banter between them is sweet, and well written. It felt real.

With any story, the first impression is made by the title. I didn’t quite like the title. It felt like a non-fiction title than a romance one to me. The start is a bit oddly paced but thankfully, not one that jars a lot. I also wished to know more of the past, though their story plays in the present.

I wouldn’t say it’s the best I’ve seen from the Indireads locker, but definitely an enjoyable romance fiction.

The Bookworm Rates This: 3/5
The Bookworm Rates This: 3/5
Book Details
Title: The Activist and the Capitalist
Author(s): Vibha Batra Genre: Romance
ISBN/ASIN: B00WJ12AJC Publisher: Indireads
No. of Pages: 208 Price: INR. 150

Indireads gave me a copy of the book for review. The views expressed here are my own, frank and uninfluenced.

(© 3rd May 2015)


Book Review: Hell Island, by Matthew Reilly


Looking at the book Hell Island makes me wonder two things immediately.

First… is Matthew Reilly trying to show that he can bring as much thrill into a shorter novel as he does with his bigger ones? And second… what the hell am I in for?

The title itself puts some expectation into my mind. And the blurb just pushes it up.

An island that doesn’t appear on any maps and one where the government conducts classified experiments; when that is taken, the US sends in crack forces to see what’s happening and to retake control of the island. But that’s easier said than done. They are up against “genetically enhanced supersoldiers”. One by one, this enemy force takes out the crack forces. Till only Shane Schofield and his team of Marines are left to battle. They’ve entered hell. But can they go back?

I feel this book is worth every word. It keeps me engaged from start to finish and turning pages eagerly to know what’s going to happen. The characters are interesting, and even the doubters in Scarecrow’s team are well thought of. In this novel’s case, it’s just survival of the fittest and the team that thinks on its feet. The villains are a surprise, but well justified. And why the book was written, that cause is also a nice one.

What I didn’t like in the book was the illustrations, which felt out of place. It’s one thing to illustrate the lay of the land or such, but to illustrate the characters felt unnecessary.

It falls in place nicely with the rest of the Scarecrow series, and one that I enjoyed reading.

The Bookworm Rates This: 4/5
The Bookworm Rates This: 4/5
Book Details
Title: Hell Island Series: Shane Schofield #4
Author(s): Matthew Reilly Genre: Thriller
ISBN/ASIN: 9781439191330 Publisher: Simon and Schuster
No. of Pages: 160 Price: Rs. 175

I own a copy of the book. The views expressed here are my own, frank and uninfluenced.

(© 1st May 2015)