P. Wish Rants and Reviews

I share my mundane rambling and useful book reviews on my blog. I will keep the reviews short and the rants long.

Book Review- The Paid Companion

The Paid Companion - Amanda Quick

I've been wanting to read something by Amanda Quick for some time. I picked up The Paid Companion this week and read it in one go. I started the book at night and couldn't put it down so, I stayed awake all night and finished it. The Paid companion, as the title suggests is a story of a professional arrangement that turns into love.

 

The plot isn't wildly original, but the characters and pacing are excellent. The story has strong elements of thriller/ mystery as half of the story revolves around finding a murderer. However, unlike many authors, Amanda Quick uses the mystery elements to aid the story, not take away from it. The pacing is perhaps the biggest strength of the novel. The events unfold at the right pace and nothing appears forced or deliberate. The emotion and writing style are strong too.

 

Overall, The Paid Companion was an enjoyable read. I recommend it to any historical romance fan. I hope to read more by this author in the future. 

Story behind the Stories- Dream Diary

 

I am back with the final installment of Story behind the stories. This has been a great journey. I feel bittersweet.

All giveaways for Into the Light have ended. Congratulations to everyone who won a copy. I will be offering the book for free on Story Cartel this month. Keep and eye on my social media profiles for updates. 

Dream Diary


Dream diary is another one of my old treasures. I wrote this story a long time ago. Back then, I had no clue what to do with it. I shelved it. I picked it up again when I was looking for inspiration for my short story series. Dream diary was intended to be a novel, but I think it makes a better short story. 

Dream diary is one of my earlier attempts at science fiction. I used to have frequent nightmares when I wrote this story. I maintained a dream diary to record my dreams. I used to write them down every morning. I would then conduct research on them and try to understand what they symbolized. The nightmares stopped after a while. But, this story remained. 

I modified and re-wrote parts of it. I made it into a short story with its own twist ending. Upon reading the story again, I found that the minor themes of the story revolve around the main character’s yearning to belong. ‘Home’ is perhaps a good word to describe the minor theme of this story. The story is mostly fantasy and science fiction. Much like the other science fiction stories, this too connects technology with society. 

The story also makes a side note about changes in communications technology. We can now make millions of friends online through social media websites. This has eliminated the need for physical proximity. Right now, we’re somewhere in between both these paradigms. 

I’ll stop for today. I hope this post helped you understand why I wrote this short story. Dream Dairy is Chapter 3 of Into the Light. You can watch the trailer below. 

I want to thank you for reading this series. You can find the other installments on my blog. This is the last post in this series. It has been a pleasure to share my experiences with you all. 

I will be posting articles on writing, self-publishing and content generation this month. I am currently working on my next book which will hopefully (fingers crossed) release in February 2016. If you haven’t already, subscribe to my mailing list to be the first one to read my next book. 

You can follow ‘The Story behind stories’ series on my blog or through my social media. If you want to support me, click on the link below to purchase ‘Into the Light’, my debut short story collection that contains ‘Dream Dairy’ and eight other stories.

Purchase Links:

iBookshttps://itunes.apple.com/us/book/into-the-light/id1044039341?ls=1&mt=11 

Amazon (USA): http://www.amazon.com/Into-Light-collection-short-stories/dp/151773309X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1444562137&sr=8-1&keywords=into+the+light+p+wish

Link to my new post, Resources for Genre Fiction Writers:
http://www.pwish.net/blog/resources-for-genre-fiction-writers 

Story Behind the Stories- Anatomy of a Divorce

 

I am back with the eighth instalment of Story behind the stories. This week, I will be discussing why I wrote 'Anatomy of a Divorce'. 

Anatomy of a Divorce 

I never thought I’d write something like this. I usually write avoiding writing about contentious social issues. However, I decided to challenge myself on this one. As stated in the trailer, Anatomy of a divorce is a satirical observation of marriage. The story is pure fiction. It captures the emotions of individuals, families and society in relation to divorce. In doing so, it makes some sharp observations on the nature of the institution of marriage. 

The story could also be classified as a reality vs expectations scenario. Though the eyes of the main character, I have tried to portray the feelings that those getting divorced go through. The little annoying things that your partner does can add up to a lot over time. I hope readers can have fun reading the story. 

I enjoyed writing the story. I hope you enjoyed reading it. The book trailer is available on my Youtube channel. You can have a look to decide if the story interests you. 

I want to thank all those who took part in my giveaway. My hard copy giveaways have ended. You can still enter for an ebook giveaway on BookLikes. 

I will also be posting images of quotes from the book. Keep a look out on my social media for these. Into the Light released yesterday. It is now available on Amazon, iBooks and Lulu. The purchase links can be found at the end of the post. 

I hope you enjoyed my post today. You can find more such posts on my blog. I have written a ‘story behind the stories’ post for all my short stories. The last one comes out on 1st November, 2015.

Purchase Links:


Lulu Store (Paperback): http://www.lulu.com/shop/p-wish/into-the-light/paperback/product-22390299.html 

iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/into-the-light/id1044039341?ls=1&mt=11 

Amazon (USA): http://www.amazon.com/Into-Light-collection-short-stories/dp/151773309X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1444562137&sr=8-1&keywords=into+the+light+p+wish

Story behind the Stories- Bridge of Memories

I am back with my seventh anecdote. Only two more to go. 
Into the Light releases the day after tomorrow. The purchase links are at the bottom of this post. 

Bridge of Memories


Bridge of memories is a story about second chances and time. It is a love story that unfolds in one scene. A bridge is the central location of the story and an important part of the theme. Bridge of memories is the shortest story in this book. I wrote it within an hour. It encapsulates a situation that I have always wanted to write about. 


Recently, I have been watching a lot of Korean dramas. They’re the craze now and I’ve always been a fan of East Asian cinema. A lot of dramas have the Han river in Seoul as the setting. The bridge on Han river often features as a central theme in the dramas. I figured it makes sense to write about bridges.

There are many famous bridges in the western world too like the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco and the Tower Bridge in London. Though they are hotspots for tourists, they don't occupy a central spot in romantic literature. They carry more glamour and less meaning. That is why I decided to include a bridge as the central theme of the story. 


The topic of love, of course, is eternally in demand. It is also a great topic to write about. Bridge of memories, like the other human interest stories in this book seeks to examine society and humanity under a lens. This story narrows the range down to a single event.


The story also has a minor theme of work-life balance. Work-life balance is a hotly debated and popular topic. I think that over time, we, as a society have moved towards better work life balance. The story is set in the 80s or 90s when work-life balance wasn’t considered as important. 

I will be back with another story on the 29th. Thank you for reading this post. I am still running a giveaway on BookLikes. This is the last chance to win a copy of Into the Light. You can enter on my blog (link on the right side) or bootlicks. 


Bridge of memories is Chapter 6 of Into the Light. You can watch the trailer below. I will see you again soon with another anecdote.  Follow ‘The Story behind stories’ series on my blog or through my social media. If you want to support me, click on the link below to purchase ‘Into the Light’, my debut short story collection that contains ‘Bridge of memories’ and eight other stories. 

Purchase Links:


Amazon Kindle Store (US): http://www.amazon.com/dp/B015QEPPBS 


Lulu Store (Paperback): http://www.lulu.com/shop/p-wish/into-the-light/paperback/product-22390299.html 


iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/into-the-light/id1044039341?mt=13 


Amazon (USA): http://www.amazon.com/Into-Light-collection-short-stories/dp/151773309X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1444562137&sr=8-1&keywords=into+the+light+p+wish

Book Review- Malice

Malice: A Mystery - Keigo Higashino, Alexander O. Smith

Malice is a gripping murder mystery by Japanese author Keigo Higashino. I have read his other mystery works (Devotion of Suspect X and Salvation of a Saint) and loved them. That is why, I decided to give this book a go. Malice has a beautiful cover (bloody cherry blossoms) that drew me to the book. This is the first translated book from Higashino's Detective Kaga series. I loved the way the book was written. It goes back and forth between the criminal and the detective's versions of the events, ultimately culminating in a satisfying conclusion. The story was way more complex than what he lets out in the beginning. That is his trademark style.

 

The writing style is simple. Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication- this statement is most directly applicable to mysteries. A lot of mystery writers bore the reader by adding unnecessary description and mundane dialogue that does little to move the story. Higashino however, uses little description. His writing gets straight to the point and keeps the reader entertained at all times. Even his daily conversations appear interesting and meaningful. On a side note, he paints a real and convincing portrait of modern Japanese society. Since this book involved authors, I found it even more absorbing. 

 

I would definitely recommend this book to fans of mystery and detective fiction. I finished the book in one day because it was so addictive. The twists and turns are worth your time.

 

 

Book Review- Zero to One

— feeling big smile
Zero to One: Notes on Start Ups, or How to Build the Future - Blake Masters, Peter Thiel

I originally picked up this book because of all the rave reviews that it was amassing on the internet. When I leafed through the book's contents, I thought that it was just another business book with nothing special to offer. However, intrigued by the hype, I decided to give it a shot. I ordered the book from amazon as it was on sale last week. 

 

I couldn't have been more wrong. The book is not a 'how to' guide on business. It is not supposed to make you gain knowledge. Instead, it is an advice book that is supposed to increase your wisdom. I could relate to Peter Thiel and agreed with his viewpoints on many things.

 

The whole idea of Zero to One made a lot of sense to me. It inspired me to look for the right idea in the right direction. I also found it very comforting to know that Peter studied law. Being a law graduate myself, I don't have too many role models to look up to in the business world. Not many lawyers are tech entrepreneurs. I also  agree about going to university just because you're confused and the rationale for the Thiel Fellowship. 

 

 

The book added a dimension of wisdom to my knowledge. I found many 'aha!' moments in the book. 

 

If you're looking for some business wisdom and have a long term vision, this book is a must read. 

Book Review- The Cryptographer

The Cryptographer (Second Sons Book 1) - Alice Wallis-Eton

The cryptographer is a good debut novel. I love the cover. Aster Tanner's feminist character is refreshing. The romance is good and pans out well.


However, the book has too many lapses of logic even for a historical romance. Eg: It didn't make a lot of sense to be celebrating and making love soon after somebody'd death. A lot of the dialogue seemed very '21st century' for a historical novel. The characters are too progressive for their era. 

 

Aster's character also becomes inconsistent towards the end. The book begins slowly but picks up. It felt like a historical version of Mr. and Mrs. Smith at some point.


Overall, it was an enjoyable read. Lovers of historical romance with elements of thriller and suspense will like this book.

 

(Note: I received a copy of the book from Story Cartel. This has not affected my opinion in any way.).

Story behind the Stories- Case of the Scheming Widow

Welcome to the sixth instalment of Story behind the stories. This week, I will be talking about 'Case of the Scheming Widow' which is chapter 9 of the short story collection. 

 

Case of the Scheming Widow

 

I’ve grown up on mysteries. I love reading Agatha Christie, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Ellery Queen and other classic mystery writers. I love to watch mysteries as much as I love to read them. Therefore, this story was an obvious choice. Now, here is the twist. My logic sucks. My planning is worse.

 

 I’ve been making vain attempts at writing a mystery novel since I was twelve years old. A few years ago, I downloaded a ‘foolproof’ chapter by chapter formula for writing a mystery novel. However, me being me, I didn’t manage to write one. The logic collapsed before it took shape. Writing mystery is both a science and an art. Releasing the right amount of information at the right time is tricky. Holding the reader’s interest is trickier. But, the climax is the most difficult. If it is not satisfying, it’s no good. 

 

Anyway, a time travelling detective was the best thing I could come up with to cure my lack of logic.  The ‘time travel’ part automatically eliminated any need for logic. The story is set in historical England. This is the first mystery in the ‘Detective Adams’ series. At this point, I’m not sure if there will be any more. 

 

However, the allure of mystery remains. I understand that this is not the golden age for cozy mysteries. Thrillers are much better suited to today’s ADD audience with fast paced lives. I too am better at writing thrillers than mysteries. There are many good mystery writers in the market. Recently Robert Galbraith (JK Rowling) released the Cuckoo’s calling series which topped the bestseller lists. This is perhaps testament to the fact that the thirst for intellectual satisfaction never dies. Or perhaps that mystery as a genre still has a sizeable audience. I don't know. I can only hope that I get better at writing mysteries before my next book comes out. 

 

Case of the scheming widow comes with the signature ‘twist’ that is a trademark of all the stories in this collection. The story trailer can be viewed on my youtube channel. Case of the Scheming Widow is the longest story in this book. Read it to find out more. The first part of the story is available on my blog. I will add the link at the end of this post. Into the Light releases on 28th October, 2015. The purchase links are at the end of this post. 

 

Thank you for reading through this post. I will see you again with another anecdote. Follow ‘The Story behind stories’ series on my blog or through my social media. If you want to support me, click on the link below to purchase ‘Into the Light’, my debut short story collection that contains ‘Case of the scheming widow’ and eight other stories. 

 

Purchase Links 

 

Amazon Kindle Store (US): http://www.amazon.com/dp/B015QEPPBS 

 

Smashwords store link: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/580805 

 

Lulu Store (Paperback): http://www.lulu.com/shop/p-wish/into-the-light/paperback/product-22390299.html 

 

iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/into-the-light/id1044913497?mt=11

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/into-the-light/id1044039341?mt=13 

 

Amazon (USA): http://www.amazon.com/Into-Light-collection-short-stories/dp/151773309X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1444562137&sr=8-1&keywords=into+the+light+p+wish

 

Part 1 of the story (unedited): http://www.pwish.net/blog/short-story-wednesdays-8-case-of-the-scheming-widow 

Into the Light releases this Wednesday. Get your copy here: 

http://www.amazon.com/Into-Light-collection-short-stories/dp/151773309X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1444562137&sr=8-1&keywords=into+the+light+p+wish 

Reading progress update: I've read 300 out of 496 pages.

The Founder's Dilemmas: Anticipating and Avoiding the Pitfalls That Can Sink a Startup (Kauffman Foundation Series on Innovation and Entrepreneurship) - Noam Wasserman

Book review- On Writing

On Writing - Stephen King

I have wanted to read this book for a long time. I've read countless review of this book. Almost every writer seems to rave about this one.


Finally, I got down to reading it this week. I bought a copy from Amazon and tore it open as soon as it arrived. The cover had a nice matte finish to it. The words were just the right size.


The first half of the book is a memoir. I must confess that I skipped this bit. I read half of it then got bored. I might read it again when I want to read that kind of thing.


The second part is the meat of the book. This is full of useful writing. Stephen King excels at this. His language is no-nonsense, easy to understand and to the point. The tips are so simple yet so profound. He breaks your fears and fantasies down and transposes them to reality. The tips were very useful and more importantly, very actionable. He even says how many words you should write every day and what his writing schedule looks like. The part on how many re-writes and drafts you should do was very useful. He breaks down the editing and publishing process.


The book was very easy to read yet filled with useful advice. I would recommend to those who want to take up writing as a profession.

Book Review- Fool me Twice

Fool Me Twice - Meredith Duran

Fool me Twice is a historical novel with a nice premise. I decided to read this book after coming across multiple positive reviews of it. I liked the way the book starts. The tension between the characters kept me reading. The initial premise was well brought out in the first few pages.


However, my interest in the story dipped after the mid-point. The rest of the story didn't have the magic that the first half did. Things did pick up in the end and it ended on a good note.

 

My only complaint was that I didn't find the actions of the characters very appropriate for the era they live in. The dialogue was very modern. The attitudes of the characters would find a better place in the twenty first century than the seventeenth or nineteenth. But, it's a historical romance so who cares?

 

Overall, I found the story very satisfying. The cover design was also very beautiful. I would like to read more books by this author.

Book Review- The Housekeeper and the Professor

The Housekeeper and the Professor - Yōko Ogawa, Stephen Snyder

The housekeeper and the professor is a simple, slice of life story written by Japanese writer Yoko Ogawa. The book details the strange relationship between a professor who has a strange memory problem, a housekeeper and her young son. The story is well crafted, poignant and short. The book is barely one hundred and twenty pages. 

 

The prose is clean, easy to understand and devoid of artifice. The story captures the life of normal people in modern Japan. I began to appreciate mathematics a bit more after reading the story. The protagonist of the story is a retired Mathematics professor. His sister in law pays for the housekeeper who comes to take care of him. The housekeeper's son, a young boy of seven also accompanies her. He develops a bond with the professor who teaches him mathematics. 

 

The professor and the housekeeper is a realistic tale that captures human dignity perfectly. The characters aren't spectacular by any standards yet they stand out due to their simplicity. The story makes you think. Since the story is short, there aren't any dramatic twists and turns. This is one book you can read with a sense of inner calm. 

 

I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to read something different. The book is short, so try it out. 

Book review- Salvation of a Saint

Salvation of a Saint - Keigo Higashino, Alexander O. Smith

Salvation of a saint is the second novel in Keigo Higashino's Galileo series that was translated into English. This one has a more intriguing premise compared to the first one. Higashino's description of daily Japanese life and fast pacing helps keep the story moving. The mystery goes back and forth a but until Manabu Yukawa, a Physics professor who is the lead detective solves the case. 

 

Salvation of a Saint had a good premise but was less satisfying than Devotion of Suspect X. The prose however, is good. Higashino manages to capture the daily life of the main character well. For those who don't know much about Japanese culture, this book may prove to be more educational. It is very easy to get through the book because he doesn't bore you with descriptions of tablecloths and flower arrangements. The characters were also believable. 

 

Overall, a good, fast paced mystery. 

Book Review- Devotion of Suspect X

The Devotion of Suspect X: A Detective Galileo Novel - Keigo Higashino, Alexander O. Smith

I was initially attracted to Devotion of Suspect X because it is part of Higashino's Galileo series. I watched the Galileo drama (Japanese TV Series) and loved it. I don't think the drama contained this book. Devotion of Suspect X is the first of Keigo Higashino's books in this series to be translated into English. 

 

I liked the book. A large part of the book is cryptic. The characters speak in riddles and puzzles that only make sense in the end. The language however, is to the point. Unlike a lot of English mystery novels that focus on the procedure of solving mysteries, this one focuses solely on the story. That saves a lot of boredom and keeps you turning pages. The translation was well done. The story flows in a coherent narrative. My only complaint was that the character of Manabu Yukawa in the novel is not as charismatic as the series. Yukawa's sidekick also doesn't make an appearance in this one. 

 

Overall, a fast paced, well plotted mystery. It's the kind of book you'd read on a cold evening or on the flight. 

Story behind the Stories- Speechless Love

 

I am back part 4 of the Story behind the Stories series. Today, I will be talking about 'Speechless Love', a new short story from Into the Light. 

 

Speechless Love

 

This story one my favourites. It’s also very close to my heart. That is the reason I decided to include it in this collection as the last story. I wrote it when I was thirteen. Originally, it was part of a longer novella. However, I felt that story stood out. Many of my friends and relatives who read the book said that this chapter was the most memorable one. Eventually, I dismantled the novella into short stories. This is one of them. 

 

I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve re-written and edited this story. Better language usually comes at the cost of emotion. My state of mind now is very different from what it was when I wrote the story. I have tried to preserve the original emotions behind the tale. I think I was reading a lot of Mitch Albom when I wrote this because it is thematically similar to his works. 

 

Speechless love is an emotional work based around the quintessential theme of love. It also tackles issues that surround us. I will not go into details. When you read this work, you will understand what I mean. Speechless love contains subtle themes of ageing but not in the way that She comes with the rain does. Above all, it deals with the unconditional and giving nature of love. 

 

I hope you enjoy reading this story. This is a new addition to the collection. Speechless Love was not serialised on my blog. This is my surprise gift to you. 

 

I will see you again soon with another anecdote.  Follow ‘The Story behind stories’ series on my blog or through my social media. If you want to support me, click on the link below to purchase ‘Into the Light’, my debut short story collection that contains ‘Speechless Love’ and eight other stories.