Saturday, 19 August 2017

Another's Child by Einat Danon

Another's ChildAnother's Child by Einat Danon
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Life is uncertain. Anything can happen anytime and we don’t know which moment will be our last. Insurance is for money. But can it secure the future of our children.

Yael and Arik Katz are have made a pact with their friends which they never imagined will be implemented. But their friend die in an accident and they get their daughter Noa. Noa is raised in Canada and they live in Israel. They bring her to to them but she is not happy there. She tries to escape but is unsuccessful. Then Debbie the lawyer tells them that the accident might be a suicide and the insurance company may deny the compensation. What happens next?

The story is poignant. The pain of Noa who is recently orphaned is vexing. Teal and Arik don’t know how to deal with it. This book makes you to question every set norm of society : family, friends, relations etc. the writing is clear and make you feel the pain of characters. It is a good one time read though a slow sometimes. I give the book 3/ 5 stars.

P.S. Writing a book is a tedious job and labour of love. Views in the review are personal and with full respect to the hard work put in by the author. Please like/ comment/ mark helpful the review if you feel so.

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Imagine inheriting a child that you don’t even know!
One morning, Yael and Arik Katz are startled by a surprise inheritance: Noa, the ten-year-old daughter of Canadian friends with whom they had made a long-forgotten will-exchange agreement, is delivered to their doorstep with no warning. Why did her parents decide that she should grow up with acquaintances rather than family? How do you raise a girl you do not even know?
Secrets and lies are revealed and everything starts to get complicated
Noa does not find her place in Israel. Yael takes her back to Toronto to look for a more suitable adoptive home. The search reveals answers to questions that have not even been asked about parenthood, marital relations, love, one’s home, and the fragility of life.
Can life ever be the same again?
As Yael delves into Noa’s past to better understand her, she discovers some unflattering things about her own partner and that the connection between her family and Noa is deeper than it had seemed. These shocking revelations leave Yael with a serious dilemma about her own family relationships.

About Author

Einat Danon holds an MBA degree and a BA in marketing and communication from York University in Toronto. She works in marketing and advertising, managing clients at large advertising agencies and handling leading clients in the market.
Einat and her family have lived in Toronto and Vancouver, Canada, for 13 years, on and off, where she worked as a marketing communications manager, responsible for regions of Canada and North America, for an international company. She currently lives in Israel with her husband and two children.
Another’s Child is her first novel.

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Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Our Start-Up by Dov Reichman

Our Start-UpOur Start-Up by Dov Reichman
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

As per Wikipedia a startup is

“A startup company (startup or start-up) is an entrepreneurial venture which is typically a newly emerged, fast-growing business that aims to meet a marketplace need by developing a viable business model around innovative product, service, process or a platform. A startup is usually a company such as a small business, a partnership or an organization designed to effectively develop and validate a scalable business model.”

Israel is known for enterprise. This is the story of Nir, a teenager who wants to be an entrepreneur. He has a idea to save the environment and make some money at the same time. Nano technology plays a role in it. His mother is under a lot of pressure as her job is under threat due to globalization. His father and Maayan, sister is helpful. Nir is curious and inquisitive. He is aware that his business has to compete at a global level. He along with his friends try to iron out agreements, ideas, findings etc. they woo investors from Japan and USA. Read the book to find out what is the fate of his startup.

This book has a lot of serious information in very simple and lucid language. The basis is the industrial recycling to save the environment and agriculture with lees water. The idea is good as well as the execution. Startup is a multi faceted thing. It involves technology, innovation, legalities, partnerships, financing and enterprise. This book covers all the bases and can be useful for the younger audience as a starting point. I give this book 3.5 / 5 star.

P.S. Writing a book is a tedious job and labour of love. Views in the review are personal and with full respect to the hard work put in by the author. Please like/ comment/ mark helpful the review if you feel so.

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Nir has a great idea. But will it work? Middle school student, Nir Carmelli, dreams of conquering the world with his idea for an innovative new product. Although aware of the difficulties, Nir decides to advance the idea, even if it does not become a product or profitable business. Group members of the start-up are required to show daring, original thought, and creativity. They meet industrialists from Japan, investors from America, as well as scientists and professionals from a range of fields working in the field of high tech.

Not only off the ground... but soaring! His classmate, Anna, gets involved in the project, creating a friendship between the two and even first love. Together, the young inventors learn many practical lessons about what it takes to develop a successful start-up. Their story, written in a contemporary style, is full of humour as it navigates the ups and downs between success and failure and introduces the reader to the challenging world of business.

From the Author

The main motive for writing the plot of the story was to bring children, adolescents, and their parents closer to world of start-ups: understanding the uncertainty that accompanies the entrepreneurs and becoming familiar with the terms that children hear concerning the technological and business challenges faced by start-up companies.
The plot of the book also combines values of entrepreneurship and contribution to the community.

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The Three Psychos by Yash Pawaskar

The Three PsychosThe Three Psychos by Yash Pawaskar
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

“The pendulum of the mind oscillates between sense and nonsense, not between right and wrong.”
― C.G. Jung

How apt these words are for the book. The mind is a dangerous master and good servant. It will make one do all the non sense and dangerous things. It can be tamed though with practice and will. Easier said than done but, at the same time difficult but not impossible. Out of three, 2 of the stories prove this and one shows how mind is a beast.

The book is a psychological thriller and has three stories. Let’s see one by one:

1. DE22912: The story is as unusual as the name itself. Alex is a millionaire who is trapped in a box. He remembers scenes from his past and each incident has some relation with a mysterious number DE22912. What does it mean? Will Alex ever come out of the box?

2. Patient number 9: An amnesic person is brought to the mental hospital. He has no recollection of his past. Not even his name. So he is called patient no 9 (9 is his cell no). He sees a mysterious blue creature which may be an alien, named Shahenshah. This creature is a Bollywood fan and tells no 9 that only he can save earth from impending doom from an alien attack. Is this the product of his demented mind or reality?

3. Six bullets: Aakash is a sixteen year old offspring of a policeman. He hates bullies. What can a sick mind do which thinks it is righteous? This shows the ugly side of mental illness and sense of grandiosity.

The stories are surrealistic. These may be true or just figment of imagination of a mentally disturbed person/s. you can never be sure. But one thing is certain that if the mind is sick distinction between real and fiction blurs. These two fuse and the person becomes very dangerous as he can do anything.

At the same time the three stories are independent and have no connection whatsoever. The connection in the epilogue is tenuous. Also the stories falls in the grey area so after a point of time they start becoming repetitive and enervating.

All in all a good collection of psychological stories. I give this book 3.5 / 5 stars.

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Three Thrilling Stories, One Gripping Novel. In the first tale, a naked man is trapped inside a white box. His only company: 'DE22912'. How long can he survive? The second story, 'Patient Number 9', is about a hospitalized patient who must save Earth from an alien attack by blue pig-like creatures. The countdown has just begun. In the third narrative, an angry sixteen-year-old gets hold of a loaded revolver and is determined to make use of all 'Six Bullets'. And no, it's not a toy. The three psychos are part of a connected universe, set in a novel with innovative storytelling, witty narration and an entertaining mix of thrill, humour and drama.

About the author:

Yash Pawaskar is a multi-faceted personality. He is an author, poet, reader, traveller, photography enthusiast, cricket fanatic, movie buff, music lover, and continues to discover himself and the world around. Yash holds an MBA degree and works in the Content industry. He stepped into the literary world with his much-loved debut novel ‘When We Clicked – A Twisted Love Story?’ and his short stories are a part of several anthologies. The Three Psychos is his second book. He is known for his innovative storytelling. Yash has a knack of presenting stories in an engaging manner. His writing is free-flowing, descriptive when needed, and catchy throughout. Yash has grown up on stories, be it reel or real, and focuses on creating characters that connect instantly with the audience. His stories often follow a non-linear pattern, something that makes the reading process extremely immersive. Yash’s first book ‘When We Clicked’ was a breath of fresh air in the cluttered rom-com genre. While it had a few elements of a thriller, his second novel, ‘The Three Psychos’ is a mind-boggling, roller-coaster ride and an out-and- out, gruelling psychological thriller.

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Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Kansa (Book 1 - The Killer Trilogy) by Prassant Kevin

Kansa (Book 1 - The Killer Trilogy) The Professor Black SeriesKansa (Book 1 - The Killer Trilogy) The Professor Black Series by Prassant Kevin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Today is Janamstmi. Birthday of Shri Krishna, who killed Kansa (his maternal uncle). Today is 15th August too, our independence day. Is it just a coincidence? ☺.

Shri Krishna is 8th incarnation of Bhagwan Vishnu. Krishna was born in prison to devout parents – Devki and Vasudeva. At the time of his birth, his life was in danger because the tyrant Kansa was seeking to kill him. It had been foretold that Kansa would be killed by Devki’s eighth child. Someone told Kansa that anyone of Devki children could kill him. So he killed all the children of Devki immediately after birth. He is personification of pure evil. Since Sri Krishna was the eighth child, he was smuggled out of prison to be raised by his foster parents Nanda and Yashoda in Gokula. That is the intent behind the name of book. A psychopathic killer named Kansa, is on the loose, who kills woman and their newborn babies. So this is apt the review is written today.

This is a mystery thriller about a psychopath who is evil incarnated. So I will not say much about the plot, as it will spoil the fun.

In the middle of night an accident takes place. A disheveled girl Mehar is hit by a car and brought to hospital. Saargi, ACP realises that Mehar might be a victim of Kansa, a psychopath. She also realise that she alone can’t handle the case and requires help of a Genius. Professor Black teaches in Mumbai and has his own ghosts. He is a troubled past which led him to alcohol and whores. He takes up case only because of Saargi. They starts investigations and find layers upon layers of intrigue. There is too much blood spilled and Black gets involved in the case personally.

Characterisation of Black and Saargi is interesting. Their back stories are given. In fact the basis of next book may lie in the past of Virat aka Black. Black has his own rules and does not always play by the law books though he teaches criminology. He is his own Police, Judge, Jury and Executioner. He is sharp, intelligent, ruthless, strong and merciless for criminals. He has his own set of rules and believes in gut instinct. He says to Saargi:

“Always remember one thing- in the business of crime and justice, a lot depends on gut instinct. You have to make choices in the matter of seconds and you have to make right ones. Do you know why? Because people’s lives depend on them. You can save someone’s life, you can stop someone from being a criminal, so that when you go home at the end of the day, the only blood that should be on your hands is of those who don’t deserve to live.”

He is compared to Jack Reacher on cover. But I feel that is injustice to Prassant. Black is original although some characteristics might be same. But then he shares some with Sherlock, Criminal Minds (the TV series), Bond and others. Still he is a interesting character and quiet original.

Saargi is a perfect foil for him. She is equally passionate about justice and putting criminals behind bars. But she does not believe in taking law into her own hands. She is attracted to Black and let him do what he wants but does not become part of that herself.

Other notable characters from book are Arjun and Mira. But you have to read the book to know more about them.

The pace of book is breathtaking. There is not a dull moment. The action starts from page 1 and is relentless till end. The story moves to all of North India -Delhi, Pune, Mumbai, Ramnagar etc. I kept guessing the identity of Kansa throughout. Prassant left clues throughout but it is not easy to pick them up.

Though there are some inconsistencies also but it will spill the beans if I list those here. So you read and decide yourself.

I give the book 4/ 5 stars.

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OVER A SPAN OF TEN YEARS, HE KILLED FORTY PREGNANT WOMEN AND THEN VANISHED WITHOUT A TRACE. AFTER FIVE YEARS OF SILENCE, HE IS BACK AGAIN, SEEKING HIS NEXT VICTIM. ONLY ONE MAN CAN STOP HIM - PROFESSOR BLACK. Maher was found unconscious in the middle of the highway and later, in the hospital, she revealed that she had escaped from a killer's house. All the details and patterns matched the serial killer 'Kansa,' who had disappeared five years ago after murdering forty pregnant women. ACP Saargi Desai was assigned to the case. She appealed to her department to bring back Professor Black to help her catch the killer. The Professor, who had a haunting past that had kept him away from the world of crime and investigation for several years, was not willing to take on this case. But the ACP managed to convince him to get on board just for this one last time. Soon after agreeing to help, the Professor realized that for the first time in his life, he had met his match. As he dug deeper into the case, everything got dirtier, the stakes went higher, and nothing was what it seemed.

About the author:

One of three children, Kevin was born and raised in a close-knit family in New Delhi. He was always more inclined towards sports and literature. Kevin left his schooling after the twelfth standard to study story-writing and after two break years, returned to complete his education from the CBSE Board.

After school, Kevin pursued his childhood dream and studied Major in Film Direction. He went on to direct a Hindi feature film, several short films and music videos.
In the winter of 2013, he finally decided to turn one of his oldest written film screenplays into a fully-fledged English novel. That is how, ‘Let Me Go: The Last Love Story of the Universe’, his first English novel came to life. He currently resides in New Delhi and is working on his second book.

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Saturday, 12 August 2017

I am Not A Traitor by Y. I. LATZ

I am Not A TraitorI am Not A Traitor by Y. I. LATZ
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I am a sucker for spy books. These appeal to us because of thrills and edge of the seat adventure factor. This is also one of them and involves Mosaad, one of the most feared agencies.

Henry Stein finds himself in the prison in opening chapter. He is there on espionage charge for CIA. His sexy Korean girlfriend is allegedly a CIA operative. He works in Navy as a Chef so it is easy to roam inside the most secret meetings. His wife has an affair with a fruit seller. His daughter is missing, maybe kidnapped. Is he a traitor?

The book is pretty straight and sedate. The story couldn’t keep me engrossed. Motivation of main characters is not understood by me. What is Singer doing with a loser like Stein? Marina and Jimmy came out as idiots. Shin is manipulative or is she? And the track about his daughter and wife is totally tangential.

My main peeve is that there are 3 allies: USA, Great Britain and Israel. They maybe spying on each other. But will they go to war? Maybe in a very unlike scenario, but I can envisage none. Iran or Palestine will be a better choice.

Is he a traitor? I don’t know. But I was bored to death that I know for sure.

I give this book 2.5 / 5 stars.

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Henry Stein is a former Israeli Navy cook with a huge secret…

Dive into the story of an exciting espionage case that takes place in the most covert unit of the Israeli Defense Forces. Henry Stein, the 50-year-old veteran chef of the Israeli Navy’s submarine fleet is laid off from his job after thirty years. Due to his big secret, he cannot reveal this fact to anyone, not even to his wife.

A secret that is intertwined with a serious of international calamities
How does his secret relate to the murder of his grandmother in London thirty-five years ago, to the arrest of his backpacker daughter in Colombia, to his love affair with a sexy Korean-American who almost gets him killed, and to his longstanding personal relationship with the British MI6?

A compulsive page-turner full of courage, terror, and passion
Step by step, the secret life of the “innocent cook” is exposed. As he fights a war of survival opposite the CIA, MI6 and the Israeli Mossad, he is revealed as a courageous man who follows his heart, until the arrival of the inevitable moment when he must decide once and for all where his loyalty lies—with his country or with his homeland.

From the Author
I've always been interested in people who are living a lie. I do not mean petty criminals, who deny every crime they have ever committed even if they were caught in the act by security cameras, but rather "ordinary" people, like you and me, who decide to choose lies as a way of life.
From spies and intelligence personnel to "white collar" criminals, who, one fine day, drop out of their routine life and embark on a "new career," known only to them. This sort of double life is a central axis of this book as well as of my other novels.

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Sunday, 6 August 2017

Being a Project Manager: Planning the Project by Hamutal Weisz, Daniel Zitter

Being a Project Manager: Planning the ProjectBeing a Project Manager: Planning the Project by Hamutal Weisz
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Can project management be taught? Well yes and no. It is less of a science and more of an art which is to be learnt by the experience and can’t be taught. So what purpose can this book, like countless management book, serve?

This is book 2 of a 4 part series. Part 2 is about planning of project. This try to teach us many tools which can help us to manage and plan project in a more efficient way. The approach of keeping end in sight and identifying most important objectives, necessary and peripherals can help us to plan it better in the beginning. Then there is question of involvement of client and stakeholders. How much is required and how it be helpful rather then being an impediment. The concept of WBS (Work Breakdown structure) is about dividing the content into smaller, manageable and measureable work units.

Language of book is easy and it does not fall into trap of rhetoric and hi-fi technical terms. As I already said this cannot teach management but can work as a tool to manage and plan in a better way.

I give this book 3.5 / 5 stars.

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Being a Project Manager is a different kind of book about project management that focuses on essentials and practice. It clearly draws the path one must walk as a project manager.
The book is suitable for managing any project of any size, subject and content since it refers to the foundations of project management—planning, control and communication—rather than a specific methodology or expertise. Moreover, the book offers appropriate methods and tools for proper project management that are easy to implement.
Practicing project management using the methods described in this book will initiate a process of continuous improvement in project management skills, starting from the first project! So if you are a project manager, start here and now!

The bread on the cover represents the project’s end product, which is the combination of all its ingredients: flour is the basis; yeast is the means for leavening the dough and turning it into bread and water is the glue that bonds all the ingredients. The same applies in a project: planning is its basis; control provides the means needed to achieve the project’s objectives and communication bonds all the project’s stakeholders and expresses the project’s management tone and pace.
Bread without flour is not bread, just as a project without planning is not a project. Yeast-free bread is a flat cracker, just as a project without control is an effort going everywhere and nowhere at the same time. Bread without water is nothing but shapeless powder, just as a project without communication is simply a collection of individuals who aspire to reach a common goal but have nothing that links between them. Therefore, planning, control and communication are the indispensable ingredients needed to create the final product in the project effort.

All projects, both large and small, require a set of clearly defined objectives and targets, as well as a plan for their achievement. Determining the project’s objectives and laying out a course for achieving them are handled in two distinct stages. First, the objectives are set out in general in the preliminary planning stages of the project. Then, each objective is laid out in further detail in the secondary planning stage, which focuses on the practical and specific details of the project.

In this book you will all about project planning. In the first part of this chapter, we will learn how to generate a ’Project Compass‘ which will help answer questions central to the project’s planning and approval process, such as: “Why should this project be undertaken?”, “Who is the target audience?”, “What does this project entail?”, and “How should we execute the project?” Answers to these questions are needed to ensure that we do not make decisions at this stage of the project that will be regretted later. In the second section of this chapter, we will expand the Project Compass into a detailed project plan—one that we can then use to manage and control the project in practice.

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PSYCON by Varun T.

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book is supposed to be a political thriller. It has characters from PM of the country to CM of UP, CBI top cops, corrupt IT officers, businessmen, middlemen and scrupulous tax manipulating CAs. It starts with a lot of promise. Does it stay true till the end? Let’s see.

PSYCON is the name of the firm which is an acronym made up of the names of two of the founders (Prateek Subramaniam and Yashwardhan Sharma Consulting firm). A new regime under the leadership of Narendra Bhai Doshi is in place at centre. In UP the state is headed by MS Yadav of Samuhwadi Party (SP). These two chaps are CA who works as pimps of IT officer Meena. Modus operandi of them is ingenious. They calculate probable black money income of corrupt businessmen by going undercover. Then they calculate probable tax liability. Meena sends IT notice for double the amount and then sends these two to settle on his behalf. They ask half the money to wipe the slate clean and thus everyone is happy. But this is a dangerous game as they ruffle the feathers of many corrupt and powerful persons in the state. One of them is Sunderlal of BJP. All hell breaks loose when Acchelal Yadav, a backward person & coal baron goes missing and PM sees it as an opportunity to score political points with Backward community. Enter Kaamte an IPS officer working for CBI who is handpicked by Doshi to find him out. This sets a high octane thriller.

The book starts with a lot of promise. The stories in the beginning are interesting and ingenious. They extract crores from corrupt businessmen. These stories are more like description of disparate events and written in a rushed fashion and reads more like non-fiction. After these stories the chase begins for Acchelal. The story becomes protracted and convoluted. And by the end this becomes a very clich├ęd revenge story. It is Bollywood style thriller which asks for suspension of belief. In true Bollywood style it has a dead father which is to be avenged, a sister who has cancer, burning alive the corrupts and justifying it. In fact in the end PM declares in a press conference what happened, so very filmy.

This is not what is expected from the book. The weakest point of story is that it reads like propaganda of BJP and denigrates others.

Still 3/ 5 stars for the ingenious con game at the beginning. Second half is avoidable.

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A new regime is manning the reins of governance in India, having arrived on the scene with an anti-corruption agenda. With the IT Department chasing down tax evaders to curb the menace of black money, party funds begin to dry up, a year before Uttar Pradesh goes to polls.

Enter Prateek Subramaniam and Yashwardhan Sharma, through their brainchild, PSYCON.

Set in the heart of UP, the duo works to assist the ruling party’s agenda of conquering the Hindi heartland. Their mission: amassing the funds the task would need. Between harassing businessmen to shell out money and making money in the process, they make quite a bit in the initial windfall. And yet, a can of worms is opened when the CBI enters the picture.

Do the two con their way out of the CBI’s grasp? Will truth prevail in the land of Satyamev Jayate?

Or will they find reality too bizarre to handle?

The royalties earned by the author from this book will go to PM’s National Relief Fund.

About the author:

Hailing from the small town of Satna with humble beginnings, Varun has come a long way by establishing a prominent name for himself in the FMCG space. Varun's professional stints are replete with awards of recognition but his heart has always been in the literary space since his association with Guts & Glory, a book published by SIBM Pune in association with Rupa Publication. Now, he longs to write about the complex interplay of societal norms and self-interest, redefining the demarcations between good and evil, in a world driven by propaganda, where truth is never absolute and public perception is the king. A die-hard fan of the honourable Prime Minister of India and a keen observer of the evolving political environment in the country, he has dared to challenge the existing notions of the society with his endeavor: PSYCON. The book does not merely scratch the surface of societal evils like black money and corruption but also rips apart the draconian system, under which such evils prospered and became the accepted norm.
The royalty earned by the author from this book will be donated to the Prime Minister's National Relief Fund.

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