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.

Where to buy:

https://www.amazon.com/Anothers-Child...

Blurb:

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.

Where to buy:

https://www.amazon.com/Our-Start-Up-D...

Blurb:

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.


Where to buy:

http://www.amazon.in/Three-Psychos-Ya...

Blurb:

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.


Where to buy:

http://www.amazon.in/Kansa-Book-Kille...


Blurb:

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.


Where to buy:

https://www.amazon.com/Am-Not-Traitor...

Blurb:

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.


Where to buy:

https://www.amazon.com/Being-Project-...

Blurb:

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.


PSYCONPSYCON 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 clichéd 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.

Where to buy:

http://www.amazon.in/Psycon-Varun-T/d...

Blurb:

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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15/1 Story Avenue by Avishek Gupta


15/1 Story Avenue15/1 Story Avenue by Avishek Gupta
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

“People who say it is a long story, mean it's a stupid short one that they are too embarrassed and couldn't be bothered to tell”
― Cecelia Ahern, Love, Rosie

Avishek has covered varied topics through his stories in the book. Love, technology, hacking, Physics, Sound, nostalgia, marriage, friendship, journalism, divorce and many more. Short stories are very different from novels as they tell about short period and two or three characters. It is a challenge to tell short stories as you have extremely less space to set the context and say the story.

First let us see in brief what the stories are all about:

1. Our Unique Love Story- A simple Engineering college romance.

2. Drift-or some of these young couples, divorce is just an extension of break-up – a legal stamp to part away happily.

3. Mandroid- A psychological thriller about suppressed anger of a timid man.

4. The Burning torch of truth - It is a political thriller with investigative journalism thrown in.

5. Vinashak- Thrilling account of hacking World.

6. Weeds- Addiction of weed and love.

7. A honeymoon to remember- A comical honeymoon.

8. A Ganges full of Love- Love blossoms on Ganges in a newly married couple

9. The Lost Umbrella- Emotional attachment to an object.

10. Total Eclipse- Scene of a riot in Calcutta

11. The Perfect Photograph- Right to privacy of homeless

12. That Stupid Bug Called Love- Something like fault in our stars. .

13. Many Silences in My Soul- Sound of silence through the voice of a Physics professor.

14. Let’s go India gate- A couple’s trip to India Gate, India’s very own war memorial.

15. Vishwakarma Fervor- Vishwakarma Pooja is a big event in eastern part of India.


This book has many emotions as I told earlier. This book is a mixed bag, As the author tried to cover many varied emotions and topics (varied from love to cyber hacking), the result is also mixed. Some stories are excellent, some average and some downright poor.

The first story is like any other college romance. Nothing unique about it. It happens all the time on campus and will keep happening. Still the story is sweet. Though I feel the girl wasted 3 precious years ;).

I liked Mandroid very much as this is very plausible and can be related to, by every meek, introvert person. The bug which went into his eyes may be a metaphor of the suppressed anger.

Drift again is very topical and I agree with Avishek 100%. Now a day’s young couple mistake infatuation with love and marry. But if love is sleep then marriage is an alarm clock. They wake up to the harsh reality of married life and the world comes tumbling down. Which leads to ugly separation. That some people might think of cashing in on this also, is a scary thought.

Some stories were so rushed that they made no sense or were ended abruptly. I would like to put Vinashak, The Burning torch of truth, That Stupid Bug Called Love (clichéd done to death concept), weeds etc here. Vinashak is the lamest story. How can a Hindi professor who is kidnapped write an antivirus software in few hours? This is totally implausible and factually wrong.

Some stories are very lazy and I think Avishek wrote them just to fill the quorum and most of them are at end of the collection like Vishwakamra Pooja (it’s like an essay by a school kid).

The story I liked the most is “The Perfect Photograph”. This is a heart touching story and wrote with all the sensitivity for poor, homeless and all humanity.

Overall it is a very good first attempt. Highly recommended. I give it 3.5/ 5 stars.

Where to buy:

https://www.amazon.in/dp/B06XWV1QBQ/r...

Blurb:

15/1 Story Avenue - an address where you'll come across 15 soul touching stories by one author. Be it a heartwarming campus romance, a spine chilling thriller, or a wonderful travelogue, you will find all under the same roof. The stories in this collection touch upon everyday lives. They speak of scenarios and characters you can strongly identify with. And yet, these tales rip your attention from the word go. Come, open the door and enter the house of stories. Wonderful surprises await you inside!

About the author:

Avishek Gupta works in a senior position in a leading software organization. Avishek has had multiple short stories, poems, articles and blogs published in various magazines, corporate newsletters, and websites.

Other than writing, Avishek's hobbies include reading, music, movies and quizzing. He works and lives in Kolkata.

Hi book 15/1 Story Avenue has received positive reviews from readers on Amazon and Goodreads. He is currently working on his debut novel.

You can reach him at:
Email: words82@gmail.com


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Friday, 4 August 2017

Reminiscences Of A Seeker: Dark Face Of The White World (True Story) by Kapil Kumar Bhaskar


Reminiscences Of A Seeker: Dark Face Of The White World (True Story)Reminiscences Of A Seeker: Dark Face Of The White World by Kapil Kumar Bhaskar
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The blurb proclaims this is a true story of the author. It may be true but I read it as fiction.

Amazon review link is https://www.amazon.in/review/R992UVMR...

Story begins with Kapil, the protagonist being visited by a true guru. Then the story moves to flash back. We come to know that Kapil has many siddhis taught by his gurus Trilokenath and afterwards Asuranath. Somehow they turn his enemies and then he has to deal with them. The first part finished at a cliff hanger and there are many unanswered questions.

Many things are told in the book which might interest some readers. Such as:

1. People who have past life relationships are born as twins, mother and child, brothers and sisters, best friends or members of the same soul family.

2. “How can the door of salvation, from where you proceed to the higher realms of consciousness after discarding the limitations of your physical body, be impure?"

3. Yakshinis are invoked as sister, mother, daughter, wife or friend, depending on what one desires to achieve. However, most of the time in these types of sadhana, it is more of a sexual relationship between the practitioner and the Yakshini as the sadhana increases the former’s sexual desires.

4. It spoke about the most auspicious places to begin the practices of an Aghor…. There seemed to be four ways to do the practices- either go to a dense forest which should be full of wild animals, or to a cremation ground, or find a dead body and do all the practices sitting over the body and the last, most gross one was to go to a forest along with a woman, make her sit in front of you naked and do the practices; the disciple also had to be naked…

5. After spending so many years on this path, I had realized that nothing comes free of cost. The name and position one enjoys, all come at a price.

6. I realized that he had trapped me into doing a Yoni puja. There are Tantrics and Aghoris who pray to Goddess in the form of Partner, but I was not one of them. In this kind of ritual, if the girl desires the sadhak would have to sleep with the girl.

7. “Who is not mad? If you look from my viewpoint you will perceive everyone as mad. If you fit in the society’s set of beliefs and live the way others live you are considered normal, but if you don’t fit you are labeled ‘crazy’.

There maybe two views about the book. One of a believer and other one of a rational person. I fall into second category. The stories about tantriks, aghoris like Sex with yoginis, using spirits for evil purposes, doing sadhna with corpses in graveyards/ shamshan ghats, drinking alcohol during sadhna, desecrating corpses of infants etc. may or may not be true. It sure makes an interesting read and the author keeps your interest going. Kapil also brought to fore the true evil face of these aghoris and babas. They are megalomaniacs who cannot listen no and expect everyone to treat them like God. The siddhis (if there is any such thing) are not for wellbeing of humanity but just a tool to get power and money.

The book becomes repetitive at times. A tight editing could have helped. Also sequencing of events is confusing and some things don’t add up. Author need not remind us after introducing every name and place every time, that its name is changed. One disclaimer like this at the beginning would have sufficed:

“This is a true story but names of the characters and places have been changed to maintain anonymity/ to protect their identity”.

I give it 3/ 5 stars.

P.S. On a lighter note: Govt should make a paltan of all these aghoris and post them to border. They will play on the minds of terrorists, enemy soldiers, and their leadership. We will win the war without any bloodshed. ;)

Where to buy:

http://www.amazon.in/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i...

Blurb:

Kapil takes you on his unforgettable true journey of the supernatural world of mystics and higher beings, unbelievable miracles and the parallel world of darkness and light, in his spiritual pursuit of seeking the ONE - who would show him the Ultimate Divine. A series of events catapults Kapil into the fascinating world of Dark Arts and suck him into the quagmire of drama, suspense, greed and betrayal. And just when the trials and tribulations seem to engulf Kapil completely, there emerged from the deepest darkness, a Brilliant Light of his True Master. The existence of the paranormal world is as much real and any ordinary person can get caught in that world unless one is careful. We belong to such a period of time wherein innocent seekers are lured into the trap of so-called "Masters" who fool them easily by playing onto their deepest fears and weakness. The book hopes to save people from making that false step and even if one does commit that mistake, the book offers hope that it is not the end of the world; one can always get to the Light, A thrilling true account of an ordinary man plunged into extraordinary circumstances of the Dark World.

About the author:

Kapil Kumar Bhaskar has been on his spiritual journey for more than two decades. Blessed by Adi Gurus, Spiritual Guides and Masters (who visited him out of their body form), Kapil has a deep understanding of the human psyche and has divine clarity on both esoteric and non-esoteric issues. Having received divine guidance, his knowledge and understanding of spiritual matters goes beyond books and comes from anubhuti... experience.
In his own words, the experiences he underwent in this sojourn shaped him to become what he is today. His knowledge does not come from books but from experiences.

As he often says, “You have not got birth here, neither you will get death... The only thing you will get here is Experience...”

After a successful stint as a businessman, Kapil Kumar Bhaskar gradually shifted his area of work to become a full-time spiritual consultant to those lost and confused on their personal path of inner excellence. A multi-faceted personality, Kapil is a spiritual mentor, a prolific writer, a counsellor par excellence. He has penned uplifting articles which have been printed in magazines and journals within and outside the country.

Highly articulate, he debunks myths and conditioned beliefs and theories propounded by self-proclaimed guardians of orthodoxy, to help people connect with their true self. He has guided and helped countless people. His radical interpretations of spiritual and religious dogmas existing amongst the masses have transformed the lives of all those who have chosen to associate themselves with him.
His lifelong experiences have now been shaped in book form which gives in-depth information and knowledge of the dark side of the white world.
A Mentor with a difference, Kapil continues his spiritual quest which he says will last till this life... and maybe beyond.

You may get in touch with him through:

E-mail: kkb0999@gmail.com

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Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Knitted Tales: A Collection of Emotions by Rubina Ramesh


Knitted Tales: A Collection of EmotionsKnitted Tales: A Collection of Emotions by Rubina Ramesh
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“A short story is a love affair, a novel is a marriage. A short story is a photograph; a novel is a film.” ― Lorrie Moore


Short stories are very different from novels as they tell about short period and two or three characters. It is a challenge to tell short stories as you have extremely less space to set the context and say the story.


Rubina has done the job extremely well. First let us see in brief what the stories are all about:


1. Betrayal - Story of a sadistic brutal husband with a twist.

2. Chicklet - Story of racial bullying of immigrants, Hypocrisy of Indians and compassion.

3. Forgive me.......- Story of a successful Bollywood director, his lost love and consequences.

4. Lolita- Story of a Bollywood Diva. How she became from a simpleton to a heartthrob of millions?

5. No regrets - Hilarious and original story of a Bengali Tamil couple who moves to USA. Very witty. ;)

6. Suvarna Rekha- A tragic love story like Laila Majnu, Romeo Juliet.

7. The Little Godmother- It is story about sibling love.

8. The Missing Staircase- About nostalgia and Nirvana.

9. The other woman- The trials and tribulations of a kept/ second wife.

10. Daddy hear me out- Oh Maths! Tormentor of some students. How one girl dealt with the beast successfully?

11. Cliff notes- Story of human depravity seen through eyes of a cliff.


Rubina is an ace story teller. She has brevity and keeps the stories to the point. She sets the environment and establishes the context early on in the story; mainly initial two or three paragraphs. I got the idea early on what each story is all about. The characters are well fleshed out and you can see the qualities of each clearly.


You see Rekha (of Suvrana Rekha) and immediately understand that she is an upright girl. She is ready to sacrifice everything for her love. She sacrifice the company of her family for Suvarna and her life for her family and clan.


Lolita as the name implies is someone who is luscious (as you remember Vladimir Nobokov’s Lolita). She likes all the accolades which come her way but deep down she carries the hurt, anger and hatred for his treacherous father.


Rubina is capable of drawing a sketch with words. For example this passage from Lolita:


She was someone’s dream and someone’s lust. She was someone’s passion and someone’s curse. Yet no one knew her nor did anyone dare to come near her. She was everyone’s unattainable dream. Her heart soared when trembling hands held an umbrella over her, lest the angry sun peeled away the layers of her beauty. Her heart sang when the spot boy nakedly admired her heaving breasts, innocent of the fact that he was being captured in her mother-of-pearl adorned hand mirror. She was wanted; she was needed, to fulfill all these silent desires of men.


Rubina has good grasp of human psyche and emotions. Each story has a testimony of it. “Betrayal” brings out the hate, in a man, which is so powerful that it continues even after death. Or “The little godmother” is about affection of a sister towards her younger brother. “Chicklet” shows hypocrisy, prejudice & racism world over in general and amongst Indians in particular. It also shows how compassion and empathy can overcome these negative emotions.


Though some of the stories are dark and depressive in the beginning, almost all ended on a positive note. These stories are about the power of positivity and positive emotions like compassion, empathy, indomitability and indestructibility of spirit, sacrifice, courage and above all Love.


I want to make special mention of the most funny, witty and original story “No Regrets”. It is about how a clever wife conveys the feeling of being trapped, frustrated and claustrophobia in an alien country to her husband without throwing a tantrum or fight. She makes him to see her point of view and brings him around ingeniously.


The effort Rubina put into the stories shows. She is a gifted storyteller. Highly recommended. 5/5 stars.

Where to buy:

https://www.amazon.in/Knitted-Tales-c...

Blurb:

What forces an innocent girl to become a sex symbol? Her desires? Or cruel fate?
Is a lifetime enough—for avenging a betrayal? How do you hide secrets that never stopped haunting you?
Can vengeance and secrets of your past devastate your present? How can long-buried crimes of yours suddenly raise their head? Can sinning be saving?
Is your spouse your soulmate? What if they never understood your feelings? Can you still live with them?
Lastly, does life give only two options? Live or die? What if there is a third?
In her anthology, Knitted Tales: A collection of emotions, Rubina Ramesh tries to find answers to these questions that are often from the heart and yet make the mind ponder over the solution. Or is it the other way round? Either way, Knitted Tales is a bouquet of emotions that is bound to touch both your head and your heart.

About the author:

Rubina Ramesh is an avid reader, writer, blogger, book reviewer and marketer. She is the founder of The Book Club, an online book publicity group. Her first literary work was published in her school magazine. It gave her immense pride to see her own name at the bottom of the article. She was about 8 years old at that time. She then went to complete her MBA and after her marriage to her childhood friend, her travel saga started. From The Netherlands to the British Isles she lived her life like an adventure. After a short stint in Malaysia, she finally settled down in the desert state of USA, Arizona. Living with her DH and two human kids and one doggie kid, Rubina has finally started living the life she had always dreamed about – that of a writer.


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Sunday, 23 July 2017

The Casanova's Wife (Marriages Made in India #4) by Sundari Venkatraman

The Casanova's Wife (Marriages Made in India, #4)The Casanova's Wife by Sundari Venkatraman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Prince charming meets plain Jane (or she thinks so). They fall in love and afterwards do they live happily ever after? Read this to know the answer.


Bharat is a handsome highly sought after model. He meets Dia in an after event party and they end up in bed. This is a love at first sight. He has no contact information of Dia and desperately misses her. She has his number, but she is too insecure by all his glamour, to contact him. She tells her dilemma to her sister, Pia thus:


“Actually Pia, Bharat has the reputation of being a Casanova. Even he admitted to it when I met him first. Though he insists that he’s changed since he met me and is in love with me, I’m still not sure about him. What if he’s confusing lust for love?”

Sundari’s writing is brisk. The story moves at a fast pace . The story starts and end with hot steamy scenes and there is reference to erotic desires/ acts throughout the book.


The tale is pretty straightforward. The characters are developed and the love story develops slowly from lust to love.Bharat has three brothers Ram, Laxman and his cousin Shatru. They are also family men . Sex scenes and references are are throughout the book and it keeps the interest going. Sundari describes the coitus in detail but the writing doesn't become crass. The scenes are done with finesse and I felt my blood boil many a times. I am reminded of Fifty Shades of Grey initially but this is not in BDSM category. The sex is just an extension of their love and Bharat is not a Psycho. They miss each other and grow apart due to insecurities of Dia. Finally they meet after 2 years and all is well in true love story Bollywood style.


This is book for lovers for light steamy romance. All in all a good time pass.

I give the book 4/ 5 stars.





Where to buy:

https://www.amazon.in/dp/B01MFBHWJX?t...


Blurb:


Bharat is the elder of the Maheshwari twins. Being a super model, he travels from Jaipur to Mumbai to Delhi, modelling for high-end brands and playing show stopper during fashion shows. Clothes, jewellery, glares, briefs – you name it and Bharat Maheshwari models for it.

Dia Mathur is a management trainee based in Mumbai. She’s surprised to find herself at an after event party hosted by a major fashion label, thanks to her best friend. That’s where she meets Bharat, completely unaware of his claim to fame.

Sparks sizzle and they get together instantaneously. But things fall apart when Dia realises that Bharat is quite the Casanova and might not make for a life partner. She disappears from his life...

...to surface again two years later, at no place other than his family’s drawing room in Jaipur. Will the Casanova turn a new leaf? Or will Dia have to play second, third or fourth fiddle to every gorgeous model who comes into his life?

Read Book #4 from MARRIAGES MADE IN INDIA series to find out more about “The Casanova’s Wife”.


About the author:


Sundari Venkatraman is an indie author who has 19 titles to her name, all Top 100 Bestsellers on Amazon India, Amazon USA, Amazon UK, Amazon Canada and Amazon Australia in both romance as well as Asian Drama categories. Her latest hot romances have all been on #1Bestseller slot in Amazon India for over a month.

Even as a kid, Sundari absolutely loved the ‘lived happily ever after’ syndrome as she grew up reading all the fairy tales she could lay her hands on, Phantom comics, Mandrake comics and the like. It was always about good triumphing over evil and a happy end.

Soon, into her teens, Sundari switched her attention from fairy tales to Mills & Boon. While she loved reading both of these, she kept visualising what would have happened if there were similar situations happening in India; to a local hero and heroine. Her imagination took flight and she always lived in a rosy cocoon of romance over the years.

Then came the writing – a true bolt out of the blue! And Sundari Venkatraman has never looked back.

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Saturday, 22 July 2017

Daughter of the Sun (Cult of the Cat #1) by Zoe Kalo


Daughter of the Sun (Cult of the Cat #1)Daughter of the Sun by Zoe Kalo
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

There is an orphan at an orphanage. Trinity is rebellious, headstrong and different from other girls. She is rescued from there and taken to a mysterious island. Dark forces are at work there and she is the only one who can save the day. I hope you get the drift by now. Sense of Deja-vu.

Trinity is at a catholic orphanage where mother superior is very strict. Her only friend is Brianna. Then one fine day a mysterious Dr Nassri comes to orphanage as a representative of her Grandmother, Margarete. She takes her to an island somewhere in Egypt where cats outnumber people. Unfortunately Trinity granny dies before telling her anything and leaves her with many unanswered questions.

The book is slow, boring and predictable. The surprise twists are no surprise and it takes forever to build the story. It is ok to write a trilogy but that doesn’t mean that first book should be a boring drag. Trinity is no Harry.

One passage from the book:

“We can’t always do what we want or feel like, can we? That’s hedonism. Didn’t you learn anything from the nuns all these years? I told you to wait until tomorrow. Why is that simple request so hard to follow?”

The book is predictable, clichéd and there is nothing new. I give this book it 2.5/ 5 stars.

Where to buy:

https://www.amazon.com/Daughter-Sun-C...

Blurb:

Sixteen-year-old Trinity was born during a solar eclipse and left at the doorsteps of a convent along with a torn piece of papyrus covered with ancient symbols. Raised by nuns in the English countryside, she leads a quiet life until she’s whisked away to the Island of Cats and a grandmother she never knew. But before they can get to know each other, her grandmother dies. All that Trinity has left is a mysterious eye-shaped ring. And a thousand grieving cats. As Trinity tries to solve the enigma of the torn papyrus, she discovers a world of bloody sacrifices and evil curses, and a prophecy that points to her and her new feline abilities. Unwilling to believe that any of the Egyptian gods could still be alive, Trinity turns to eighteen-year-old Seth and is instantly pulled into a vortex of sensations that forces her to confront her true self—and a horrifying destiny.

About the author:

A certified bookworm and ailurophile, Zoe Kalo has always been obsessed with books and reading. Reading led to writing—compulsively. No surprise that at 16, she wrote her first novel, which her classmates read and passed around secretly. The pleasure of writing and sharing her fantasy worlds has stayed with her, so now she wants to pass her stories to you with no secrecy—but with lots of mystery…. A daughter of adventurous expats, she’s had the good fortune of living on 3 continents, learning 4 languages, and experiencing a multicultural life. Currently, she’s working on a Master’s degree in Comparative Literature, which she balances between writing, taking care of her clowder of cats, and searching for the perfect bottle of pinot noir. She lives and writes in Belgium.


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Tuesday, 18 July 2017

ABCs of Horror by Anmol Rawat


ABCs of HorrorABCs of Horror by Anmol Rawat
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Why does horror click? It definitely does not make us feel good. It has a totally opposite effect on us. It makes us feel terrible, depressed and we run for cover. There is a sense of impending doom and feel bad atmosphere. Still horror movies and literature works. Stephen King is a good example in books. Countless horror movies are made. In India Ramsays and Bhatts has made a name for themselves in this and have a niche and loyal audience. Even low budget even C grade horror films become super hit and make good money. I think the reason is as below.

Horror is one of the emotion in humans. As per Natya Shastra of Bharat Muni there are eight RASA. A rasa is a synthetic phenomenon and the goal of any creative performance art, oratory, painting or literature. The King of Rasa is of course ROMANCE. Horror is combination of Disgust (Vibhatsa) and Horrifying (Bhayanka). So through books and movies we can experience these emotions in the safety of our home or at multiplex.

This is not my favourite genre but movies like The Ring, Veerana, Jaani DUshman, Raaz, Ek thi Dayan, Conjuring etc held my attention and I liked them.

Anmol Rawat has made a good attempt in horror Genre. As you have guessed correctly from the title these stories starts from alphabets A to Z like Voodoo, X-Mas, Sinister, Let me in, Zapped in, Atheist etc.

The book starts with Atheist. Two friends are drinking in a cemetery and discuss about existence of GOD and in turn SATAN.

Voodoo talks of voodoo dolls and how it works. Some friends have made name in field of recording paranormal on camera and they are trying to decipher voodoo phenomenon. As explained it is different from what we see in movies.

Witch is story of a girl who is suspected to be a witch by two of his school mates.

Too much cannot be revealed about the stories as it will spoil the fun. The stories are breezy reads and book can be finished in one sitting. Stories are set in foreign locations and country is not clear in most of them. Some are set in America and Africa. The stories are ok and a one-time read.

Most of them are predictable and clichéd and there is nothing new. Still the book is good and a one time read for lovers of thrill and suspense. I give this book it 3/5 stars.

Where to buy:

https://www.amazon.in/ABCs-Horror-Ter...

Blurb:

You have been warned: This book is cursed.

ABCs of Horror is a collection of ghastly tales that binds different forms of terrors together in a riveting narrative, which feels as real as the entity sitting right behind you when you are home alone, getting freaked out by even a gust of air.

There is a dreadful treasure here for every reader: haunted houses, rise of the Devil, paranormal sightings, Voodoo, and much more. The author has put together promising stories for every alphabet that are guaranteed to scare you out of your wits and question the presence of the supernatural.

Pick up the book as the night crawls by for feeling those chills creeping up your skin and your heart beating out of your chest.

About the author:

Anmol Rawat is a writer, which, considering where you are reading this, makes perfect sense. He is well known in the blogosphere for writing romance fictions, but he is always curious to explore different genres. ‘It’s challenging and challenges are nerve wracking, but fun,” he says. His debut solo book ‘ABCs of Horror’ is a collection of 26 terrifying standalone tales. His novella ‘The Awakening’, a sci-fi fiction, which was collaborated with other bloggers was elected as the best in a national competition and is published in the book ‘Game of Blogs’. He has edited and co-authored ‘A Little Chorus of Love’, an anthology of romance fictions and has co-authored Blank Space, an anthology of inspiring stories. He thinks Game of Thrones and Supernatural are the two best series ever made for television and devours on Nicholas Sparks, Dan Brown, Stephen King and John Green. He would kill for a good cup of Cappuccino, as should all right thinking people.


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The Aravan Head by Arvind Narsima


The Aravan HeadThe Aravan Head by Arvind Narsima
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The book is provided by Arudha Club in exchange for a genuine review. The book deals multiple issues at various levels.

One is of Political system is corrupt in India. There are many attempts to correct it but in vain. Since the days of JP movement to Anna Hazare we have seen efforts to cleanse the system but it comes to a naught.

Second is the question of LGBT acceptance in society. The people who are in minority and different due to their sexual makeup or orientation. They are shunned by society and looked down by all and sundry. They live amongst us but not a part of us.

Third is of systemic rot in police department. Police is meant to upheld law and order but they become tools in the hands of politicians, industrialists and Mafiosi to exploit the masses. There is large scale exploitation in the name of water tax, illegal hooch, hafta wasooli (protection money), rape, murders and the police is a mute participant in all these atrocities.

Fourth is theft and smuggling of our ancient heritage in form of idols and other things for money to be sold in foreign countries as antiques at astronomical prices. Thus the name of book “THE ARAVAN HEAD”. Aravan head is an ancient idol in Hijrawan (village of Eunuchs who are called Hijras हिजड़ा in Hindi).


Fifth issue is of Human trafficking. Young gullible girls are sold off in flesh market by ruthless dons and they are never traced. This is because they are sent in other countries.


The story starts with chapters named incidents 1, 2, 3 etc. There are incidents involving various characters like a professor, a wronged woman, her brother, a corporate honcho, wily politicians, mysterious woman who is pimp, corrupt police officers. This sets the tone of the book and our Hero Arya comes late into action. But the entry is impactful and reader comes to know that he is a no non sense officer. Arya foils the bid to steal Aravan Head in Hijrawan and saves life of one Eunuch. They he travels to Delhi on a tip and this sets up a high profile thriller.


The story is a thrill ride from the word go. The canvas is large and it tries to tackle many issues in one book as I detailed above. Inspector Arya is upright, brave, intelligent, resourceful and strong. He is very athletic and has good presence of mind. He is always one step ahead of his rivals. His friends Jagdessh and Gunjan calls him James Bond but Arya identifies more with Sherlock Holmes.

But the canvas is large and Arvind tried to tackle so many issues in one book. The length of book is big at 259 pages that too in small closely spaced font. So it becomes difficult to keep track of so many characters, locations and events for the reader.

Still the book is very good and a must read for lovers of thrill and suspense. I give this book it 4/5 stars.

Where to buy:

http://www.amazon.in/Aravan-Head-Arvi...

Blurb:

A politically driven criminal syndicate tries to steal a valuable ancient artefact, The Aravan Head, from a very old temple of the transgenders in Hijravan. Police officer Arya foils the well planned attempt. The incident unfolds a deadly secret that connects to a series of mind-boggling crimes which points to an unlikely person of tremendous authority in the political & business circles of Mumbai. With his friends kidnapped, his own people involved with the criminals and himself facing departmental enquiry, Arya is strangulated from all sides. Meanwhile in Delhi, 4 college girls, fed-up with the canteen food, hire a cook. While they expect an old, typically professional person, they are in for a great surprise that leaves them sweetly shocked. But the surprise is short lived after a beautiful transgender arrives at their bungalow revealing secrets that baffle them. Unfortunately the lives of the 4 girls become a nightmare along with that of the transgender. Did Arya arrest the main perpetrator behind all the crimes? What dangers did the Transgender bring to the girls? Did they survive the deadly situation they were pushed into? What price did Arya pay to win?

About the author:

Arvind lives in the beautiful city of Pondicherry with his mother, wife and daughter.



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Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Transitions And Beyond by Inderjit Kaur


Transitions And Beyond

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Life is not static. It is changing at every step. We are transformed every year, at every turn, at every phase. It can be for good or for bad but it happens. It is the law of nature. Life can’t stop.

“Transitions and Beyond” is book 4 of “A Living Series” written by Inderjit Kaur. The author herself has been a victim of domestic violence and came out stronger and triumphant. The book is divided in 3 modules.

1. The Change: It tells about the process of transformation. How to think positively and using crisis to our advantage.

2. Intervention (understanding the depth): this tells about detecting stressors, coping mechanism and eliminating it.


3. Revive and Renewal: It is about rekindling, reforming, reconstructing, restructuring life. Living for more by making a place for oneself, helping others.

This book tell about that every change is beginning of a transformation. This is the stepping stone for being better. We can use tough circumstances for our benefit and become better persons. It tells bout coping strategies to deal with change no matter how difficult or unpleasant it is. The process of healing begins with forgiving others. It helps to make life simple. We should not others control us and be firm, determined and unapologetic. Life is unpredictable and may spring many nasty surprises and we should be ready to deal with it.

Overall a very good self-help book which can help all to deal with transformations in a positive way.

Where to buy:


Blurb:

Transitions and Beyond helps us recalibrate our focus to align with our long-term objectives and goals thus making problems much easier to deal with and restoring one's confidence in life. It promises to renew and reform a disordered life so that one can live a complete life with all stagnation removed. One becomes a true adventurer, who now sees life's miniscule complications as challenges and can begin to transition.

Transitions are the phases that help one grow through adversities transforming one into an individual who will love challenges and convert them into opportunities for a magnificent tomorrow. They are related to psychological and situational parameters and both are equally important to optimize and to manifest a simple tool of transformation into the realm of personal developments to achieve balance in every core area of life.

Transitions and Beyond thus leads us to believe in life and produce a defining path that will reveal who we are and who we are meant to be.

About the author

Inderjit Kaur is an author, motivator with a powerful voice of spreading positive words through her writings. A highly influential blogger and inspirational guide who with her tag line ‘Keep smiling, keep shining’, has brewed up with the original concept of living through her books of A living series.

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Just me, the Sink & the Pot by Sudesna Ghosh


Just me, the Sink & the PotJust me, the Sink & the Pot by Sudesna Ghosh
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Sudesna Ghosh brings a funny tale of the angst of a plump teenager. Why should thin people especially girls have all the fun and attention? There is always a complex of inferiority in the fat girls. Is it justified or is it because of the false image of the beauty drilled into our minds by popular culture. The beautiful girl has perfect figure of 36-24-36.

Pamela is an 18 year old teenager who is fat. She has a heart of gold and she is grappling with growing up issues of a fatso girl. She has her family, friends (virtual too in teddies and other toys) and her crush. Nor she fit in with the thin girl gang and neither she wants to. She has a fat friend Krish who tries to fit in. she somehow loses weight and then stops hanging out with Pamela. She gets into relations ship with a fat boy but feels that a bad idea. So she dumps him. This is a story how she feels about her weight issues and aftermath.

The tale is sweet, relatable, fast paced and interesting. It kept me hooked. It finishes it in 3 hours. The treatment is humorous and funny. Some interesting passages:

1. We huge girls need our own magazine. One with no articles about romance, sex, love and all of those other things that did not exist in our lives. I suggested that to an editor or two who never got back to me. I wrote to them saying ‘your current magazine does not appeal to girls who wear plus sizes.’


2. When I was 14, I wanted to be a dietician but during the first semester of high school, a classmate helpfully pointed out that people wouldn’t want advice from a fat dietician. “Why would people even listen to somebody who’s so fat?” Thank you for that, Sona.


3. “I think we are getting too serious.” I would never forget the look on his face. I felt relief after I broke the bond. Two fat people trying to date was obviously a bad decision. Extremely bad if you ask me. We were like two huge pumpkins trying to celebrate Halloween. Although my teeth are not as weird as those carved ones.

The book has some issues too. It is told from a first person POV and most of the time it is a monologue. It has very few dialogues and plot is almost non-existent. The woes of a fat person becomes too tedious after a certain point. There is hyperbole in the treatment and Pamela has almost neurotic obsession with her weight. I wish she could relax and have a life.

This is a book for teenagers and they will like it. I give it 3/5 stars.

Where to buy:

https://www.amazon.in/Just-Sink-Pot-S...

Blurb:

Meet Pamela, an overweight girl who's looking back at her school days. From longing for a Valentine to dealing with a sibling who hates her, Pamela has a lot to deal with. She even has a special bunch of friends at home who she can turn to - but they aren't the kind of friends you'd expect. Life sucks when you're fat. Can Pamela ever be happy?

About the author:

Sudesna or Sue is the author of short stories, two nonfiction books, and now, a fiction work called Just me, the Sink & the Pot. When she isn't writing or reading, she's busy being mommy to her adopted cats.



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Rafflesia: The Banished Princess by Gautam

The book is provided by Arudha Club in exchange for a genuine review.
Rafflesia: The Banished PrincessRafflesia: The Banished Princess by Gautam
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Life is real and fantasy is not. But in case of mental illness like depression there is tendency to escape. When the reality becomes too harsh to face person withdraws in a fantastic world. This does not solve the problem but helps to keep the sanity.

Apruva Sharma aka Appu is a shy, timid, introvert and depressed person. He has his own reasons like his wife Jharna. She married him for a brief period under duress and pressure of her parents. She can’t stand him and wants to dissolve the marriage. Appufather Abir and mother Trina raised him with love and care. Abirplays Violin and so does Appu. Vikram is an Army captain and is floored by Abir Violin recital. They become friends and Vikram is posted to their town. Vikramvisits them with his wife Amla and son Rahul. This is the start of a lifelong friendship of Appu and Rahul. Rahul is unlike Appu and they become like brothers. Then Appu moves to Netherlands and start his job there. He has relatives Jeet and his wife Sujata there. Misha is Appu’srakhi sister and she is having the same story of marital discord as Appu. Nothing much happens after that and it’s a prod.

The story is tedious, boring and protracted. It is sad and depressing. Most of the characters are sad God knows why. Amla doesn’t smile. Misha is angry is sad. So is many other motley characters. There are so many of them I lost track. Appu is most depressed and idiotic as expected from hero of a depressing novel.

The story moves between his childhood and present in alternate chapters. This breaks the flow but then it is writer’s prerogative how to keep the chronology and how to tell the story.

The story of Raffelesia comes in the late and it had no connection with his story whatsoever. At least I can’t see the connection. Maybe there is one.

Where to buy:

http://www.amazon.in/Rafflesia-Banish...

Blurb:
The curtains draw up. Lights are dimmed. The musical is about to begin. As the beautiful princess descends on stage, the mythical creatures from her kingdom come alive. Flickers of brilliant coloursblaze across as mesmerizing music pulsates from one corner of the theatre to the other. A fairy tale is about to unfold

As young children, we often come across things that stay in our hearts forever. For Appu, it is a fairy tale about a beautiful princess. He lives with her in a world filled with the magical creatures from her kingdom until the real world beckons. A reluctant Appu steps into it as a striking young man and struggles to find his place.

What follows is an evocative tale of love and loss, friendship and betrayal, as the story travels through the snow-peaked mountains of Arunachal to the golden deserts of Jaisalmer, the tulip gardens of
Holland to the lush greens of Kerala. Does Appu find what he had set out for? The answer lies in Rafflesia — The Banished Princess because in her story, lay his!"

About the author:

A B-School graduate, Gautam is a business analyst by profession. Considers the laptop as among his best friends and nurses a secret desire to turn an entrepreneur someday.


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Sunday, 2 July 2017

Ishq Mein Shahar Hona by Ravish Kumar


इश्क में शहर होना / Ishq Mein Sheher Honaइश्क में शहर होना / Ishq Mein Sheher Hona by Ravish Kumar
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I am a fan of Ravish Kumar of NDTV prime time fame.

I bought this book from Amazon purely based on his name.

These are called laprek i.e. Laghu prem Katha. One page stories set in Delhi.

I read the stories and didn't like them much. They have no plot except some names of Delhi's localities.

Maybe i am not able to understand the context or the hidden message.

Still didn't work for me.

Blurb:

Laprek (Short Love Story) Is a highly ambitious, experimental Nano format of story writing. Originated at digital platform of Facebook, the famous face of TV news, anchor Ravish Kumar has started writing micro fiction in a limited space of Facebook and twitter. The politics of our times figures as Metaphor in the loving exchange between characters. Laprek is a story of Love in cities. It is a story of Cities in love.

रेम हम सबको बेहतर शहरी बनाता है। हम शहर के हर अनजान कोनों का सम्मान करने लगते हैं। उन कोनों में ज़िंदगी भर देते हैं... आप तभी एक शहर को नए सिरे से खोजते हैं जब प्रेम में होते हैं... और प्रेम में होना सिर्फ हाथ थामने का बहाना ढूँढना नहीं होता। दो लोगों के उस स्पेस में बहुत कुछ टकराता रहता है। 'लप्रेक' उसी कशिश और टकराहट की पैदाइश है।

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The Secret of Being Together by Tsafy Zur, Amos Zur


The Secret of Being TogetherThe Secret of Being Together by Tsafy Zur
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Marriage is an institution almost as old as the civilization. It is the bedrock of the society and smallest unit of it. The couple take wedding vow before. “To have and to hold from this day forward, for better or worse, in sickness and in health, for richer or poorer, until death do us part.” Then why there are cases of divorce and the marital discord? Does people fall out of love, become infidel, become enemies and decide to separate from each other. This has disastrous consequence for them and children. It is also bad for society. So can something be done to reverse this?


Amos and Tsafy Tzur are marriage counseling couple. Their approach is friendly and they learn as the counsel. The book has many new insights as reproduced below:


1. We came across words that appeared over and over: Journey. Consciousness. Unconsciousness. Choice. Past. Present. Future. Dream. Only in the course of time did we realize to what extent these words represent our, “I believe,” within our therapeutic work with couples.

2. We chose to conclude the session by relating to another one of Renee’s statements: “I just don’t have any more strength to keep on going, I’m depressed. “Depression,” we said, “is not the right state to be in to make decisions that imply drastic changes. It is advisable first to relieve the depression, to go back a few steps and think things through, and only then can you make a sound decision. Depression is like a drop of ink that colors an entire glass of water. It stains life black and it prevents us from acknowledging the fact that there are other colors as well.”

3. “From our experience, we’ve seen that when a couple understands and ascribes to the idea that the relationship is the one who comes to therapy, it constitutes a leap forward in their journey. It is a stage when the partners stop arguing, struggling, accusing each other, or fighting about who is right. Instead of this, they mobilize themselves toward saving and nurturing the relationship that they both want.”

4. “In times of doubt, there is a tendency to simultaneously ‘press the gas pedal as well as the brake pedal,’ meaning drawing closer to one another and once again growing apart.


5. Quite often, we have noticed that when we liberate people from the need to know, and we suggest that they listen rather than think, they are suddenly able to hear things that they wouldn’t have thought of at all a minute or two before.

6. We’ve heard such words from many other couples: “A man will give love to get sex, and a woman will give sex to get love. Sherry wouldn’t have sex because she wasn’t getting any love, and Dylan wouldn’t give love because he wasn’t getting any sex. They were trapped in a vicious circle that had entailed years of estrangement, distancing, and a sense of loneliness for both of them. The dispute between sex and intimacy was the main issue they had chosen to discuss. They stood on opposite sides, and they were engaged in a war—the war of the sexes—the battle of sexuality versus intimacy.


The book is very good for couples whose marriage is under rough weather. They may gain a new perspective about the marriage. The book give some god tips about solving the discords and seeing things from others perspective.

Still the book becomes theoretical many a times. Also I feel therapy is a process where human interaction is required and it can’t be done by reading a book. Still the book can be a good starting point.



Recommendation and rating:

I would recommend it to couples whose marriage is going tough a tough time. I give the book 3/ 5 stars.

Where to buy:

https://www.amazon.com/Secret-Being-T...

Blurb:

It’s time to address your problems as a couple.
Learn about a unique type of couples’ therapy as you embark on a fascinating journey through the world of couplehood. Become more familiar with your own relationship, improving and enriching it, as you find answers to the questions that have been troubling you. Take your relationship to a higher and brighter place.
Peek into the journeys of other couples
Each chapter describes the work of a different couple grappling with its own problems: in the sexual arena, demons of the past that threaten to overwhelm them, emotional intimacy, and addiction. You will be made to feel as if you are sitting in the treatment room with them, accompanying them on their journey, while simultaneously “meeting” and “treating” yourselves. Peek into the journeys of other couples, together with your partner, and then look inward at your own shared experiences.
Be guided by the eclectic approach of top professionals
On the Israeli bestseller list and enjoying critical acclaim from professionals in the field of couples’ counseling, the authors of The Secret of Being Together specialize in combining the conscious, sub-conscious, imagination, images, hypnoses, creation, energy, and intuition – as well as the principles of Buddhism and psychology – in their therapy work.

From the author:

What has been our journey in recent years?
In the course of the last few years, we found ourselves learning martial arts in China and trying to learn the secret of the Tao. We found ourselves in Japan, observing those learning the art of archery and learning from them how to let go, how to cease gripping―how 'simple' the most difficult thing in the world can be. We met Dr. Raichura in India, clarifying for ourselves the difference between spiritualism and psychotherapy. We experienced the meaning of energy therapy in Sedona, Arizona, and in the south of France, we learned with Thich Nhat Hanh, a Buddhist monk who believes in loving speech, deep listening, and right action. Indeed, we went on a marvelous journey that affected our relationship on the one hand and our work with couples on the other.
When we closed our eyes as we first started writing this book, the following words appeared to us: journey, consciousness, choice, past, present, future, dream. These words did not lose their meaning, but as we began writing the epilogue and closed our eyes once again, additional words appeared to us, words that indubitably did not exist at the time of writing the book, words that now constitute an inseparable part of any couple journey on which we embark: body-soul-spirit, energy, intuition, faith, mindfulness, unconsciousness, the subconscious, and supra-mental consciousness. Nowadays all constitute an inseparable part of every couple journey on which we set out and an inseparable part of our core beliefs. These words help us combine psychotherapy and spirituality. These words push us toward decrypting and understanding the secret of the relationship of every couple.



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