Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Vamsa - Quest for the Divine Calling by Kavitha Kalyan

I specially requested the review copy of Vamsa to the author. Sheetal from "Halo of books" helped me reach Kavitha. I would like to thank both the ladies for providing such a wonderful book. It took me few weeks to start this book, but I liked the slow paced story of Vamsa.

Book Blurb
A potent ritual in a forbidding forest shakes the peace around the village of Vamsa. When Ranga's world falls apart, he has no choice but to follow the last instruction given by his father. He finds himself heading into the mysterious world of spiritualism when he goes to Vamsa. With uncertainty looming around him, Ranga learns that the future is tough and beyond his understanding and yet there is a strong desire to go through with it in a hope to see his family again. With love blooming on one side and spiritual adventure on the other, he descends into Tantrik faith weaving his way through unbelievable experiences that leave him wondering what does he want most - his spiritual path or his lady love?
As mentioned in the subtitle, Vamsa is the story of Sadhak towards divine location/self-realisation. It is the story of Ranga, Veeru, Madhav, and Urvashi. Urvashi and Veeru belonged to Avanthi. Life was normal and boring for both. Adventurous Veeru heard some stories about the forest. He started venturing into the forest in the night and started witnessing some fearsome rituals. During the same time, Ranga entered into Urvashi's life. He was sent by Urvashi's father Vittala's peer Abhimara. Just like Urvashi, Ranga was not told about sacred sadhana by Abhimara. This opportunity gave birth to spirituality and mission oriented direction to the young generation. I don't want to reveal much of the story so I suggest readers check the book.

The book has multiple things
  • The Story Part - It is the bonding part for readers with book
  • A Sanskrit shloka (verses) at beginning of each chapter and in between few chapters. These shlokas were given to show us how a verse can be used to show means at multiple levels from verbal to spiritual level
  • Spiritual Part - Though given as story but one can easily find out that it is given for readers spiritual upliftment. I found it wonderful during divine journey segment.
The book reminded me "Tantric Curse" book by Anupama Garg to me. Vamsa's main aim was to enlight population about facts like
  • Tantric Vidhya / Sadhana is not just black magic.
  • Tantra is about meeting divine being & self-realization
  • Though many rituals have unconventional ways, it doesn't mean true sadhak will accept the wrong mean to achieve powers.
A completely different book. One should read it if he or she can take slow paced, message drive and, religious kind of book. Talking about rating
  1. Cover - 3.5 / 5
  2. Content - 4 / 5
  3. Characters - 4 / 5 (I especially liked Baldeva's Character)
  4. Concept - 4 / 5
  5. Overall - 4 / 5
Book can be found at - Amazon & Flipkart
Review from other readers can be found at GoodReads

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Meet Young Aarthi Sreenivasan - Author of Incredibly Incorrect Impressions

Today we have Aarthi Sreenivasan with us to discuss her book "Incredibly Incorrect Impressions".

Hi Aarthi. Welcome to our blog. We would like to thank you for giving us time. Before we proceed towards your book, can you brief our readers about you. 

Can you tell us your educational background?
I am pursuing an Undergraduate degree in Journalism and Mass Communication. 
What were you like at school/college apart from studies? 
VERY talkative and fond of debates. 
What are some day jobs you have held?
Does daydreaming count? (No, haven’t held any, sorry).
Which author inspire you the most? 
I love reading. Some of the authors who inspire me are Jane Austen, JK Rowling, PG Wodehouse. George RR Martin, Agatha  Christie, James Patterson, Scott Fitzgerald. 
Tell us about your about writing career. When did you start writing? 
The first piece I ever wrote was a one page story, in grade 3. 
When did you decide to become a writer? 
Grade 3. Some wanted to sing, some wanted to dance, I wanted to sit at home and write stories which made no sense. 
What are your ambitions for your writing career? 
I want to write something, which makes someone’s day feel better than it was before they started reading my work. 
How is your day structured to accommodate your writing? 
Writing is unpredictable with me. I might write for hours, or not write at all.  So, understandably, my entire day, when I write, is a chaotic mess. 

Can you describe your current book - "Incredibly Incorrect Impressions" in few lines? What’s it about? 
It is about a person in her late teens to early 20s, with the fears and insecurities of someone who feels the need to make changes, blessed (almost unfortunately) with a terrible sense of humor. Friendship. Humor. Ambition. Family. Love. That’s what this book is all about. 
Give us an insight into your main character.
Aishwarya Narayan, is the kind of girl you would find roaming about your neighborhood, maybe immersed in an interesting book. She is feisty, awkward, horribly funny and has, like every other person, insecurities about her shortcomings and her fears. She’s warm and earnest in her relationships, which is something many people would be able to connect with. 
Where did you get idea for this book? 
Pride and Prejudice was the first literary fiction I had read, apart from mysteries and fantasies. The wit of Elizabeth, the intelligent conversations, the cynical narrative of society, was too good to not be inspiring. 
How much research did you do for this book? 
I had to learn the ways to write a narrative which wouldn’t completely bore the reader. I n a way, I had to fit in random trivia, to show that the narrator too, has a human instinct to them, ie, they get distracted. Bringing in realism to narration took some time. 
Who is your favorite character in your book and why?
I like all of them. 
What was the most difficult thing about writing your latest book? 
Some elements of the narrator was from some of my personal viewpoints of life. Now that took quite a bit of time to get out. 
When your book is planned to release?
Tentatively end of October. 
What are you working on at the minute? 
A fantasy one. 
What are your thoughts on writing a book series? 
I hope the next one I write would be a part of one. 
We are almost done. Before we finish, we would like to know about your experience with Lead Start as Publishing house? 
It was pretty good! Kudos to them for trusting a fledgling teenage author. 
What advice would you give to aspiring writers? 
Please write. Good or bad, cringe-worthy or not, only writing more would make you better. That and reading. 
Is there anything else you would like to add that I haven’t included? 
No, you’re really thorough. 
Links for your book readers
We would like to thank Leadstart Publishers (Frog Books) for providing this opportunity to connect the author. Readers can check their wonderful collection of books by going through this link - Leadstart Books

Monday, August 14, 2017

Shravan - The Best Time to Read Interesting Books About Shiva By Preetha Rajah Kannan

The month of Shravan seems a particularly appropriate time to write about my journey into the world of mythology and my deep fascination with Lord Shiva, as depicted in the Tamil puranas. I started my voyage with Shiva in the City of Nectar, narrating Shiva’s divine play in ancient Madurai. I took the treasured tales of Paranjothi Munivar’s Thiruvilayaadal Puranam, passed on orally through the generations, and fleshed them out with the lavish play of an affectionate imagination. As a denizen of present-day Madurai, these stories are especially close to my heart. 

I threw myself happily into narrating the tales of ancient devas, asuras, sages, men and talking birds and beasts. Shiva blithely takes on the guise of beggar, saint, monarch, merchant, fisherman, hunter, warrior and woodcutter, walking through the three worlds slaying rampaging demons, performing his Ananda Tandava, and embracing good and bad alike. I delighted in portraying Shiva in all his multi-faceted mystique - the tender lover who woos and weds Goddess Meenakshi, the eternal Guru who dispenses wisdom, the fierce avenger whose third eye flashes fire, the generous benefactor who showers blessings on his devotees and, above all, the gentle prankster who embodies the essence of Vedic faith.

I continued my voyage with Son of Shiva, telling the story of Kartikeya, Commander-in-chief of the heavenly hosts, embodiment of wisdom and valour. Again, I recovered treasured childhood tales and knit them with fresh insights and content from Kachiappa Sivacharya’s Kandhapuranam.  Son of Shiva depicts the monumental battle between the forces of good and evil, as embodied by the devas and the asuras. It is as much a tale of Shiva as of his son. 

Daksha Prajapati, drunk on hubris, conducts a splendid sacrifice with the explicit objective of denigrating Lord Shiva. In a whirlwind of destruction, the awesome Veerabhadra lays waste to the yagna and punishes the participating gods and sages. However, the sinister echo of the infamous sacrifice returns to haunt the gods in the form of the formidable asura brothers, Surapadma, Taraka and Singhamuka. The asuras obtains powerful boons from Shiva, assert their supremacy over the entire cosmos and unleash a reign of terror. The traumatized gods implore Lord Shiva to deliver them from the demons’ depredations. In answer to their prayers, Kartikeya, Champion of the Gods, emerges from Shiva’s tejas. Armed with the invincible mystic spear bestowed on him by Shakti, Kartikeya takes on the forces of darkness in an electrifying confrontation which shakes the very foundations of the universe.

It was a joy to fill the pages of Son of Shiva with a host of fascinating characters, dark magic and cataclysmic events. The demon Vatapi takes on the guise of a goat to devour unsuspecting sages. The humble spider builds its web to shield Shiva from the elements. Every drop of blood shed by the asura general, Raktabheeja, transforms into a hideous clone. Kama is reduced to ashes by Shiva’s furious third eye. Parvati performs an incredible thousand years of penance to win Shiva’s heart. Vishnu receives the splendid Sudarshana Chakra from Shiva. Shiva annihilates the demon, Gajasura; breaks the Ganga’s fall on his matted locks; performs his cosmic dance; rises as a towering pillar of fire and shines in all his glory. 

I do hope both Shiva in the City of Nectar and Son of Shiva will be my readers’ door into a rich new world of insights and tales of Lord Shiva. Happy reading to you all!

Book Links:
Shiva in the City of Nectar
Son of Shiva

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Book Review - The Fourth Monkey by J D Barker

I got The Fourth Monkey by J D Barker book in Feb'17. And the best part about author and PR they never pushed us to finish the book. It took me more than 6 months to start the book and another month to finish it. The only reason behind slower speed was mobi version. Well, if you have watched Dexter or similar series, you will like the book Those reading this book the first time don't think it is a sequel. Actually, the author has started the story of a serial killer not from his first victim but from sixth or seventh one.

Book Blurb
For over five years, the Four Monkey Killer has terrorized the residents of Chicago. When his body is found, the police quickly realize he was on his way to deliver one final message, one which proves he has taken another victim who may still be alive. 
As the lead investigator on the 4MK task force, Detective Sam Porter knows even in death, the killer is far from finished. When he discovers a personal diary in the jacket pocket of the body, Porter finds himself caught up in the mind of a psychopath, unraveling a twisted history in hopes of finding one last girl, all while struggling with personal demons of his own.
With only a handful of clues, the elusive killer’s identity remains a mystery. Time is running out and the Four Monkey Killer taunts from beyond the grave in this masterfully written fast-paced thriller.
Porter is trying to solve the 4MK case for last 5 years in which 6 killings were already taken place. The killer was like Dexter, his main target would be a criminal who was cleaned in police records. Instead of killing criminal killer will kill female close relative (mainly daughter or sister) of the person. Before killing he would send warnings to criminals in a small box. The first warning would be the ear of girl which indicates "Hear No Evil". The second warning would be eye ball of girl which indicates 'See No Evil". The third warning would be the tongue of the victim which indicates 'Speak No Evil". By the time third warning box reaches criminal, the dead body would be found along with records of crimes done by the criminal. Killer had never left any clues unless he wanted police to know about something. But this time things were different. Warning box delivery guy met with an accident and ear in the box led to one of the richest and most powerful fellows of Chicago city. How would Porter solve the case? Along with box, Porter found diary left by 4MK. Well the book is in two parallels. Case which I mentioned above and incident of 4MK's teenage. 

The author claimed books rights for movie and series are sold before publishing the book. And I actually found book pace slow as series. 400+ pages long book can be filmed in 10-12 episodes easily. The language of the book is quite easy and straight. The author has covered areas of psychology and criminal science while writing the story. Well, I have read fewer books in this genre so I liked it.

Talking about ratings
  1. Cover - 3/5
  2. Characters - 4.5/5
  3. Content - 4/5
  4. Concept - 3.5/5
  5. Overall - 3.5/5
Book can be found at - Amazon & Flipkart
Review from other readers can be found at GoodReads

Friday, August 11, 2017

The Indus Challenge by R. Durgadoss

I wanted to read this book ever since I checked its promotional email from TBC. Dr. R Durgados has gifted me this book in exchange for an honest review. 

Book Blurb
Bharat is in chaos. While the kingdoms fight each other, Alexander’s forces gather for the assault, their leader lured by tales of supernatural weapons and the elixir of immortality. Only one man can save the subcontinent from domination by the Greeks: the young Chandragupta Maurya, trained under the aegis of the ‘dark brahmin’, Chanakya.

When an ancient seal is found, sharing the secrets of the brahmastra, the redoubtable weapon of the Mahabharat, it is up to Rudra, young commander of the Mauryan Nava Yuva Sena and lifelong friend and confidante of Chandragupta, to decode it. Along with his fellow commandos, and with the able guidance of his guru, Rudra embarks on a quest that takes him from the snowy peaks of the Himalayas to the seas of Rameshwaram, hunting the clues that will lead him to the brahmastra. On the way, he meets the Chiranjivis, ancient beings tasked with divine duties, and learns the secrets behind his own birth and his mysterious powers.
But Rudra must be careful, for not all enemies were dispersed with the death of the mighty Alexander. Treachery lurks in the home, and when Rudra is framed for the attempted murder of his sovereign, he must pull every trick at his disposal to reveal the enemy, and save his kingdom from plunging, once more, into bloodshed and chaos.
A historical, mythological adventure story, The Indus Challenge is sure to appeal to readers interested in the storied past of India and the legends woven into its soil.
The Indus Challenge is the first independent book in the trilogy. It is written in times of Chanakya and Chandragupta Maurya. The protagonist of the story is Rudra. A fictional character conceptualized by the author. Rudra was the reincarnation of a special force captain aiding Abhimanyu during Chakravyuh infiltration. Due to failure in saving Abhimanyu's life, he was cursed to take three (shorter) birth. As per the divine plan, the first incarnation was Rudra. Due to his special powers and mystery around his birth, he was trained & brought up by Chanakya along with Chandragupta. The story is divided into multiple parts
  • Alexander's secret ambition behind his desire to dominion over India
  • Rudra's treasure hunt with Chanakya and Chandragupta for ancient secrets (Amrita and Brahmastra)
  • Clash between Rudra and Chandragupta's wife Helena
Each part has its own plus and minus. I liked the first and second part. The third part was more like Hindi sdrama. Talking about nearest similarity would be "Chandra-Nandini" airing on Star Plus. Talking about the first part it was mixed with historical and fictional components. Medium to high paced. This part was nearer to historical facts. The second part was more mythological and magical. The pace of this part was a super fast journey. Many funny or illogical or less thought about incidents mentioned in this part. I already mentioned drawbacks of the Final part. Due to this part, I am giving one star less to the book.

Still, it is a different book. Properly written. One can take it as a light read for the journey. Talking about ratings
  1. Cover - 4 / 5
  2. Content - 3.5/5
  3. Characters - 2.5/5
  4. Concept - 3.5/5
  5. Overall - 3/5
Book can be found at - Amazon & Flipkart
Review from other readers can be found at GoodReads

Monday, August 7, 2017

Meet Russ Colchamiro Author of LOVE, MURDER & MAYHEM

Today we have Russ Colchamiro with us to discuss about his latest book LOVE, MURDER & MAYHEM

So Russ, tell us about your education?
B.S. Secondary English Education, Buffalo State College; Manchester Metropolitan University, UK
What were you like at school/college apart from studies?
I was a late bloomer. I went overseas for my final semester—I backpacked through Europe for a month and then lived in Manchester, England for three months—this is back in 1994, before travel was as accessible as it is today. In a real way that trip changed the course of my life.
What are some day jobs you have held?
You name it, I’ve done it! But to this day probably my favorite job ever was being a paper boy. This is back when teenagers could still get those jobs, back in the 1980s. I was my own boss, had money to spend, and I was alone a lot, which I liked. Plus I spent so much time around physical newspapers that it turned me into a junkie. I still love print papers to this day. Being a waiter was fun, for its time. You learn a lot working in restaurants. Everyone should do it, at least once.
Do you read much and if so who are your favorite authors? Which author inspire you the most?
Besides the news—which makes me want to vomit these days—I try to read fiction every day. I have several writers I love, including (among others and in no particular order) Christopher Moore, Kurt Vonnegut, Mark Twain, Harlan Coben, Sara Gran, Elmore Leonard, Alan Moore, Kurt Busiek, and John Steinbeck.
When did you start writing? (It may be your first article or blog.)
I dabbled in high school, wrote on and off in college, but by my mid-20s was working as a journalist, and taking fiction much seriously.
When did you decide to become a writer?
Since I was a little kid. I wanted to be a writer … and a scientist. I’m terrible at actual science, but science fiction? That seems to be working out pretty well!
What are your ambitions for your writing career?
Write the best books I can, every time out. Financially, I’d love to get to the point where this is how I earn all of my money, for the rest of my days. I’m working on it …
Do you have a special time to write, or how is your day structured to accommodate your writing?
I work full time, have a long commute, and have seven-year-old twins—my ninjas.  So my writing time is after my kids go to bed, and when I can on weekends. For the most part I write 9 pm – 1030 pm every night. Then I walk the dog and clean the kitchen. I try to make those 90 minutes count.
Is LOVE, MURDER & MAYEM your debut work? If not so, what have you written?
To date I’ve written four novels—Finders Keepers, Genius de Milo, Astropalooza, and Crossline. I’ve also contributed to another half dozen anthologies. But Love, Murder & Mayhem the first anthology where I served as the editor, running it from conception to completion, including contributing my own story.
What genre are your books?
Science fiction and fantasy, a mix of comedy, mystery, and action adventure, although I’m moving more into crime fiction and noir.
Can you describe your current book in few lines? What’s it about?
Love, Murder & Mayhem is a new anthology from Crazy 8 Press, with 15 stories from 15 authors. While I’m typically a novelist, I served as editor for this one, and contributed one of the stories. Each tale contains at least one act of love or romance, at least one murder, with lots of mayhem, all in various science fiction settings. Admittedly, I was expecting an entire anthology of private eye stories—and we have a few—but thankfully it inspired an entire range of tales. We have superhero and supervillain stories. Off-world and space cruiser stories. We’ve also got A.I., private eyes, sleep surrogates, time travel, an aliens/monsters mash-up and … one DuckBob!
Give us an insight into your main character(s)
Angela Hardwick. Though the ‘world’ she appears in is galaxy hopping noir, she’s a private eye in that classic Sam Spade detective. Fedora, pinstripe suit, knows the angles.
Where did you get idea for this book?
While writing GENIUS DE MILO, the second book in my FINDERS KEEPERS scifi backpacking comedy series, I introduced—briefly—the character of Angela Hardwicke.. I bumped up her role considerably for the third and final book, ASTROPALOOZA. I always wanted to write a private eye character, and loved her right away. I’m actually planning to write a spin-off series with her. But before I jumped into a full book, I wanted to write a short story with Hardwicke in the lead, to get a better sense of who she was, her rhythms, and the kinds of stories I wanted to tell. That inspire me to create LOVE, MURDER & MAYHEM.
How much research did you do for this book?
Not research so much as plotting out the entire mystery beginning to end. It actually took me a few weeks to work out all of the details. If you plot a mystery and even one little component is off base, the entire narrative falls apart. The infrastructure of your story has to be rock solid.
Release date.
Love, Murder & Mayhem debuted in July, so it’s on sale now. 
What are you working on at the minute?
I’m working on a top secret project I can’t talk about yet, but hopefully by early next year. After that I plan to be writing Hardwicke stories for the next several years at least.
What are your thoughts on writing a book series?
A series has benefits and challenges. The benefits are that you can explore your characters in deeper ways and in new situations, introducing them to any number of other characters and friction of all sorts. The challenge is to keep the character fresh, making sure you have something to say, and ensuring that you are being consistent one book to the next.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Write every day. Don’t seek perfection. It doesn’t exist. Write every day, whether it’s good or bad, whether you’re happy with what you produced or not, and then, once you’ve done a strong, legit polish, working out the kinks, share your work with only a select people whom you trust will give you honest feedback that you can put into practice. Don’t be afraid to be challenged. If you don’t seek input, it’s difficult to improve. 
Is there anything else you would like to add that I haven’t included?
I’ve got books! Buy ‘em. They’re cool! And leave reviews please!
Links for your book readers

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Making Breakthrough Innovations Happen by Porus Munshi

I am a big fan of Rashmi Bansal's books. I have read 5 of her books and 2 more books I have with me which I have to read. If I talk about my liking in nonfiction genre, business stories or entrepreneurial journies are my favorite. I checked this book in my office and I liked it after reading the first chapter. The author Porus Munshi has taken wonderful success stories to inspire organizations/individuals to perform with radically new ideas/methodologies/systems.

Book Blurb
For long now, India has been seen as a country that is good at working on products and ideas that are already out there. Indian companies took up products that came in from the West and either replicated it or re-engineered it. Indians, when they went to other countries, were part of creative teams that came up with, and implemented great ideas. But, when in their own country, Indians do not have a reputation for coming up with innovative ideas. So, what is it that stops them?
The author laments this situation in his book Making Breakthrough Innovation Happen: How 11 Indians Pulled Off The Impossible. He points out that even the Indian branches of MNCs do not see their Indian operations as centers of innovations. They just work on things that have already been conceived elsewhere.
In this book, Munshi tells the true stories of 11 breakthrough ideas conceived and executed by Indians. These ground-breaking examples show that if someone dares to think out-of-the box and follows their dream, then seemingly impossible things can be achieved.
Making Breakthrough Innovation Happen: How 11 Indians Pulled off the Impossible - as title suggests 11 stories of this book are divided into 4 sections:
  • Orbit shifting challenges
  • Challenging the establishment through a breakthrough insight
  • Enrolling to cause
  • Combating dilution
Each section comprises two to three stories. Each story starts with some brief global example, followed by the problem at the hand, methodology to solve the problem, the reasoning behind methods. It ends with results and future course of actions.

Each case is unique and strong one. I am from Surat so I can relate it more, but I liked most of the cases. A person who would like to enter into a startup or bigger role should read it once. The book doesn't just talk about what had been done but also talks about why it was done and why it worked.

A wonderful 4.5+ read. Talking about ratings:
  1. Cover - 3 / 5 (Frankly speaking it gave me feeling of an academic book)
  2. Content - 5 / 5
  3. Concept - 4 / 5
  4. Overall - 4.5 / 5
Book can be found at - Amazon & Flipkart
Review from other readers can be found at GoodReads


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