Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Book Review - Kali Yuga The Ascension

Being a fan of mythification I don't lose the chance of reading or reviewing one, no matter how overloaded I am. In one such week, I got a recommendation from my acquaintance from the publishing industry, the book cover and blurb were interesting enough to accept the book. Three days back I planned to make a schedule for the second half of the month's read when I checked blurb again to decide the exact date of reading for this book. But one thing led to another and I ended up reading 3 chapters in 15 minutes. I put aside the schedule and took "Kali Yuga The Ascension"  under the current read.

"Kaliyuga" is a unique mix of fantasy, mythology & sci-fi. I am not sure in which basket I should put the book. The mace - Gada shown on the cover picture is kind of core theme of the story. This Gada is Mahashakti Gada, last used by Anjaneya, last avatar of Lord Rudra. When Anjaneya left the physical realm he left responsibilities of securing Gada & train next avatar on lord Parshurama. The story started with a celebration of Anjaneyautsav that brings all 5 major clans together where they do a friendly match between warriors. Bheema is one of the central characters who wanted to claim the title of Anjaneya by lifting mighty Gada (though righteously). His father Vajra was also having high expectations from Bheema. But Rangbhoomi was opened for other candidates as well. During this time of celebration, the chances of an attack from the army of Rahu & Ketu posed a bigger threat, which had put Anjaneyasena on high alert. On top of that, Vajra & his wife were expecting another child (Dheeish), and people around had great hope from that child as well. Do read the book to know what happened during Utsav.

I haven't repeated blurb by giving the name of clans & history of Gada. I have given minimal glimpses of the story and concealed spoilers at the best. Coming to the writing style, it is a smooth fast-paced story with easy language usage. An ideal read for fantasy lovers. Even a Beginner can enjoy the book.

Characters of the book are well planned. I would say the author could have used less number of characters or tribes for a short book like this. Having said that, I don't mean you will find unnecessary characters in the story. A mix of mythology, fantasy & sci-fi is unique and will give you full throttle reading experience. Just don't miss it.

I will give 4 out of 5 to this book.

Book links - Goodreads, Amazon

Sunday, January 12, 2020

HARAPPA: Curse of the Blood River by Vineet Bajpai

I have been seeing this book on the Internet for the last 4 years. I was yearning to read it so badly. We were not able to get our hands on this book series earlier. And if we had bought these books, we might have to postpone reading due to a long list of review requests. Recently we have declined multiple requests as we are being choosy now. So now I am getting enough time for reading. This means I can take long-awaited books, and Harappa is the front runner in the queue.

The story of Harappa runs in two parallel. One in current time 2017 and another in 1700 BC (of course in Harappa metropolis). So it would be obvious we will have two protagonists. The protagonist of the current time is Vidyut and Harappa's time is Vivasan Pujari. Both are considered and worshiped as half-human & half god. In 1700 BC when Vivasan was about to become a head priest one of the highest titles of Aryavarta, a sinister plan was being hatched by the wife of Vivasan's brother-in-law's wife. Things became sinister as plan rolled into the action. To add the complexity in the situation river Saraswati (called Maa Saaraa by people of Harappa) was coming to Harappa with never heard of the flood. In recent times, Vidyut a well established digital age entrepreneur got a call from Purohit Ji (a person who had raised Vidyut). Vidyut went to Kashi to meet his dying grandfather Dwarka Shashtri Ji. This incident rolled the dies for a great war. And dark forces came into the action. Read the book to know more.

I am glad I got a chance to read this book. The book has matched my expectations exactly. I thoroughly enjoyed the book. Starting from the first page to the last one I kept swiping pages (I was reading on Kindle so - swiping) Writing style is a mix of action, thriller, suspense, drama & fantasy. All these ingredients were mixed with historical facts to make a perfect Indian recipe. Well, I don't mind agreeing with the author's Idea of British propaganda of holding back Indian history, possibilities are high that this might have happened. This has created a bug of curiosity in me to check any literature or documentary available on these controversies or not.

Coming to plot visualization, Vineet has done a fantastic job. He has knitted wonderful characters in both timelines around a plot to grip his readers. As I have read in social media rights for the movie production for this series are sold and maybe Hritik Roshan will play the lead role. I am anticipating that we can see tall, muscular Hritik as Vivasan & Vidyut.

A perfect read for vacation, holiday, work or any free time. Because if you read it while work is going on, you may not be able to concentrate on your work properly. :)

1. Cover - 3.5/5
2. Concept - 5/5
3. Content - 4.5/5
4. Characters - 4.75/5
5. Overall - 5/5

Book links - Goodreads, Amazon & Flipkart

Friday, January 10, 2020

Book Review - Saraswati's Intelligence - The Kishkindha Chronicles 1

We bookworms are unpredictable, at the time we wanted to read a certain book so much that we spent too much time & money after a book. And some of those books didn't get a chance to get read by us for the next few months or years. One such book was "Saraswati's Intelligence". I had this book for almost 3-4 years, the book belongs to one of my favorite genres of Indian Mythological / Historical fiction. But somehow it reached a place called shelved. Once it reached there I didn't see it till last summer. With guilt feeling, I promised the book that it will be finished by winters. Luckily when I got my Kindle Unlimited membership, it was one of the books that got my interest. As I was having hardcopy but not able to give proper justice, I decided to finish it on Kindle. And now I regret why I have not read it earlier.

You may have read many versions of Ramayana, in some, you will find Ram as a hero where in some you will find Ravana as a hero. You may have read books dedicated to Hanumana, Sugriva or even Vali. But Saraswati has brought a completely new perspective. The story started with Kishkindha (shown as the whole Bharat Varsha) kingdom, which was dominated by Animals, mainly Monkeys, Elephants, etc. They have their languages and can communicate with other animals. Remember there is no sign of men when the story started. Hanuman is our protagonist, who belonged to one of the strongest monkey clan in Kishkindha. His father Kesari was king & Riksharaja (mother of Vali & Sugriva) was queen. All these clans were strictly following Param Dharma, which was broken when Sugreeva met an accident. Laws were so strict that even the son of Queen or King couldn't be barred from it. They went to a Rishi (again a Monkey race) called Vishwamitra, who took them towards north from where Vishwamitra found some troubling signs. He took the help of Elephant clan and reached the point which could have been the root cause of these signs. What they found was so violent & ruthless that they had to break their years of the vow of nonviolence. Read the book to know more.

Talking about the pace, the book started at a slow pace. Later on, it shifted to a medium pace. The pace increased during the war. Later on, it was adjusted back to medium. The book started with cryptic ways, an accident of Sugreeva & usage of "Aparachara" was confusing initially. Later on, it got cleared. I advise you to have patience and keep faith in the story, it will reveal you confusing portions. It happened to me. But I am so awestruck by the imagination of the author that I kept turning pages after pages. The book is full of wonderful life-changing, motivation quotations, conversation & examples. The way animal and their harmony are showed it make us think about what we are doing on the earth in the name of living.

I would say all mythological book lovers must read this book at least once. I don't want to give away the biggest secret but read it and know who is the biggest threat to nature in ancient times & even in the current era.

Rating wise
  1. Cover - 5/5
  2. Concept - 5/5
  3. Characters - 4/5
  4. Content - 4/5
  5. Overall - 4/5
Book links - Goodreads, Amazon & Flipkart

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Book review - Kaalkoot by S. Venkatesh

Many of the book bloggers have praised "Kaalkoot" and I was fascinated by the readership that attracted it has attracted. Unfortunately, I was not able to get a review copy of the book. Well, we were not disappointed as we had our hands full of other books. Last month when we got Kindle Unlimited, we started with our longlist wishlist of books, Kaalkoot was in top position and we read it in the first month of our KU. Yes, it is not a review read but rather a choice read.

I am not sure which part of the plot should I give as any of them can be a spoiler. To give my reader crux, I can say that the Indian Intelligence force (anti-conspiracy group) came to know multiple underground warlords/dictators/ganglords were visited in India. So ACG asked one of their best resources, Damini, to chase the trail, she is one of the protagonists of the story. On another side somewhere in Kolkata, a professor received a call from a guy who just returned from Himalayan Trek. This professor along with his friend are looking for a long lost treasure (hidden by a mysterious person a few decades back). Multiple assassinations and kidnapping happened in a short time, which had brought another protagonist, Sam, whose girlfriend was also kidnapped. Will these two protagonists able to find out how things were linked? Check out the book to know more about what is Kaalkoot and a hidden secret.

The plot design is just great, starting from the first page to the last page I was in a rollercoaster of thrill, suspense & excitement. The tempo of the pace & excitement was not gone down even for a moment. I just gulped down the book in 3 days (I was damn busy in those 3 days still got time). If I had been traveling or got free time, I would have finished it in half a day. The language used is easy to follow and good for most of the age group. Linking of clues, plots & characters were fantastic. Though few bits here and there, it was a complete combo of delight. I recommend this book to every action/thriller reader. Timing in climax and results were somewhat ambiguous but I cannot discuss here.

Talking about ratings
  1. Cover - 4/5
  2. Concept - 3.5/5
  3. Character - 3.75/5
  4. Content - 4/5
  5. Overall - 3.75/5
Book links - Goodreads, Amazon & Flipkart

Sunday, January 5, 2020

Book Review - Made in China by Parinda Joshi

We have watched "Made in China" before reading the book. I know for a bookworm like us the ritual is a book first then Adaption (movie/series). You may not believe that's the only reason we haven't watched Game of throne. The only exception is Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings. Coming. Back to MIC, here book was released after the movie so even if we wanted we had to wait for the book to release. So we went ahead. Before we move ahead I would like to congratulate Parinda Joshi for converting her book in the movie especially in India where movies are adapted from everywhere except books. 

Book Blurb
Raghu Mehta is a desperate man. His handicraft imports business has unexpectedly collapsed and cash is drying out quickly, his wife thinks he is a loser and society considers him irrelevant. Meanwhile, his closest friends and family all seem to be running flourishing businesses and living luxurious lives in Surat, the diamond capital of India.
A trip to China to scout for a new consumer goods business offers a glimmer of hope. But Raghu instead gets sucked into the black-market trade in the back alleys of Beijing. Everything about this new opportunity goes against his god-fearing, vegetarian, middle-class mindset - can he quash his natural instincts to make a success of it?
Darkly comical, 'Made in China' is a soul-stirring and thrilling entrepreneurial journey of a man willing to do anything he can to make it big.
The book covers the story of Raghu who was of never die attitude. The entrepreneurship was flowing in his blood, even after multiple failed ideas, he dreamed of one successful click. He got his chance when he went to China, during that time he met a true inspirational angel investor. He came back to India with an idea, but his idea required an expert. That where Doctor Vardhi came into the story and rest is a funny journey to the last page. Read the book to know more.

What we saw lacking in the movie was covered in the book. My thirst to know more about Raghu was satisfied. 

The writing style was simple. I found the flow of the story sluggish at places. The character of Raghu took a major platform then comes Vardhi & Radhu's wife. A combination of black humor and reality have created a good entertainment.

I will give 4/5 to "Made in China".

Book Links - Goodreads, Amazon & Flipkart

Monday, December 30, 2019

Book reviews - The Treasure Syndicate

"The Treasure Syndicate" by Jatin Kuberkar was the first thing I saw when I received a monthly book summary from DDS. I dived deep and found out that the book is based on a treasure hunt with a unique concept. So I inquired more to DDS, she strongly recommended me to go for it. I bought it on Amazon at a great deal price. I should have started it as soon as I received but due to Diwali and health issues, three pan was postponed. Before 2020 starts I am putting my review as a new year gift to the author who conceptualized this book.

As the name suggests Treasure Syndicate is the story of how a group of 5 met and conducted a treasure hunt. But if you are expecting something like a treasure hunt of National Treasure types Movie, then no, it's a different style. The Syndicate here is a dedicated group lead by one of them known as Leader/guide (claimed to be a direct decedent of Suka the son of Kubera). In our story he is Acharya, an astrologer, a Vastu expert, he had helped his father in finding 3 treasures in the past. But the first mission he led as a guide was a failure and he lost his son & daughter-in-law in that mission. Almost for 10 years, he stayed dormant as a guide. But things changed when he visited a house in Patthar Galli. He hoped to conduct one last successful mission as a guide. He took in two newcomers in his syndicate. New members came with their minds & doubts. Along with the mission, Acharyaji had a new responsibility to answer new members' questions and win their trust.

Good points about the book
1) Easy language usage
2) Nice character connection. 
3) A new concept to read
4) The author has used various references to site excavation done in the last 100 years

The pace of the book is medium at places. Interest quotient was set high at some places but comes down at many places, which has affected overall reading experience.

I will give 4 out of 5 stars to the book.

Book links - Goodreads, Amazon & Flipkart

Friday, December 27, 2019

Nice book on Parenting - Raising a True Winner by Tanuja Sodhi

Parenting is one of the toughest jobs especially when your generation Z kids stay active. In age nuclear families and single or at max two kids these days stay super active as they don't get much physical activity to do with. I always keep looking for activities that I can give to my 5-year-old. The last book I read on parenting was "Super Child", it was so awesome I made my mind to read one such book every few months. 

The book touches almost all aspects of parenting: emotional, social, nutritional, character building, physical & life skills. Today's child won't listen to just advice. Children follow us or our examples. So the content covers why each topic is important, how to make our children practice these advises, how to formulate exercise or game or activity for kids so that they don't feel like following advises. Many such wonderful tips are covered in the book. I like the section where the author has mentioned daily chores that we should ask our kids to do on their own. I have seen many kids especially boys who can't do a simple thing like ironing a shirt, warming up food, sweeping. These are overly protected & dependent kids who sometimes break down when meeting difficult times. So the author is right about it. A must-read for new generation parents.

The writing style is smooth. You will find the most practical advice with steps to follow. You won't be bored with all psychological reasoning. The author has written for normal parents who understand layman's explanation and guidance. I liked those sections which tell us what activities we can give to our kids suitable to their age group. We have thought of start giving a few daily chores to our 5-year-old. Let's see how our kid responds.

The book is written with Simple language usage for a wider audience. I would give 4 out of 5 to this book.

Book links - Goodreads, Amazon & Flipkart