Friday, July 12, 2019

The Body Nirvana - More Than Just a Weight-loss Book by Garima Gupta

I have read "Let your kid learn to loose" by Garima Gupta. I was thoroughly impressed by the idea. Well, the content of the book was very short as the book turned out as just a booklet or pamphlet-sized. So when I saw "The Body Nirvana" by the same author, I checked other's reviews and book size. The book turned out as a full size 230 pages long, so I thought of investing my efforts in the book. I would like to thank Garima to provide the book in exchange for an honest review.

Book Blurb
Winner of The International Book Awards, 2019 The body listens, remembers and speaks to us. We receive the body's messages all the time, although we seldom recognize them. Our body expresses its unmet needs and calls for attention in many ways. And so it is with weight. This is a puzzling matter only because some pieces of the puzzle are not in the box you were handed. Your weight is not a body issue. Excess weight is really a multi-dimensional problem showing up as an oversized body. Popular media is still full of diet and exercise advice that is based on sacrifice and punishment. Too few books use this research to show how weight can be reduced in a happier and healthier way. The Body Nirvana is about gradually letting go of everything that literally and metaphorically weighs you down. It is time to rejoice in your body's vitality and its capacity to take you towards your life's goals!
Talking about the content, I loved the book the moment I read the first chapter which shows 14-15 facts that affect our body and weight. The author has taken a straight approach and showed us our misconceptions. I was so into the book that from parallel read, the book became single read. These eye-opening facts followed by 3-4 chapters where the author has shown us ways to bring positive attitude towards weight loss. Each of these chapters covers activities where the author has shown us what small-small changes needed in our lives, behaviors, habits, and attitude. Along with that, she has talked about "Mind Game". These are the excuses we give for not working towards a healthy life. Later chapters talk more on mental and psychological levels to bring overall positiveness towards weight loss concept. Read the book to know more.

I would say whether you are fat or thin, whether you are looking for weight gain or weight loss you must read this book once. The way the author has shared topics I started feeling positive even though I have extra pounds around my belly. 

Good points about the book
  • Novel concept. No doubt about the novelty.
  • Scientific support of content
  • Full with activities to apply these concepts
  • Myth breaker
  • Good/humourous artwork at the beginning of each chapter
  • Ample use of quotations
  • Easy language and to the point
  • Not much theory. Full of examples. 
  1. Cover - 3.5/5
  2. Concept - 4.5/5
  3. Content - 4.25/5
  4. Overall - 4.25/5
Book can be found at Amazon & Flipkart
Review from other readers can be found at GoodReads

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

A Must Read - Malhaar/मल्हार: Sangram Sindhu Gatha - Part 2

A must-read.

Almost one and a half hear back I have read and reviewed "Arthala" by Vivek Kumar. At that time I have read only 3-4 Hindi novels and I found writing of Vivek better than those books I have read. I was thoroughly impressed by the "Arthala" and its complete fantasy world. Today when I have finished the second book in "Sangram Sindu Gatha" - Malhar, I am confident that book can give good competition to Amish Tripathi Meluha's Hindi translation, as no other current Hindi books in this genre are competent enough. I would like to thank Vivek for providing review copy in exchange for an honest review, else I wouldn't have been aware of such a hidden gem. Those who didn't find Hindi novels as good as English must-see/check this book.

Book Blurb
‘मल्हार’ की कहानी ठीक वहीं से प्रारंभ होती है, जहाँ प्रथम भाग की समाप्ति हुई थी। दूसरा भाग असुर देश, मुंद्रा, सौराष्ट्र तथा ऊसर की रोमांचक यात्रा करते हुए आगे बढ़ता है, और कई नई घटनाओं के माध्यम से अर्थला के कल्पनातीत संसार को विस्तारित भी करता जाता है। संग्राम-सिंधु गाथा का यह खंड असुरों के व्यापार, उनकी राजनैतिक स्थिति और आगामी युद्ध में उनकी भूमिका के पीछे के कारणों पर प्रकाश डालेगा। अकल्पित युग की यात्रा जारी है|
The first part Arthala was finished with Vidhan and Dhananjaya successfully obtaining Kundala's from Danava nation (Santhar). From that point, the second part is resumed. Vidhan fainted on the border of Santhar near Danubans patch, from there they were rescued by mysterious Siddhidharak (Super Power). On returning to Arthala Dhananjaya started working on strategies to avoid a clash with Santhar. On the other hand, Dakshan new ruler of Santhar wanted to take control of Bharat Varsha, so he was also working in the line of his goals. These known characters of Arthala makes only 25% of the second part. In Malhar, completely new territory and relations were revealed. Malhar was the part of Kanji Pradesh controlled by Asura clan. Half of the book is written in and around characters that belonged to the Asura nation. This part shows the political and economic situation of the country. The kingdom was in turmoil. It shows how the trading community (mainly two groups) had handled the whole country indirectly. Along with that, this book has also revealed more "Siddhidharak" and created curiosity to know further. The book is finished in such a high tempo that I wish I had read when the next part will be with me.

Coming to writing style, when you are writing a series author has to cultivate multiple characters, plots, and subplots. Without which the series becomes dull. The first part was majorly dedicated to Vidhan but the second shows other important characters as well. There are more than 5-6 subplots and 7-8 important characters in series now. With these complexities, you have multiple fronts to guess what will happen next. 

Good points about the book
  • Good narration style. Juggling between plots and characters was optimum
  • Balanced suspense and thrill 
  • Proper characterization of newly introduced characters
  • The mix of super power, war & political fiction
  • A light read for the general age group with easy to follow language usage.
Talking about ratings
  1. Cover - 4/5
  2. Characters - 4.5/5
  3. Concept - 4.5/5
  4. Overall - 4.5/5
Book can be found at Amazon & Flipkart
Review from other readers can be found at GoodReads

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Book Review - Joy in Coorg by Tilak Ponappa

When you go for shopping there are always a few things come to you which you pick up whether you actually need it or not. Same way for bookworms they always find books they want it whether they have enough books to read or not. A painted drawing of two guys playing hockey one of which is a middle-aged guy with pot-bellied got my attention. I didn't even check the blurb, I simply picked up the book. And I am happy that I got "Joy in Coorg".

Book Blurb
Joyappa…considered falling to the ground and feigning a heart attack to get out of trouble. But he couldn’t quite remember if the heart was located on the left or right of one’s chest—so he dropped the idea. Set in the little district of Coorg (Kodagu) in Karnataka, Joy in Coorg is a story of the rollicking adventures of Joyappa in the scenic hills of India’s Western Ghats. Joyappa (Joy for short) is a former college hockey star who, though a coffee planter now, has lost none of his youthful spunk, and revels in pursuits his wife finds decidedly juvenile. He enjoys spending time with his college pals, negotiating various hazards that range from his wife’s snooty friends to wild animals and even wilder humans! As he stumbles through hilarious situations, Joyappa tries, with limited success, to walk a fine line between having a good time and staying in his wife’s good books.
In his quaint, rustic style, Tilak Ponappa manages to create an unforgettable setting of incandescent beauty and memorable characters that are funny, charming and sweet—all at the same time. You will laugh, you will wish to join Joy and his gang, and you might even want to move to Coorg by the time the last page is turned!
Coming to the story part, our protagonist is Joyappa (Joy) a middle-aged free-willed guy married and having two kids (studying in day boarding). He owns a coffee estate and is happy with his life. Unlike other novels which center upon a theme or plot the story of this book is 2-3 years of the carefree life of Joy with multiple short incidents. Joy's wife is Susheela who wanted to bring class and status in Joy day-to-day life along with health. She wants Joy to be in good shape and health and Joy will find every opportunity to gulp down the food of his liking. His adventures with his friends (Chomu and Charlie) shows his innocence and efforts to relive his carefree college days. Joy's visit to his in-law reminds you how son-in-law treated when they were considered not up to the mark of their spouse.
I read 10 pages of the book daily to get the boost of fun and entertainment. This book is not some serious booker priced content, but it will make you enjoy it for sure. I felt like watching a Sarabhai vs Sarabhai series where oy is Indravadan (Satish Shah) and Susheela is Maya when their son was yet to get married. If you read the book you can relate characters as well. So with each incident, I was getting feeling of watching a new episode in the series. If you are reading this book in public then you may need to control your laughter to avoid getting stares.

Good points about the book
  • Very light read
  • Face paced book. You may finish it within a day
  • Easy to cope up the language even beginners can take it.
  • Wonderful characterization. 
  • Good for any age
  • Funfilled story with a balanced storyline
My favorite incidents
  • Joy's hockey match and cheerleaders reaction
  • Charlie's visit to girl's house
  • Charlie's visit to a beauty parlor
  • Dog's incident at Joy's in-law
  • Dog's incident when Joy's in-law visited him
  • Joy's trekking with Susheela & her friends
Read the book to know more. Ratings
  1. Cover - 4.5/5
  2. Concept - 3.75/5
  3. Characters - 4/5
  4. Concent - 4/5 (I need part 2 as well)
  5. Overall - 4/5
Book can be found at Amazon & Flipkart
Review from other readers can be found at GoodReads

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Book Review - Scepters of Empyrea: A Journey to the Andromeda Galaxy by Vignesh Ravichandran

I have seen this book first time on Amazon in their suggestions. Later on, I saw this book's review by DDS' on b00kreviews and that made me more curious. So the book reached to our wishlist I would like to thank DDS for coordination and arranging the review copy in exchange for an honest review. I have received this book in the first week of April. And I have done reading the book by end of the April, but unfortunately during May vacations (yes we get 21 days of paid vacation in May). I forgot to update the review of the book. So I would like to apologize to the author and DDS for delaying the review.

Book Blurb
Empyrea, an island in the Andromeda galaxy belonging to planet Vathura is serene. Everywhere your eyes turn, you will feast on the lovely birds singing their heart out in the lush green vegetation. Osiris Mysterio ruled the regions of Empyrea with his brother Tyrant Seth and with their children Pitheceus Babi, Kraity Wadjet, and Horus Mysterio.
5000 years ago, the ancient Egyptians were the only humans to receive the invitation to enter Empyrea. They gladly on-boarded into a Pegasus chariot and took their journey to Empyrea. Their journey is indescribable. Empyrea by itself was like a fairy-tale garden, an ocean of flowers and exotic trees. 
Talking about the review, let's take storyline first. The story started with excavator restoring and clearing Pyramids and items within. During which she came upon interesting sets of scrolls. These scrolls talked about the link between ancient Egypt and Planet Vathura (and its island Empyrea). Then the story goes back and past & present. The things excavated from Pyramid were stolen by a thief. This is where action and thriller enter the story when thief solved the puzzle found in stolen materials which open portal to planet Vathura. Things became interesting when this guy found Scepter which can grant unparalleled powers to its wielders. Check out the book to know more.

There are some points of improvements that I would like to discuss first
  • Font size - I think if you have written a lengthy book then split it into volumes or publish it as one, but don't decrease font size to this level. I had to literally train my mind to read such small text with little line spacing.
  • As long as the story continues with the environment or setting it is okay. But don't overdo it. At some places, I found surrounding information in excess.
Coming to positive points
  • You might have seen Ravana movie (Abhishek & Aishwarya starring) which is remembered for its awesome cinematography. The same way you will remember this book for its illustrious surrounding descriptions.
  • A true fantasy genre book. It contains aliens, past, future, space travel, black and white magic, animals, dinosaurs, etc.
  • Light read and fast-paced story. You will keep turning pages once tempo sets (which is true for 70% of the book)
  • Nice colorful cover design.
Overall nice read. Ratings
  1. Cover - 4.25/5
  2. Concept - 4/5
  3. Content - 3/5
  4. Characters - 3.5/5
  5. Overall - 3.75/5
Book can be found at Amazon
Review from other readers can be found at GoodReads

Monday, July 1, 2019

Book Review - How to Finish Everything You Start by Jan Yager

No matter who you are, where you are and at which place/position you reached. There must be at least one thing in your mind or past which you had started or want to start which never happened or finished. Before reading this book I was mostly blaming situations/circumstances. I always thought "if that had not happened I would have achieved this" When I first saw this book, its title got my attention and I picked it up instantly. Maybe many of you have found cover dull or simple but I think it must have been kept that way intentionally.

Book Blurb
Habits to transform your life how to finish everything you start is just the book you need to get more done! This book will help you in understanding the causes of the unfinished epidemic, its cures, and when choosing not to finish something is okay. By focusing on this one key issue that is sabotaging so many today in their quest to be more productive at work, and to have a more satisfying personal life, you are more likely to: understand what is behind your occasional or chronic reluctance to finish apply the authors unique brf-i-n-i-s-h systematic approach to get more done complete priority projects or tasks be more confident if you do put something aside it is for the right reasons and lots more
The content design of the book is nice. The author has started with examples (classing ones) like publishing a book, exercising, new project, etc which is relevant to many of us. From that author takes us to 22 reasons why the thing is the way which prevents us from achieving what we started for. This chapter along with the next 3 chapters are sectioned together under "Cause" by the author where she has explained mental, physical and psychological aspects of various reasons. Once that is discussed she takes us towards the "Cure" section which starts with "F-I-N-I-S-H" approach.

She has also shared other good practices for better goal achievements. At the end of Cure section, she has given an example and step by step application of points discussion till that point in the book. The last section discusses things to ponder upon. Read the book to know more.

Good points about the book
  1. Ample of relevant examples
  2. Simple language usage.
  3. Topics are divided into micro-categories for example 22 reasons
  4. Proper space provided for the exercise
  5. You can read it as a textbook as a self-help book or just an informative book
  6. A catchy title and simple cover design
Those who think they are not getting enough time to finish their unfinished tasks must read this book. I am giving 4.5 stars out of 5 to this wonderful book.

Book can be found at Amazon & Flipkart
Review from other readers can be found at GoodReads

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Book Review - Didda: The Warrior Queen of Kashmir

Today if you speak word Kashmir all you hear would be terrorism, violence, and POK. The place has already lost its status of "Swarg - Heaver on the Earth" or "Switzerland of India". But what was the situation of Kashmir before British rule or even before that? Slowly that history is eroding from our mind. Ashish Kaul has brought a wonderful character from the pages of the past and shown us a warrior queen of the Kashmir Didda. I didn't think for once to decide whether to review it or not, as I have already made my mind to read it.

Book Blurb
A girl abandoned by her parents. A disabled princess who fights all odds to become the most feared warrior queen. A woman almost forced into Sati by her trusted prime Minister. A mother whose son brands her as a witch. This is the story of Rani Didda, the forgotten Hindu queen of undivided Kashmir. History is often unkind and cruel to women, especially women who wield power. Trampled by Wars and religious crusades, lies hidden the story of a glorious woman who was considered a harbinger of bad times when she was born but went on to become a legendary warriors saviour of Srinagar, the capital city of Kashmir. Didda: the warrior queen of Kashmir is the untold story of a woman’s rise to power during the tenth century. The legend of Didda is entwined with a life of solitary struggles against prejudice and patriarchy. She eventually went on to rule the unified Kashmir encompassing the lohar kingdom and Kashmir for a period of forty-four years, taking it to glorious heights and making it the most powerful kingdom in mediaeval Asia. The foundation laid by Didda helped Kashmir defeat the dreaded warlord Mahmud of ghaznavi twice.
Didda is our central character. She became cripple in her childhood (maybe due to Polio) and became the least favorite/wanted member of her family. In spite of that the fighting spirit of Didda and bravery, intelligence combo in her trait made her pass the sea of problems. After much efforts, she was married off to an addict King of Kashmir. When Didda came to Kashmir she saw a dilapidated kingdom, which needed a kind nurturer. With the help of her husband, she got control over the kingdom. When she lost her husband she revolted against Prime Minister & traditions and got herself out of Sati tradition. From then on she ruled Kashmir with an iron clad till his own son under influence of his wife asked Didda to step down. Read the book to know how she came back to rule and tried to steer the kingdom from a tough time.

The jewel of the story is the way Didda flow from one situation/place/role to another. Each situation demanded different expectations and she fought through them. I found her as a role model for today's women instead of modern ones who think wearing cloth of their choice and behaving like men are women empowering. (But that's a myth.) A must read on women hero from the history of India.

Good points about the book
  • Nice characterizations.
  • Each language usage
  • Moderate in size and length
Talking about ratings
  1. Cover - 4.5/5
  2. Concept - 4/5
  3. Characterization - 4.5/5
  4. Overall - 4.5/5
Book can be found at Amazon & Flipkart
Review from other readers can be found at GoodReads

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Book Review - Around the World in 80 Cocktails by Chad Parkhill

A colorful cover and a catchy title got my attention when I saw this book the first time. I have seen titles like "Around the world in 80 days", "Around the world in 80 trains", "Around the world in 80 Dates" but 80 cocktails. That was completely new for me. So curiosity built up inside me. I like to try various combinations of mocktails at home, so when I saw this book, I actually saw it as an opportunity to try 80 new drinks. I expected it as a normal recipe book but it turned out as a complete surprise for me. I was flat by its artwork.

Book Blurb
Around the World in 80 Cocktails celebrates the globetrotting history of the cocktail through eighty different iconic drinks – each of which has its own story to tell. Bartender and writer Chad Parkhill takes you on a whirlwind tour of the places that have shaped the history of the cocktail from its birth to the present day, with recipes so you can follow along at home.
You'll learn about the surprising military history behind the bubbly, vivacious Venetian Spritz; how the G&T moved from India to England (and why the best in the world are now made in Spain); and how France's Burgundy region turned tragedy into triumph with the Kir. Accompanied by gorgeous vintage-style illustrations that evoke antique travel posters, these stories and recipes are an ode to the joys of travel, history, and drinking.
Coming to the text content, as the title suggests the book discusses 80 well-known cocktails from various cultures & countries. Each cocktail is dedicated to a chapter, which covered history or basic facts about that drink. It also covers recipes and ingredients required for that cocktail. If you love booze you will enjoy these drinks, but if you are a nonalcoholic (nondrinker) you may substitute flavored soft drink and convert it to a tasty mocktail. I tried a few you may also. Check out the book to know more.

Those who are not aware:
A cocktail is an alcoholic drink.
A mocktail is a nonalcoholic drink
Let's take a review of artwork. This is I am discussing specifically. The beauty of the book is the artwork. The illustrator Alice Oehr has given wonderful depictions of each cocktail along with the culture or place it belongs to. The culture is visible in the background of each chapter.

Good points
  • A perfect combination of art & culture
  • Light in nature,. If you like a chapter read it, if you don't, skip it.
  • The recipe described are easy to try
  • You can use it for a showcase or as a coffee table book
  • Good quality of pages and graphics
In and all, I liked it. And yes I am giving 5 stars to art and 4.5 stars to the book.

Book can be found at Amazon & Flipkart
Review from other readers can be found at GoodReads