Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Mermaids Are Real: The Mystiq Prong by Bo Wu

When I saw "Mermaids Are Real: The Mystiq Prong" by Bo Wu on Vishnu Chevli's account it instantly caught my attention. I was about to ask him to lend me the copy, and I got a message from him whether I can take the book or not.


Book Blurb
“'Crabs talk?' asked Benji. 

'Everything in nature speaks. Not everything in nature listens,' said Octavius nodding Topside." 
Benji Fisher has spent the first twelve years of his life growing up in a small fishing town, Topside. He’s gotten used to the gang of dolphins who follow him on his surfboard and the voices he hears under the water; odd things that have, in their repetition, become part of normal everyday life. 
However, none of that prepares him for the recruitment speech he gets from an octopus named Octavius and three of the dolphins the night before his thirteenth birthday. 
What would you do if your ‘calling’ in life required you to take a leap/dive of faith? Would you take the plunge? 
First, I would like to talk about the cover and the title of this book. When I first read the title, in my head in the background grand drumrolls were going on and I could fantasy an epic mermaid land. After reading this book I can say I was totally satisfied.

The story is about a guy called Benji who lived his normal life with his father Joe. But slowly he realized that he was not so normal as he could talk to animals and fish and could read other people's mind. One day an octopus and two dolphins came telling him that he was an Aquarian which in this book means all the creatures lives in the ocean including mermaids. He was not just any mermaid but last of Mystiq mermaids who could live both on topside ( which is the Book's term for the human world ) and in the acquari. Later he found out that his actual parents died in the fight with Donquarian where Gouguon killed his parents. The fight was about the pollution in the ocean by topsiders. Their thirst didn't stop at Benji's parents' killing but they wanted Benji as well. What will happen to Benji? Read the book to find out.

The book was written neatly. When I was reading the book I felt like I was in another fantasy world, there are many twists and turns in between which makes it more interesting. It felt like I was watching barbie mermaid which is a really cool thing. I love how in this book various aspects are referred to in the book. My only complaint of this book is that the story was a bit predictable for me. Well, the narration style has made it entertaining. What I liked the most about this book is that it holds a social message to control the pollution underwater and the destruction we create for the creatures living inside the ocean.

It was an epic ride to the fantasy world. If you like reading about mystical creatures, mermaids and even like watching barbies this book would be a perfect choice. Ratings
  1. Cover - 4/5
  2. Content - 4/5
  3. Character -4/5
  4. Concept - 3.5/5
  5. Overall - 4/5
The book can be found at Amazon India and Amazon USA
Reviews from other readers can be found at GoodReads

Monday, October 29, 2018

Review of Kavita Devgan's Latest Book - Ultimate Grandmother Hacks: 50 kickass traditional habits for a fitter you

Consider yourself lucky that you get this kind of book to review. Self-help books usually are less preferred on top of that if it's on food and fitness. People avoid such books as long as they are forced to read due to deteriorating health. Kavita Devgan has given us the opportunity to read it when we are hale and healthy. And starting these habits can make our healthy sprint longer. Coming back to my earlier statement why this health book would be interesting? To know the reason reach our review further.


Book Blurb
Traditional eating habits are a delicious roadmap to a happier, healthier, kinder you. Our ancestors have a lot to teach us about hearty eating habits that not only focus on health but also the pleasure that food can bring to our lives.
This book is an amalgamation of many of those old-school ideas that modern nutrition is now trying to catch up with. It is an enticing guide to inculcate time-tested food habits so we can develop a healthy lifestyle and even more importantly, rediscover the enjoyment of food.
Most healthy food books focus more on what not to do and less what to do? (Which is usually against our daily habit.) And frankly speaking, our mind is a devil, when it encounters something with which it is not comfortable it will make it boring. Kavita has brought out what to do more which we might be doing consciously or unconsciously because of habit set by our parents/grandparents. Within those activities which can affect us diversly, Kavita has shown the way how to alter it to our benefits with minimum discomfort. For example, she has insisted to select a better option among, sweets (usually dietician blindly forbade it)

The book contains mini-stories, not actually stories, but some advice that won't take much of our time but can help us tremendously. If you don't have time to read the whole book you can read them along with section discussed next.

Easiest and quickest recipes were given at the end of the book. I have added many of them to my "To-Try" list of recipes, will surely try and add to my regular diet.

Having said that it is a self-help book, so it must insist us to unlearn some of our bad habits and if we want to have a healthy life. We should at least give them a try. A must read and must have book for households & health freaks.

Ratings
  1. Cover - 4.5/5
  2. Content - 4.5/5
  3. Concept - 5/5
  4. Overall - 5/5
The book can be found at Amazon and Flipkart
Reviews from other readers can be found at GoodReads

Book Review "Ashwatthama’s Redemption – The Rise of Dandak" by Gunjan Porwal

It’s been a long time I’ve come across a book that lives up to the expectations of its cover. A ready-to-war Ashwatthama decked in front, resembling Krishna and a colophon that briefs his past and role in the story; the tone was set to be an engaging treat and I wasn’t disappointed.


Book Blurb
Over a hundred years after the Mahabharata War, an ancient power threatens to destroy the new Age of Men, by establishing the Age of Terror of the asuras, long believed to be extinct. the only hurdle in its path is Guru Dronacharya’s son, the mighty but accursed warrior Ashwatthama, who lost all his powers following Lord Krishna’s curse and who unwittingly finds himself drawn into the quest of the lost bow of Lord Rama, the Kodanda. As ghosts of the distant past return to haunt him and the line between friends and enemies blurs, Ashwatthama must fight his inner demons to emerge victorious. He undertakes a perilous journey—across the vast plains of the Ganges, to the snow-capped peaks of the Himavant where the price of failure is a fate worse than death and death is a privilege not granted to Ashwatthama.
Is this all part of Lord Krishna’s great plan? Will Ashwatthama be able to regain his lost glory?
“Ashwatthama’s Redemption” takes place more than a hundred years after the events of Mahabharata Kurukshetra war. A cursed but super powerful demon king Dandak and his wreaking havoc army are on the verge of resurrection. Sudden deaths and suspicious omens force King Vikram and Prince Rana to seek the aid of Ashwatthama and set out on a perilous journey to obtain Lord Rama’s long lost bow “Kodanda” which is powerful enough to stop him.

If there exists perfection in writing a fiction based on Indian historical epics, it’s this book. Gunjan Porwal preserves the details of Kurukshetra war along with the essence of its original characters. The way historical accuracy is maintained throughout the plot and taking creative liberty only when its required is fantastic. Be it the action sequences or the scenic journeys or even the old tales, the author delivers more with the use of a few words.

Whilst the original Mahabharata is written in second person perspective, this novel is written in third person narrative. Ashwatthama as the protagonist on the path of recovery is shown perfectly. With most of the severity of his curse diluted, his struggles to regain his warrior status, his remorse for actions of his past, his vigilance in battles with the supernatural are shown perfectly. There is huge potential in characters of Vikram and Rana, but for now, they end up as support cast. The light love story between Urmila and Rana sometimes misbalances an otherwise well set pace of the story. Raktavija and Vidyut don’t feel that intimidating as villains should, but nevertheless they have their moments.  Dandak feels like Lord Voldemort; everyone fears him and dreads his resurrection. I have a feeling there is more to his character and hope it levels the persona of Ashwatthama.

Personally, I loved the use of original Shlokas from Mahabharta. Not many can detail the true greyness that every character in the original epic had, but the author does it with ease. Janmejaya as a character could had been explored more and given more time in the plot.

In all, Gunjan Porwal delivers a true engaging masterpiece that keeps us gripped throughout the book and makes us eager to await the well deserved sequel.

My overall rating for this enjoyable masterpiece would be 4.5/5

Overall Verdict:- A superb read

The book can be found at Amazon and Flipkart
Reviews from other readers can be found at GoodReads

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Ghost-writer of Jack Dawkins - Terry Ward



Yes, this is me, the author, or should I say, ghost-writer of Jack Dawkins.  I stayed in with him last night!

I’ve had another visit from the Artful Dodger.  You will probably know from watching my YouTube video The Artful Dodger returns-that he has already helped me to promote his life story..

He didn’t stay long, last night.  With a copy of Johnson’s Dictionary tucked under his arm, he simply wanted to know ‘how it was going.’  He made some very astute comments after I told him that it was early days, yet.  He said, ‘The trouble is, there’s no fantasy in it; nor no vampires, and such.  That’s the sort of thing that gets read these days; that, and the unmentionable stuff.  How many shades of grey were there?  Do you know something else, Mr Ward, sir?  People don’t realise how much pleasure they are going to get from reading Jack Dawkins until they start doing it.  At the end, they wonder how I managed to survive it all, but then, so did I at the time.’ ’

After telling me that he had to go because there was a lot to do ‘up there’ before Christmas, Jack simply vanished.  I have a feeling he’ll be back, though.

Our review of this book can be found here- Link

The book can be found at Amazon USA and Amazon India
Reviews from other readers can be found at GoodReads

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Middle Grade Book Review - The Frankenstein Adventures by Bil Richardson

I’m not a big fan of horror and things like Frankenstein but when I saw "The Frankenstein Adventures" by Bil Richardson with the note "Celebrating Frankenstein's 200th Anniversary" and a low price I purchased it.


Book Blurb
This is the story of Frankenstein told from the vantage point of Igor, the bumbling, brave boy who will risk everything to save his master’s flawed creation. Hilarious and heartwarming – this is a book that will make you stand up and cheer one minute and fall down laughing the next. Igor’s heart is in the right place even though parts of his body aren’t. He is a loveable, lopsided fellow who has more courage and strength than any of the adults who look down on him. When things go wrong with his boss’s “experiment,” Igor sees it as his duty to save the day – even though most days he is the one who needs saving. Our hilarious hero has to overcome enormous odds on his mission to rescue the most important achievement in human history – the creation of life. Follow Igor on his amazing adventure to prove that he is more than just a not-so-pretty face. This book is being released in conjunction with the 200th anniversary of the original Frankenstein’s first publication. 
The story is simple. A geeky scientist named Victor Frankenstein lives with his wife & a misshapen boy, Igor. As a scientist, Victor's work is his devotion. He belongs to a family of ill repute and his work has made him an outcast to his village. His life's goal is to create life. After years of experimenting he succeeds but the creation runs away the moment it opens its eyes. Victor and Igor both make the mistake of not following the creation - and that is how misfortune falls upon him. The creation (who later names himself Frank) meets very few good people, and most consider him a monster.  Later he is re-united with his creator. Victor’s life is made more difficult when his old competitor/foe does something sinister. But you’ll have to read the story learn more about that.

The book is written for Middle Grade and I think word selection and language usage is done wisely for the audience. Also, the length of the book is also adequate for the targeted age.

There is a good amount of thrills, action, and adventure in the story, but the author's main focus is to touch human nature and show its good and bad side. Though Frankenstein was created with a criminal's brain he became good due to the good people he met on his journey. And though his counterpart Angfang was created with a Nobel prize winner's brain, he was influenced by a sinister person and became evil. I think such hidden messages are delivered to kids without making them bored because it is such a cute story. 

Ratings
  1. Cover - 3.5/5
  2. Concept - 3.5/5
  3. Characters - 4.5/5
  4. Overall - 4/5
The book can be found at Amazon India and Amazon USA
Reviews from other readers can be found at GoodReads

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Book Review - Change Me - Transform Your Body and Mind by Jasmin Waldmann

Our first impression of the book - Change Me was "Self Help" and we are very-very selective about the book in the self-help genre. When I started seeing reviews on my timeline, I went to Goodreads page and checked the blurb. From there I came to know that my first impression was somewhat wrong. The book is written as fiction with hidden layers of self-help. 


Book Blurb
Amit Malhotra, 35, is a high-flying investment banker who loves his gut and all things gourmet. Amit is living the proverbial good life, which includes a loving family, a successful career and a luxurious life – albeit with a paunch.
When a pretty twenty-something calls him ‘uncle’ by mistake, the young corporate honcho is forced to evaluate his lifestyle. As if that weren’t enough, Amit has to face the harsh realities of his fast-paced life when he loses a close friend and colleague to a fatal heart attack in the middle of a conference.
After this shock to his system, the gym-hating, food-binging couch potato realizes that he will have to change his ways before a heart attack claims him too. But will he be able to accomplish this steep climb?
Change Me captures in detail a common man’s inspiring journey towards holistic fitness with the help of a life coach. Join Amit as he discovers his true being – his mind, body and spirit – and marches towards a healthy, fulfilling future.
Jasmin Waldmann is a renowned life coach and fitness expert. She is the inventor of Pilardio®, a concept that combines Pilates and Cardio, and the developer of JaWa Diet
The story revolves around Amit who is successful in his personal and professional life, so are his friends at age of 35. But things became nightmarish when few of his closed one became a victim of lifestyle and succumbed to a heart ailment. On top of that, Amit's ego was hurt when a young girl called him uncle. When he did self-assessment he realized that while chasing materialistic goal he became addict to lifestyle-related issues. This realization fueled him to improve his health physically and mentally.

Jasmin has done a good job of converting a serious topic of wellbeing self-help into a fiction work. Very few self-help writers understand that there is a need of flow in the book which connects difficult islands of heavy topics/theorems with help of bridge called story. So I would give a clap for her efforts. The language was easy and the flow was straight.

Now coming to hidden part (i.e. self-help) I would like to complain, Jasmin, when you write a book especially self-help, it should have a certain amount of information that can be useful to the reader. I know your Pilardio method of exercise and JaWa diet plan are copyright / patented, if you don't give proper information and just used names & one-liner it will look like marketing brochures and that can affect the overall reading experience.

Apart from that a nice read. Ratings
  1. Cover - 4/5
  2. Content - 2.5/5
  3. Concept - 3.5/5
  4. Overall - 3/5
The book can be found at Amazon and Flipkart

Reviews from other readers can be found at GoodReads

We would like to thank WritersMelon for providing us the review copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

Check out review of Jack Dawkins sequel of Oliver Twist

I was a little bit skeptical about the book "Jack Dawkins" by Terry Ward. As the blurb says what happened to "Jack Dawkins" after Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens. And frankly speaking, I haven't read that classic. Terry Ward has taken the character of Jack and created a completely new world for us. I felt a strong attraction towards book cover while selecting this book, it was giving me feeling of Sherlock Holmes. So I thought of giving benefits of doubt to the book.


Book Blurb
After Oliver Twist intervenes to save Jack Dawkins - the legendary Artful Dodger - from transportation to Botany Bay, Jack embarks on what proves to be a perilous quest to discover his roots. Before he can say 'Fagin!' he's battling to survive a devastating flood and rescue beautiful black-haired, green-eyed Lysette Godden, the girl of his dreams, from the hands of murderous villains. Jack and Lysette, searching for Jack's parents, head to France and have an adventure there which tests their mettle and mutual love to the utmost and changes their lives for ever.
Brilliantly and evocatively written, Jack Dawkins is a worthy sequel to Charles Dickens's immortal masterpiece Oliver Twist.
Hampered by her tendency always to want what she hasn't got and an apparent inability to let go of the past, will Lucy ever find her elusive happy-ever-after? This witty, amusing, highly entertaining and fast-paced novel is sure to make you feel Lucy's dilemma, and warm your heart.

The story is written in Era when Britain was waging war or I would say defending against Napoleon Bonaparte of France. Fagni (a notorious gang leader) was sentenced to death. One of his helping hand was Jack, our protagonist. Jack was ordered to be transported to a remote place and not to come back for the next 10 years. Jack was waiting for his turn to be transported when one of his good deeds came to his help. He got a second chance due to Oliver's help and he was sent to the countryside to join a good man called Godden. Godden daughter had attracted Jack during his stay with them. Being free from clutches, Jack wanted to trace his mother and father. But things didn't go smooth, a dark past of Jack had attracted dark people in his current. Read the book to know more.

It is not easy to write a book in the historical timeline when you write something in your timeline, you are actually living it. You know language usages, slags, the price of stuff, culture and much more. But writing it in timeline more than 200 years, you need to recreate them with proper research otherwise it will come out as flawed. Thankfully Terry has done wonderful work in all such aspects. You can imagine yourself in the 1800s' when you will read the chapters.

Coming to language, it is a simple first-person (Jack) narration style in the present tense. 250+ pages book is tightly coupled to the to-the-point story. You won't find a single paragraph out of the context. Language usage is also straight and simple. Even middle grader can easily read the book.

This book has everything that a person wants - humor, satire, action, love story and mystery. A medium paced book, one can take during travel. I finished it in 3-4 sittings. Those who love to read classic or historical era book that this could definitely entertain them.

Ratings
  1. Cover - 4/5
  2. Concept - 4/5
  3. Characters - 4.5/5
  4. Overall - 4.5/5
The book can be found at Amazon USA and Amazon India
Reviews from other readers can be found at GoodReads

Friday, October 19, 2018

Meet Joe English Writer of - A Place Called Schugara

Recently we have reviewed a wonderful book called "A Place Called Schugara" by Joe English. We have Joe with us to talk more about the same book. Those who have missed the review can check here - Review Link 

Tell us a little about yourself and what got you into writing?
In his poem, “Lovliest of trees,” A. E. Housman wrote,
Now, of my three score years and ten,
Twenty will not come again,
And, since for watching things in bloom,
Fifty years is little room,
About the woodlands I will go
To see the cherry hung with snow.

Well, I’m now entering my seventy-fifty year. I understand that this is OLD. Doesn’t register much, however. I have led an interesting life, raised as a child in Mexico City, Mexico, though I am a North American of mongrel European descent. I have lived my entire adult life in Black America. Like my age, my skin color is something I know to be what it is, but, again, doesn’t register much. I believe the most important rule of writing is having something to say. I am disappointed that so many of the dreams of my young adulthood–the inspiring sixties, in particular, have gotten detoured.  How is it that we take residential racial segregation as the norm? That we have adjusted our entire society to its continuation? Why are white folks, for the most part, so clueless when it comes to the Black experience? So… I write about what I know, what I have lived for close to half a century.
Do you have a favourite time and place where you write?
Early mornings. Anywhere quiet. Good sunlight.
Where do your ideas come from?
My themes come from all around me, from everywhere, if my eyes are open and mind aware, of my immediate surroundings as well as the world at large. Is ours a nation that intentionally separates families and brags about it? That’ll show them. That’ll each them. A nation that incarcerates millions of our fellow citizens for the slightest of offenses while letting perpetrators of major crimes off either scot-free or with a slap on the wrist?
Do you have a plan in your head of where the story is going before you start writing or do you let it carry you along as you go?
Both. The plot is a clothesline on which to pin ideas, thoughts, themes. People tend to wander in. Characters, an unruly bunch, try to monopolize.
What genre are your books and what drew you to that genre?
Literary fiction. There is no reason to destroy forests so that banal ideas, titillation, tripe, and stupidy go on and on. Have something to say and say it well. Razzle-dazzle ’em with an unusual pairing of words, a deft pirouette of phrase, some word blendings to dance like a firefly.
What dream cast would you like to see playing the characters in your latest book?
I would intentionally want unknown and struggling actors to play the major roles. I could see John Candy as Albert Sidney McNab except for the lamentable reality that John Candy is no longer with us. Morgan Freeman for Zero Washington Roosevelt Lincoln. Daniel Katuuya for Schugay.
Do you read much and if so who are your favourite authors?
I read all the time. Mucho. Frank Norris.Chinua Achebe. John Steinbeck. Fitzgerald. Barbara Kingsolver.
What book/s are you reading at present?
Birds Without Wings. The Undoing Project. I just finished a biography of Woodrow Wilson, hypocrite extraordinaire, by Patricia O’Toole, The Moralist.
What is your favourite book and why?
Can’t pick one. The Poisonwood Bible. Things Fall Apart. Giovanni’s Room. All have something to say. All say it well.

Recent disappointments: Beautiful Ruins (stupid; dishonest; cheap:  the author, in the third person talking to me, as reader, lies)
A Gentleman in Moscow [yeah, a revolution was taking place; starvation widespread, state terrorism taking over: really?)
What advice would you give for someone thinking about becoming a writer?
Do not have children. Live simply. Pay attention. Do not get stuck in the rat race.  Seek the unknown. Branch out. Ask. Listen. Shop at second hand stores. Move to the ghetto.
What are the best Social Media Sites for people to find out about you and your work?
Luddite that I am, I have never sent a text message. I hate Facebook. I do not understand Twitter. My caring friends have created a website, which I rather like: https://sites.google.com/view/schugaraor, simply, schugara.com. A radical answer: read A PLACE CALLED SCHUGARA.


About the book
A story of life, death, love lost and meaning found in Schugara and beyond.

Who among us has not dreamed of going to the corner store and simply disappearing? Travers Landeman, a businessman from Ohio, fakes his death on the Caribbean island Mabouhey. The question is: does he get away with it? Travers flees: from a loveless marriage, from a failing business, from blackmail. He had had a close relationship with his nephew Matthew, but, as the years passed, he let his nephew slip away, he let himself slip away. Matthew, a teenager, is sexually abused by his parish priest, Father Art. Matt reaches out to his uncle for help, but Travers turns away. Matthew commits suicide by shooting himself, but Travers knows it is his selfish fear that pulled the trigger. On Mabouhey Travers is injured when he rescues a child, Schugara, from the great shark, Kintura. Travers and Schugara’s mother, Marguerite, fall in love and build their home on the side of a volcano at a place they name after Marguerite’s daughter, a place called Schugara. The years pass. It appears that Travers has gotten away with it. . . .until a private investigator, Albert Sidney McNab, shows up. He has been hired by the Atlantis Fidelity Insurance Company to bring Travers back to Ohio.
A Chicago bookseller, Joe Rogers, leads a group of amateur archeologists to Mabouhey. At the dig site he unearths an ancient treasure, a jeweled mask dating to the Arawak era. His ankle is broken. Joe is carried on a stretcher to Schugara, where Marguerite tells him Travers’ story.
What then transpires at a place called Schugara, is, if not a state of wonder, certainly matters worthy of thought. This much happens: the mask is taken to the United States, where it is auctioned at Sotheby’s by Esmerelda McNab, United Nations Ambassador of the world’s newest nation, the Commonwealth of the Island of Mabouhey, despite protestors from Columbia University, who denounce the sale as “cultural genocide.” This much happens as well: Father Art is beaten to death in his jail cell while awaiting trial. Are the other aspects of SCHUGARA’s denouement, its dotting of “i”s and crossing of “t”‘s, satisfying and satisfactory? The reader must decide.
More about the Author:
Along with William Carlos Williams, Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, and Victor Cruz, Joe English is a proud son of Paterson, New Jersey (with one “t.”) He came of age in Mexico City, Mexico. He worked as a ranch hand at the Wild Horn Ranch in Florissant, Colorado. He has a B. A. cum laude from Colorado College in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and an M. A. from Rice University in Houston, Texas. English is a Woodrow Wilson Fellow.

He has lived for 47 years in the Austin neighborhood on Chicago’s west side. When Austin resegregated from 100% Caucasian to 95+% African-American in 1970-71, English was one of a handful of residents who cast down their buckets with their new neighbors. As a minority in a majority minority community, he has a unique perspective on the state of urban America. English was featured in a 60 Minutes broadcast as a first hand witness to neighborhood resegregation in Chicago.
He was a professor at Triton College in River Grove, Illinois, for sixteen years. He founded Oak Park Real Estate in 1984, which provided decent, safe, and affordable housing, primarily in the Austin neighborhood. At its peak, Oak Park Real Estate managed 900 residential apartments. He still maintains a residence in Austin but now spends much of his time in Sosua, Dominican Republic, founded by Jewish refugees in the late 1930’s. “I live in two soulful places,” English says. “I am doubly blessed.” English’s writings have appeared in the Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Sun-Times, the Chicago Reader and Co-Existence, the literary journal which featured the works of Henry Miller. His most recent publication, the short story Mrs. Padgett’s Pearls, was selected by Zimbell House Publishing for the anthology After Effects.
The book can be found at Amazon USA and Amazon India
Reviews from other readers can be found at GoodReads

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Book Review - Trade and Grow Rich

Finance (not accounting) was my favorite subject. Though I was studying industrial engineering at NITIE, when I got the chance of elective I went with Finance related topics. "Trade & Grow Rich" has refreshed my memories of those classes. Don't worry, the book is not written with the academic point of view.



Coming to book content, author duo has prepared an easy to follow approach. They have started book with weakest points of people who trade in stock market or who lost in the market in past. From mistake portion, they have taken readers to basic of market terminologies and how to interpret and identify them. Once making sure that readers are acquainted with terms, they have started few easy to use and widely accepted techniques. They have purposefully given doe's and don'ts of market traders to avoid self-destruction and to increasing wealth. Last 25% of the book portion covers interviews of some established players in the market. For me, these interviews are more precious than previous chapters. Because it talked about the experience. It enlight us that there is no right age to enter stock market.

Good points about the book

  • A lot of charts (real script/index) to explain the concept
  • Easy to follow language & models
  • All you need is 7th-grade math to understand the concepts
  • Awesome quotations are given at the bottom of almost every page

A perfect gift material. Fin guys or people want to learn basics should read it once.

Ratings

  1. Cover - 4/5
  2. Concepts - 4/5
  3. Content - 4.5/5
  4. Overall - 4/5 

The book can be found at Amazon and Flipkart
Reviews from other readers can be found at GoodReads

Bed Time Story - Raj his Friends and Organ Transplant - Book Review

"Raj his Friends and Organ Transplant" isn't it looking strangest subject for kids? For me, it was indeed a unique read. I have read many kids books to teach them alphabets, number, manners, relationships and much more, but regarding organ transplant, I bet not more than 1% of people who read my blog have come across the similar book.


Book Blurb
Little did Raj know that he was going to get lifelong friends as he walked into the forbidden forest, upset and hurt after being punished by his mother for being naughty. Raj pours his heartout to his friends, and they take it upon themselves to find answers to all the fears in their friend’s mind. These special friends of the jungle stay with him through thick and thin, support him through the entire process of his organ transplant and become an important part of his life.
Read this book to know how Raj’s fears about organ transplant are dealt with by his friends of the jungle.
The story is simple a small boy called Raj made friends in the jungle. His animal friends made him feel good and calm. They explained him things in a manner that a boy can understand. When Raj was diagnosed with Kidney failure these friends made him understand what Raj was going through.

The book covers story as well as FAQ for fids and parents regarding organ transplant. A light bed night story to explain your kid about hygiene and health.

Good points about the book
  • Nice quality pages. Color & Glossy
  • Good learning for kids
  • Even parents can get basic info
Improvement point - Some images were pixelated. The author could have used better graphics.

Ratings
  1. Cover - 4/5
  2. Concept - 4/5
  3. Overall - 3.5/5
The book can be found at Amazon and Flipkart
Reviews from other readers can be found at GoodReads

Saturday, October 13, 2018

A must read historical fiction - Storm from Taxila by Shreyas Bhave

I was eagerly waiting for this sequel of Asoka Trilogy - Storm From Taxila by Shreyas Bhave because I was completely flat when I have read the first part - “The Prince of Patliputra”.  I had almost lost hope of the next part after waiting for a year. (I have seen or left tracking many such good book’s sequels in past) Luckily 2 months back Leadstart publishing newsletter brought me good news of this part. And again my attention stuck to the book and started waiting for the book to reach my doorstep. I have received the book 2 weeks back. I could have finished book earlier if I was not busy with some important work.


Book Blurb
Everyone knows the name of Asoka but few know about his life beyond the sketchiest of details. This trilogy, based on ancient texts as well as folklore, attempts to give new life to a riveting tale. Uniquely conceived, the narrative juxtaposes two timelines, fifty years apart, drawing haunting parallels between them. The first features Chandragupta Maurya and his legendary Guru, Chanakya; the second, his grandson Asoka, and his Advisor, Radhagupta. The style is compelling, the action fast moving. Peopled by unforgettable characters, emotions, situations and events, the narrative has the irresistible force of destiny in a larger than life drama. A classic series that will remain relevant reading decade after decade 
When I have finished the 1st part, there were many questions in my mind which required next volume. How would Sushem react to the killing of Ashwamedha Yagya horse? How will fight between Asoka & Sushem fare? How will Chanakya and/or Radhagupta use their cunning methodologies in their favor? Well, to address these questions along with many new revelations “The Storm from Taxila” is presented to fan like us.

Multiple threads in the timeline of Ashoka started with this part. Radhagupta was included in the Ancient Brahminical order and given the task to free Hariharan from the clutches of Shiva. Asoka was secretly approaching Patliputra, later on, he was inducted inside the city as crown prince. Sushem started marching with his full army towards Patliputra to get his birthright and to knock some sense in Ashoka’s mind. Hardeo marched towards Junagarh to buy salt pans of Saurashtra. And as usual, Chanakya was preparing Patliputra for coming storm. In another parallel, during Chandragupta’s time, Chandragupta was approaching Patliputra to dethrone Nanda. He had taken Guidance of Chanakya and help of Malayketu (Puru King’s son). The story ended with Ashoka and Chandragupta’ coronation in their respective timeline. But that doesn’t mean the end. 3rd part of the trilogy will come soon.

The gem of the story is characterization. Especially characters like Chanakya, Radhagupta, Chandragupta, Ashoka, Devi, Malayketu. Due to the limit, I will explain two characters here. Let’s take the example of Chanakya, in the first part he was a clear hero (though shrewd and cunning) the second part makes you feel that from heroism his portrayal shifted to neutral or semi-antagonist, an authoritative strictly egocentric character. Likewise, Malayketu who was shown as pain in a** in the beginning, you will feel pity for him by the end of the book. Though we thought it is the story between Chandragupta & Nanda or Ashoka & Sushem both heroes are considerably sidelined to give the canvas to more important characters. I know it is difficult to digest but read the book to know more.

I have already mentioned that Chanakya has never opened the secrets through which he had achieved his goals, all we have are estimates. Shreyas has used the best possible ways to bring it to us with help of his own imagination. I would say a must read. And one of the best grab in the historical fiction genre.

Talking about ratings
  1. Cover - 4/5 (better than last part, still can be improved)
  2. Concept - 4.5/5
  3. Characters - 5/5
  4. Overall - 4.5/5
The book can be found at Amazon and Flipkart
Reviews from other readers can be found at GoodReads

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Book Review of Rakshasas - The Shadow Warriors by Rajiv Menon

I have read "Thunder God - The Ascendence of Indra" in 2014, at that time I had very little exposure of reading community. I had read less than 20 novels at that time. So the book looked lengthy and too fast for my taste. As I had developed the taste in different genres, I understood that even with a fast pace, author (Rajiv Menon) has maintained a great level of storytelling. You would not miss out surroundings and characters in haste, which means my earlier impression of the book got changed over time. And by 2016 I categorized it in good to read "Indian Mythological Books". Since then every quarter I kept checking for the sequel to the book. Rajiv has taken a considerable time to bring his new book. Almost 6-7 years after part-1 Rakshasas – The Shadow Warriors was published. Though it took some time for me to get the copy of the book, it was never late for me.


Book Blurb
The world is in turmoil. Naraka and his formidable Asura war machine march unhindered across it bringing once great nations to their knees. They have now set their eyes on the ultimate prize — Bharata, the land of the seven rivers. Indra and his Devas struggle to contain this threat, even as they battle their own differences and the temptations of Swarga.
In Bharata, Jayanta, the son of Indra, is the new ruler. Even as he prepares for the Asura invasion, a potent threat is rising in the vast forests of Dandaka. Vidyutkesa — the only survivor of a genocide perpetrated by Jayanta — has journeyed into its heart and made contact with the Order of the Sarpa. An ancient and powerful secret society headed by Queen Manasa. With the blessings of Raksha, the Earth Spirit, the Sarpas transform Vidyutkesa and his companions into supernatural beings called Rakshasas. Their mission: to protect their land, forests, and way of life.
In this second installment of his Vedic Trilogy, Rajiv G. Menon weaves a rich and vibrant tapestry of the epic struggle between earth-worshipping feminine cultures that live in harmony with nature, and the patriarchal forces that seek to tame her.
In the 1st part, after defeating & killing Vrata, Indra and remaining Deva along with few Adityas got the place among Gods. But what after then, what will happen to advancing armies of Asura. What will happen to Sachi (Indra’s wife) and Jayanta (Indra’s son_ More importantly, what will happen in Bharat-Varsha after the fall of a Harappan culture? To answer these questions and bring more questions Rajiv has came back with the second part.

The story started with Naraka’s ascendance to the throne of Asura and his conflict with his uncle Mahisha. Through his cunning strategy, Naraka reverted Mahisha towards Gandhar. Somewhere within abode of Manu, a deva got conscious after a long sleep. Vrata’s power transferred to this deva and made his skin blue. This blue one had avoided initial skirmish. But things were already on the roll. Arya’s entered into Bharata. They started defeating various nations/clans. Expansion of Arya had affected (I would say erased) clans after clan. Under the able guidance of Jayanta Arya started prospering but things would not be stable for long. Multiple enemies of Jayanta lurking in dark to attack. On another front how long Indra would be able to hold Naraka and his Asura army.

I would say the enthralling story. You will like each character and their part in the story. The way various ancient culture and beliefs were merged to create this epic was unique. Though fast in pace, this pace was not maintained 450+ page book might end up 800+. So vasts were the subject and stories that it needed the said speed. The language of the book is pretty easy. The narration style is also straight. A good read for people above 16+ age.

Ratings
  1. Cover - 4.5/5
  2. Characters – 4.5/5
  3. Concept – 4/5
  4. Overall – 4.5/5
The book can be found at Amazon and Flipkart
Reviews from other readers can be found at GoodReads

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Poetry Book Review - Her Name is Imagination

A cover which reminded me of “The Fault In Our Stars” and a colophon which gives  some insight of the young poet and the timeline of when he wrote these poems; but nothing grabbed my eyes more than the excellent choice of title, “Her Name is Imagination”. 


Book Blurb
Her Name is Imagination is a collection of well-crafted poems, written by a sixteen year old. Written during a difficult period of the author’s life, this book throws the reader into a gamut of emotions that the author has to go through while writing this book. Even when the reader is thrown into the deep end of love, pain, joy, sorrow, elation, regret, happiness, and sadness, the book’s genius lies in the fact that the author helps the reader maintain hope. Written with a painful honesty and a certain naivety that could be attributed to his age; and a certain complexity and meticulousness, that belies his age, Her Name is Imagination is a book full of conundrums like these. It forces one to think, almost challenges the reader to find answers. However, throughout all this, at the end the reader is bound to feel good and a little liberated.
Alok Amit Abhilash shares his perspective and take on life through “Her Name is Imagination”. It is a collection of 25 poems where he goes down, gets up, is thankful and despite the grim world that he is a part of, maintains hope.

Be it the darkness in “My Name is Imagination”, or the thanksgiving in “Messing Around (I’m Blessed)”, Alok Abhilash conveys his mind and holds nothing back. Mostly,  the poems are written in a simple language, however I must admit I had to look up the meaning of camaraderie in “Happiness/Pursuit of Happiness”. Referring to Imagination as a flirtatious “her” in “Her Name is Imagination” or advising us to be balanced in the fight  “Darkness and Light”, Alok Abhilash makes good use of analogies to narrate his ideas from the first poem itself(“Time”).

There are times where the rhythm does indeed break and it becomes more like a rant. Though it is mentioned that the poems inspire positive attitude, some poems end on a dark note, whereas in some instances the ending is really abrupt. 

Some of the poems are well written. My personal favorit was “My Name in Society” which feels relatable, realistic and perhaps even an eye opener to current modern lifestyle. 

Overall, the Alok Abhilash successfully displays his potential. Indeed, there are some poems which need more effort, but nevertheless they give an impact and leaves a good impression on our minds.

For Alok Amit Abhilash’s maiden work my rating would be 4/5

Overall Verdict:- A praiseworthy effort by a young mind

The book can be found at Amazon and Flipkart
Reviews from other readers can be found at GoodReads

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Meet Devika Das - Author of The Mind Game

Today we have author Devika Das with us to discuss her book "The Mind Game".


Devika holds MBA (Marketing & Finance) from Army Institute of Management, Kolkata. She worked as HR Manager, Logistics coordinator and she is currently working as a Content Strategist for an IT company at Hyderabad.

So Devika tell us, what were you like at school/college apart from studies? 
I participated in debates/elocution/drama and recitation competitions. I also played cricket.
Do you read much and if so who are your favorite authors? Which author inspires you the most? 
Reading is my favorite pastime apart from Theatre. There is a long list of authors that I like to read – Ruskin Bond, RK Narayan, Rabindranath Tagore, Jhumpa Lahiri etc. but my inspiration for writing Non-Fiction is Paulo Coelho and his book The Alchemist. 
When did you start writing? 
My first piece of writing was a poem I had written when I was 13. It is titled ‘For Those at Kargil; got published in Hindustan Times and also features in my poetry book ‘Reminiscence’. 
When did you decide to become a writer? 
I didn’t decide to become an author. I used to write for pleasure. My friends used to read my blogs and poems. On the insistence of my friends, I self-published ‘7 Vows of Marriage’. It is available on Kindle.
What are your ambitions for your writing career? 
I want to write on topics that I feel for passionately. I haven’t yet thought of becoming a full-time author. Still, there is time. 
Do you have a special time to write, or how is your day structured to accommodate your writing? 
I usually write in the morning say 4:30am. I have a regular job, which I like to do. But I definitely accommodate writing as well as theatre in my schedule. I plan my day accordingly.
What have you written so far?
The Mind Game is my 5th publication. My previous works
  • 7 Vows of Marriage
  • Reminiscence
  • Short story in Undo 
  • Short Story in String in the Garland
  • The Mind Game
  • Edited ‘Absolute Love Letter’ and ‘Diamonds in the Rough’
What genre are your books? 
Non-Fiction 

Can you describe your current book in a few lines? What’s it about?
The Mind Game is a self-improvement guide to control your emotions and how to respond to situations amicably. It talks about the importance of emotional intelligence and highlights the concept of living in the present. 

The central theme of the book is emotional intelligence. A human being goes through a wide range of emotions daily sometimes they are complex to understand and we may react negatively. I am not saying everything should be happy and joyful every time. But by controlling the negative thoughts, we can direct our life towards an optimistic path of life. 
Where did you get the idea for this book?
I read about the rise of suicides due to stress and depression amongst youth in India. During my research, I found out the factors that push a person to that extent that you lose hope and want to end your life. This disturbed my mind and I thought of sharing my experiences of how I battled stress when I was going through a tough phase of my life. 
How much research did you do for this book?
I read journals, spoke to students, counselorcounselor, I started meeting strangers and took their views on stress. It was a 1-year1-year research of networking with people from all walks of life. 
What was the most difficult thing about writing your latest book?
Controlling my own emotions and not being overwhelmed by the content
Do you have a trailer or do you intend to create one for your own book?

Release date. 
25 July 2018
Can you tell us about critics and overall rating your book have received?
Until date, the book has received 13 reviews on Amazon https://www.amazon.in/Mind-Game-Devika-Das/product-reviews/B07FBFXZ82 Overall it enjoys a rating of 4.1 stars out of 5
What are you working on at the minute?
A Hindi Fiction novel and a Travel Book
What are your thoughts on writing a book series?
I have thought of releasing a few more books in the series of The Mind Game
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Write passionately and from your heart. Don’t worry much about the economics as you are writing to express your views. Reviews and feedback are more important than royalties 😊
Is there anything else you would like to add that I haven’t included?
Read a lot to become a better writer.
Links for your book readers

Monday, October 1, 2018

Book Review - The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck

I bought this book to check out what the fuss is all about. Everyone just can't stop talking about this book, even my friends were whining about this book. I have seen celebrities reading this book. And bookstgramers, they can't have enough of this book so I finally decided to try it. After reading it, I finally got it why everyone is so obsessed about this book.



I personally have read so many self-help books but haven't read anything like this book. Most self-help book will tell you to do yoga, be calm, be happy in all situation, you are special, you are right, be certain, say yes to everything, your soul is eternal and so on. Stuff like this is nice to read but it's not pragmatic, and this book tells exactly opposite of that and still makes you improve your self.

In the modern fast-paced life you can't say yes to everything and everyone cause if that's the case people will eat you alive, this book tells you a practical way of living life, what you should give a fuck about and what you should not.

This book has changed my entire persona of seeing life. All this book says is to find a bigger fuck to give a fuck about. This book also be able to help you if you are having an existential crisis and give you perspective to look at your problems differently.

Millennials like me are not very much into reading a book especially a self-help. But the language of this book is such that millennials would actually love to read it. This book hits number 1 in my top 10 of self-help books.

So all and all if you are millennial or not, you're having an existential crisis or not, you like a self-help book or not, you give way to much fuck about everything or not at all, in my opinion, everyone should read this book at least once.

Ratings
  1. Cover : - 4.5/5
  2. Content : - 5/5
  3. Concept : - 5/5
  4. Overall : - 5/5
The book can be found at Amazon and Flipkart
Reviews from other readers can be found at GoodReads

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