Friday, November 30, 2018

Story of Honor Killing - A Sister to Honor by Lucy Ferris - A Book Review

Almost two years back we had interviewed Lucy Ferris for her (then recently) published book "A Sister To honor" (In India with Fingerprint Publishers). As a token of gratitude, we have received a copy of the book. Unfortunately, during that period we shifted job and home so this book got into our storeroom. This Diwali when we cleaned the room, I found this angry lady asking for justification for ignoring her so long. Fun parts, I took this book to my Diwali trip so that can be read with a peaceful mind.


Main characters of the story are Afia and Shahid Satar. As given in blurb, Shahid was having a good rep and challenging career to set his life in the USA. He convinced his family to send Afia for Medical studies to states. Born and brought up in the super suppressed family and culture values Afia found her class and college mates completely opposite. Though her mind showed her fear of strict traditional values, her heart ached for freedom. Things became messy when her parents/family in Pakistan saw her picture holding a hand of an American guy. Her family given Shahid impossible task of honoring family by killing his sister.

I have heard/read/seen (on screen) many cases of hour killing, this story is similar. What makes it different is characterization. How each character feels at the time of such decision, how doting love converts in extreme hate. How culture value overrides normal human feelings. The book required efforts to read it. Those who want light read can skip this book. Those who love to read a deeply narrated story can take it. Read when you can give 100% else you may leave it in between.

I give 3.5 out of 5 stars to the book.

Lucy Interview Link - Author Interview
Book can be found at - Amazon & Flipkart
Review from other readers can be found at GoodReads

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Fall of the Kurus - Book 1 - The Making of Bhishma by Kamesh Ramakrishna, a book review

For me, 
Have read Mahabharata where Pandavas were heroes, 
Have read Mahabharata where Suyodhana was a hero,
Have read Mahabharata where both parties were neutral,
Have read Mahabharata where everyone had divine powers,
Have read Mahabharata where everyone was a normal human being,
Have read Mahabharata where gods were aliens and Pandavas were alien-human breed.

So as given in forward, there are more than thousands of ways to tell Mahabharata, the important part is how the story unveils. In "The Making of Bhishma - Fall of the Kurus" author has shown or I would say started a journey of this epic with normal human race struggling for agriculture settlement and problems related to that.


Book Blurb
The Making of Bhishma, portrays the world of Hastinapura as its rulers try to manage the crisis. It explores the impact of this conflict on the life of Devavrata (Bhishma), eldest son of Shantanu, ruler of Hastinapura. His mother had committed suicide since the Kavi Sangha's one-family-one-child policy has required her to sacrifice seven of her children. Subsequently, Devavrata is disinherited so Shantanu can marry Satyavati, who demans the Kavi Sangha policies not apply to her.
Before I start those who don't want to deviate from original/Vedic /mainstream Mahabharata stories, can simply ignore this book and skip our review. Because the author has taken a good level of independence and colored our favorite characters as per his imagination. For example, in our story, Devavrata Bhishma took a vow of celibacy and he never had a wife /affair. Wherein here the story starts with Amba having affair with Bhishma before he had taken the vow and Shikhandin was shown as Bhishma's son. So you can only imagine the level of freedom the author has taken to prepare his characters.

The principal war of Mahabharata is shown in this book as the difference between economic strategy. Bhishma in the capacity of three-time regency had used the expansion of Kuru borders into (mostly) Naga territory through exploitation. Dhritarashtra and (later on) Suyodhana supported his tactics. But Pandu and (later on) Yudhisthira believed in peace. So Yudhisthira wanted to stop expansion and would like to work hand in hand with Nagas. This fundamental economic/strategic difference along with bloodline issue led to break in bond and Kuru lineage. The story started with Bhishma in deathbed and Yudhisthira requested to tell him the history of how it all started. Bhishma hesitated initially, but memory started flooding in front of his eyes. Yudhisthira wanted to know events which have led the war situation. Surprisingly, when Bhishma thought of, the majority of his decisions had created the problems that generation of Yudhisthira & Suyodhana were facing. I don't want to kill or spoil your reading experience so not giving away much plot.

Undoubtedly a must read. One should at least give a try to imagine how would be real life of Mahabharata times if those people were a mere human. A sure shot page-turner, it won't make you feel that you have read a 500 pages-long book.

Ratings
  1. Cover - 5/5
  2. Characters - 4.5/5
  3. Concept - 4.5/5
  4. Content - 5/5
  5. Overall - 4.75/5
Book can be found at - Amazon & Flipkart
Review from other readers can be found at GoodReads

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Book Review - Voyages Volume I - A Collection of Poetry by Debjeet Mukherjee

Frankly speaking, I have not read/reviewed poem book in the past, not in English or not even in my mother tongue Gujarati. During Diwali vacation, I received this book from Debjeet Mukherjee in my mailbox. I checked the blurb and 1-2 poems and thought of giving a try. I started reading it during a long train journey and surprisingly I was able to finish it within 2-3 hours.


Book Blurb
Voyages Volume I is a collection of poems written to break the notion that poetry is an art comprehensible only by the elite. Understanding good poetry becomes easy when there is a guide to help understand all those complicated words and lines. Keeping in mind the feelings of the reader, a small quotation has been provided at the end of each poem, carrying a message of what the preceding lines were all about. This style of writing has been chosen as most of the time we fail to understand that poetry is very much a part of our life. 

Whether it be sharing good wishes everyday on social media or going through some lovely quotations to uplift our moods, life is just one big book of poetry that we refuse to understand in popular culture. Just like a ship embarks on a voyage, searching and exploring new continents through vast reaches of the ocean; our life too embarks on a journey of adventures which are best described in poetry.
As the name suggests, "Voyages Volume I - A Collection of Poetry" is a collection of poems, each written at a different time in Debjeet life (I am assuming it) with a different thought. It has poem related love, relationship, friendship, inspiration, society and what not. Wordings of each poem are simple but meaningful. Not at a single point, you will feel that Debjeet is flaunting about his vocabulary.

Poem topics are selected so nicely that for everyone at least few poems feel /touch on a personal front as if written for that individual. Another good part is a short quotation given at the end of each poem which gives the crux of the poem. I liked many of these quotations. Few even made to my Twitter and Instagram timeline as well.

My personal favorite quotes are
  • “Lovely is the shape of the heart in cards Because the real heart has more to bear than fantasy”
  • “To take care of your loved ones is not easy. But who said it would be easy keeping a promise!” 
Cover design/selection is also proper for the type of book. Just like poems, cover shows us slow serene and deep mind; and our navigation through a voyage of life. 

Many of the poems are based on harsh reality which shows us the real face of the world. And most of the poems are realistic, very few are imaginative. I would like to applaud Debjeet to write so many meaningful poems at such a young age.

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

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Book Review - "The Other Side of Her" by Hari Kumar

"The Other Side of Her" by Hari Kumar K reached my home as a surprise package. I didn't subscribe for the book but my stars were shining so I got this lovely book at my doorsteps uninvited. Though Diwali vacation has affected the deadline of the review, it gave me a good company during Diwali trip. It was my first book by Hari Kumar, and I thoroughly enjoyed the book.


Book Blurb
Bestselling romance writer Revati Krishna had everything that a girl could wish for – A sparkling career, a thriving fan-base and a perfect love life. 
However, life is not always a bed of roses… Sometimes, there appear thorns. 
An unfortunate car accident turns her life upside down.
To start over her life, Revati moves to a sleepy hill station where she gets entangled with a murder that happened 15 years ago. On the pretext of writing a book, she starts investigating into the matter and finds striking evidence which otherwise could never be found. But she doesn’t know that she has put her own life in danger.
How far will one woman go to give justice to a dead girl?
The answer lies in that incident which happened 15 years ago. The incident which shall tell the world… The Other Side of Her story.
The protagonist of the story is Revati, an award-winning author. She was enjoying an ideal life on personal and professional front. But life took a complete turn when she lost her husband in an accident. She lost her touch over writing skills as well. As for change, she was asked to take a long break, so she decided to stay with her elder sister until she can get out of her depression. From this point a love story looking book switched to a horror kind of thriller. A ghost of a dead girl name Paravati came into touch with Revati. To bring the justice to girl, Revati started investigating 15 years murder mystery. Read the book to know more.

Good points about the book
  1. Simple language usage. 
  2. To the point narration style.
  3. Character of Revati & Paravati
  4. Good mix of multiple genres
  5. The short length of the book made it an easy read.
An awesome companion for a short trip. I really enjoyed reading this book, can surely recommend to light book readers.

I will give 4 stars out of 5 to Hari Kumar's "The Other Side of Her".

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

Book Review - One Day by David Nicholls

A few months back I have volunteered in an event called "Lock The Box" by Bookchor and there I was introduced to many new great authors and books. "One Day" by David Nicholls is one of them. The pace at which this book was selling At the event intrigued me, so out of curiosity I also picked up the copy.

Book Blurb
It’s 1988 and Dexter Mayhew and Emma Morley have only just met on the night of their graduation. Tomorrow they must go their separate ways. But after only one day together, they cannot stop thinking about one another.
Over twenty years, snapshots of that relationship are revealed on the same day—July 15th—of each year. Dex and Em face squabbles and fights, hopes and missed opportunities, laughter and tears. And as the true meaning of this one crucial day is revealed, they must come to grips with the nature of love and life itself.
Twenty years, two people, one day. 
"One Day" is a love story but it's something that I haven't read before. It's a story of two friends who are in love with each other secretly, but due to circumstances they always drift apart. And finally when they are together and everything fall in their place tragedy strikes and everything crumbles.

The plot of the book is not very unique but the way it is written is something peculiar. It's written as every chapter of the book is written as one day "15th July" of every year. BTW that is how the name of the book "One day "

For me, it's really unique and incredible that author is only writing one day of the whole year and still be able to explain where the headspace of the characters are, what feelings characters are having and is able to describe their whole life, their whole personality, their whole love story in just one day.

I was really impressed by the writing style of the author. This book was a unique and new experience for me. Though the plot is a bit familiar, the way it's written makes up for it and I am looking forward to reading other books from David Nicholls.

Ratings
  1. Cover : - 4/5
  2. Content : - 4.5/5
  3. Character : -4.5/5
  4. Concept : - 5/5
  5. Overall : - 4.5/5
Book can be found at - Amazon IndiaAmazon USA & Flipkart
Review from other readers can be found at GoodReads

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Book Review - Ashtamahishi: The Eight Wives of Krishna by Radha Viswanath

The writing style of Radha Vishwanath is different. Her first novel "Ravanaleela" reminded me the Asura and Ajaya by Anand Neelakantan. Though Anand has shown Ravana from a positive point of view, Radha has shown Ravana from a neutral point of view. I was really impressed by her writing style and storytelling. So when I saw next book by her which was "Ashtamahishi: The Eight Wives of Krishna" I cannot say no, even though we were knee deep in book-load of review copies. Though Diwali & festivities has affected our review deadline, the book needed its due focus. So here we are with the review of the Ashtamahishi.


Book Blurb
Krishna, the eternal lover, is believed to have charmed the heart of every woman he came across and his marriage with 16,100 women is the stuff of numerous ballads that have enthralled us over ages. But who amongst them all did Krishna love? Who ruled his heart and influenced his life?
Not one, but there were eight women whom Krishna married solely on the basis of mutual love and respect. Each of these wives—the Ashtabharyas—contributed to making Krishna what he was. While their names figure in the text of the great epic Mahabharata, not much has been discussed about them. Who are these women and what was that special ‘something’ in each of them that won Krishna over? What were each of those relationships like?
Radha Viswanath delves deep into the great Hindu epics, puranas and other ancient texts, weaving nuggets of information with rich imagination to give us a fascinating picture of Krishna’s life with these eight extraordinary women.
As the name suggest, the book revolves around lesser-known facts about Krishna and his home-affairs (I am using this word specifically) with his 8 principle wives. The stories about each wife are intermingled, which tells us how Krishna met with each of his wives, how they got married. The story covers various phases of Krishna's life, starting from migration to Dwarika to Mahabharata (which cover him as a son, brother, husband, father). Just like Ravanaleela, the character of Krishna is shown as neutral one (not good or bad) and as a normal human being (not directly as a god).

My take from the book
  1. Unparallel poetic narration style.
  2. Wonderful storytelling
  3. Slight slow pace could have been fast
  4. Characterization is also awesome, Krishna & his wives 9 principal characters got required canvas to leave the impact
  5. The relationship between Krishna with his wives were shown nicely
  6. Good choice of words and vocabulary (though it affected my overall experience it needed said attention)
Once can give it a try for sure. A good addition to Mythological Shelf for sure.

I will give 4 out of 5 for this wonderful book.

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

Friday, November 23, 2018

Book Review - A Girl to Remember by Ajay Pandey

A wonderful cover & best selling author, one doesn't need a better reason to go for "A Girl to Remember" by Ajay Pandey. We got this book as a surprise Diwali gift (as honest review copy). A bookworm like me could not get a better gift than this.


Book Blurb
In every angel a demon hides, And in every demon, an angel strides. Neel is a self-proclaimed demon, a slave to his desires, putting at stake even the purest of relationships for it. He lives for himself, takes life as it comes, and considers people who love as emotional fools. When he first sets his eyes on his new landlady, a widow who is eleven years elder to him, all he can see is an opportunity. He has a plan to get rich and is working hard to achieve it, until he bumps into Pihu. She is an immature teenager who likes Neel for no apparent reason, and blindly believes that he is an angel who will take away all her life’s troubles. Neel hates Pihu for her unexplained obsession, and her being a hindrance in his plan, but her firm resolve to see a good person in him shakes Neel to the core. Will Pihu make a difference? Does inner transformation come to a man who has gone to a point of no return? A Girl to Remember is an emotional roller coaster which will make you believe that confession is the best punishment.
"A Girl to Remember" is the story of Pihu, Neel, and Annu. I think blurb and many reviewers have covered story so I am giving a brief. Neel was a devil person. For his, emotion and relationship come after his greed for money and lust. Annu was a widow who had rented her flat to Neel. Pihu was the daughter of Annu. And then comes a love triangle between these three, though not same as normal Bollywood movie.

Coming to book, I liked the following things
  • Simple language usage & straight narration style
  • The uniqueness of the plot
  • Characterization of Neel & Pihu
  • The short & apt story for traveling
This was my first book by Ajay Pandey and I am really impressed. We are really gladful and would like to thank Srishti Publisher for giving us chance to review this book.

Rating
  1. Cover - 4.5/5
  2. Concept - 4/5
  3. Character - 4/5
  4. Overall - 4/5
Book can be found at - Amazon & Flipkart
Review from other readers can be found at GoodReads

Book Review - In Pursuit of a Family by Shilpa Menon

This is my second read from Shilpa Menon. She has got a unique trait. She touches less discussed topics and makes a story around it. In her first book "Scars Do Heal" she has taken rape victim as a protagonist, who was scared of men & relationship. A wonderful guy made her head her wounds and marry her. I was thoroughly impressed by the story and the author's approach to writing it. So it was obvious when I was given choice of reviewing "In Pursuit of a Family", I said yes immediately.


Book Blurb
Zsofia Lakatos was orphaned early in life. Hardships forged her into becoming strong and independent. With her wit and determination she fulfilled her dream of becoming a fine architect. She never allowed anyone to break down the fences she had created around herself.
Until meeting Kevin.
Kevin Percy had everything going well in his life – a loving family and living his dream of running a successful architecture firm in London.
Kevin’s first meeting with Zsofia leaves him intrigued. He hatches a plan to bring her closer to him by offering her a job at his firm.
Will the two be able to resist their attraction to each other? Will their differences be too big to overcome? Will Kevin’s past hurt their plans? Will Zsofia finally be able to dream of having a family of her own?
In this book, the author has created an orphan's story. Zsofia is our protagonist, who had lost her parents at age of four. By age of 24, she had been through a hell lot of hardship mostly alone. The harsh reality of society & survival made her extreme introvert, the only friend she had got was Martha (Mimi). Our story started when Mimi fell sick during Christmas and asked Zsofia to fill in for her place. Zsofia had obliged and had broken her 6-7 years old tradition of hibernation. But that brought a wonderful twist in her life. Kevin Percy (younger brother of Ryan - first part's hero) & his partner had organized a Christmas party for their company, where Zsofia filled in for Mimi's place. Spark of love, at first sight, ignited in Zsofia & Kevin when they saw each other. But the entry of Kevin's ex-girlfriend made some errands. Kevin handled mess later on for Zsofia, but he was not able to get more information than her name. The spark of love made him dig more for Zsofia so he hired a private detective. The story shifted 3 months later when Zsofia suddenly got an internship in Kevin's firm and due to unavoidable circumstances Zsofia had to move into Kevin's home. Romantic turns started taking place as they both started knowing each other good & bad sides. But the darkness in both of their past may affect their relationship. Read the book to know more.

The romantic moments between couple make you remind your courtship period (if you have been through) or gives you butterfly (if you are single). The love story written by Shilpa would be always sweet and fairy-like, you will keep smiling and feel to go back to book again and again.

Shilpa has mastery over the flow. The pace of the book is so smooth that you won't feel you have just read around 290 pages long book in one go. The book is written in the first person/character from Kevin and Zsofia point of view. Each chapter is spread alternatively from Kevin & Zsofia as the first person.  Coming to characterization, the majority of supporting characters are from first part which was awesome then and awesome now. I think the independent character of Zsofia & caring character of Kevin would be the star of the book. Use of language is simple and even 14+ can read it with great ease. Line spacing and character size are apt for a better reading experience.

Overall a wonderful romantic read. Ratings
  1. Cover - 3.5/5 (I feel need a strong cover)
  2. Concept - 4.5/5
  3. Character - 4/5
  4. Overall - 4/5
Book can be found at - Amazon & Flipkart
Review from other readers can be found at GoodReads

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Book Discussion with Khayaal Patel - Author of "Tarikshir"

"Tarikshir" was a unique multi-genre book that we read and reviewed before Diwali. Those who have missed the review of the book can check it here. Today we have the author of the same book - Khayaal Patel with us to discuss how he conceptualized this wonderful story.


Lets start with your school & college days. What were you like at school/college apart from studies?
I used to be a boring kid! Now I’m a boring kid pretending to be an adult.
What are some day jobs you have held?
Did a little bit of this and that; sold and marketed wine; earth moving equipment. Now I manage sales for the world’s No.1 Skincare brand.
Do you read much and if so who are your favorite authors? Which author inspire you the most?
Unfortunately I don’t get to read as much as I’d like now, but some of my favorite authors are Rene Goscinny and Albert Uderzo and Herge. The stuff they created in their time was absolutely mind blowing and I think that got me hooked.
When did you decide to become a writer?
I used to read a lot when I was younger and I think the next inevitable step if you’re a reader is to create; you can choose to edit, blog, write…the possibilities are endless. I guess writing was on the cards for me.
What are your ambitions for your writing career?
Every single book I write and will write has only one purpose; to entertain. I always feel that if a reader closes a book feeling he/she has wasted their time, I have disrespected them and I don’t ever want to disrespect my reader.
How is your day structured to accommodate your writing?
Balancing writing and a full time career is harder than maintaining the Batman/Bruce Wayne personas. I wish I could devote more time to write but it always gets harder, life comes in the way. I try to write as and when I find time with vastly varying degrees of success.
Is this your debut work? If not so, what have you written?
I think the best and biggest fiction I have consistently written have been in my exam papers.
What genre are your books?
They are a mashup of sorts; Tarikshir is a historical, paranormal, mythological fantasy fiction with a dash of romance thrown in swaadanusar.


Can you describe your current book in few lines? What’s it about?
Tarikshir is a murder mystery at the core. Then it’s got elements of history and mythology added in, with some classic adventure a’laPercy Jackson and Indiana Jones. I think it’s the first book in the world which mixes Ramayana with zombies. And If that’s the first time you have heard BOTH those words in the same sentence, you should pick up TARIKSHIR…you will love it, I promise!
Give us an insight into your main character.
Rudra Pratap Chauhan is the protagonist in the series. He’s in the fledging stage in the first book where he is forced to undertake the journey from boy to man through supernatural circumstances beyond his control. His arc will lead him from being a boy to man to a hero to a ….
What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book?
Finding the time for it. :P
When was your book released?
20th August 2018
What are you working on at the minute?
It’s a romance novel which has a supernatural twist. Like my previous books, I hope it’s something fresh that  readers haven’t experienced before.
What are your thoughts on writing a book series?
Already on it! Book 2 of Tarikshir has been written and I’ve plotted out Rudra’s arc throughout a series of 4 books. I’ve already written the last paragraph of the final novel and now it’s the journey to get Rudra there.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
A first draft doesn’t need to be perfect, it just needs to be written. Never stop writing.
Is there anything else you would like to add that I haven’t included?
Please pick up Tarikshir, if you haven’t already! Tell your friends on how awesome it is, and if you have any friends who hold positions of power at Netflix DEFINITELY tell them! That aside, if you haven’t, please do! You will love Tarikshir…I promise!
Links for your book readers


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

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Book Review "Bindu Sarovar" by Rajendra Kher

‘Top 5 book of Maharashtra Times’ and ‘Supernatural Thriller’ on the cover and an engaging colophon involving the Chinese, a lake and alternate reality set up high expectations for this book.


Book Blurb
This is supernatural Thriller. The story of Bindu Lake takes place in the year 2023. The Chinese find some ancient archaeological artifacts and ancient manuscripts in a temple in Tibet. The manuscript talks about the existence of a particular secret object, which can help one rule the world! 
The ambitions of the Chinese rulers take wings with this treasure of information. Coincidentally they also come to know of the exact location of the object… and the deadly chase begins! This thrilling chase ends at Bindu Lake! Till reaching the Bindu Lake the ‘pilgrims’ get many mysterious, enigmatic experiences. For example, they have to cross three gates on three different planes. Crossing each gate leads them into a different kind of land. These lands are spectacular in their imagery. Surviving the chase and conquering many obstacles and many dangers along the way the hero of the novel, Vikram Bhargav, manages to reach the Bindu Lake and places the object there. That object is supposed to get neutralized after reaching Bindu Lake! 
The story begins with a journey from speedy miserable materialistic life and ends at a very peaceful place. Readers will experience the universal truth at the end. This fantastic story contains the philosophical thread as well.
“Bindu Sarovar” takes place around 2023 and revolves around an ancient box and its perilous journey through Vikram Bhargav to an all-powerful mysterious lake.

The book is written in a third person narrative. The natural scenic beauties are depicted well and the chase sequences are written perfectly. However, there are times when it becomes too philosophical and the plot breaks. The story pace becomes engaging for short durations but sometimes drags to the point where one might lose interest.

Vikram as the central character is portrayed perfectly. He takes charge, gets confused, raises doubts and feels helpless aptly. Mahanand’s portrayal as a mystery helper could had been better if he wouldn’t be so philosophical now and then. Keith, Shankar, Apoorva feel like subordinates. Tridandi fails to impress us an antagonist.

Personally I am of the favour that the book lost its natural flavour in translation. It isn’t perfect, but has its moments and can serve as a light read.

For Rajendra Kher's well attempted effort to combine philosophy, folklore, fiction and thriller my rating for “Bindu Sarovar” would be 3/5.

Overall Verdict:- Good imagination, but lacks the gripping element.

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

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

You Suck As A Parent. Find Out Why & How Not To.

‘Parents Suck’ is a real bold statement. But it is true. Parenting and leadership expert Dr. Swati Lodha has proved it through her latest book ’54 Reasons Why Parents Suck and Phew!’ that parents suck in different ways. Fortunately, the hilarious book also tells us how not to suck. Co-authored by Swaraa, Swati’s daughter, it is written in the voice of a teenager who brings forth all the annoying biases, beliefs, and behaviours of Indian parents.


Out of the fifty four, we bring four reasons for our readers.

Obedience is the Password: Parents want children to obey them all the time because they think that they are always right. They love their authority as parents far more than they love their children as people.

They do not understand that half of the children obey them to maintain their sanity. Children obey to avoid the mess that disagreements would generate. They obey out of fear or in anticipation of approval or reward.

Author emphatically writes, “We stay loyal to you by staying loyal to your beliefs. We love you and hence stick to all that you teach. We win your attachment but we lose our individuality. We hold on to your opinions, your lessons because we want to hold on to you. If we try to discard some of your ideas, we feel that you will feel that we are diminishing our relationship.”

The solution offered is simple: 
Why is obedience and loyalty overrated in a parent–child relationship? How about learning to re-calibrate your illusion of control as we move forward? You consider disagreement as disrespect and a child disrespecting the holy parent is the ultimate sin. Disagreement is NOT disrespect. Can you guys get that?

Parents overvalue their own children: Every baker feels that his flour is the most fresh, light, and consistent. Each landlord feels that he is renting out the best maintained property in the best location.

Each parent feels the same towards their children because they have a sense of ownership and emotional investment. Children become more valued by the sheer virtue of belonging to their parents.

Parents are masters of showcasing what they or their children have achieved. They would judge their children objectively in private but create an amplified aura in public.

Authors suggest the solution beautifully to the problem of ‘overvaluing’ - Parents tend to be overconfident in their estimates of our future as they do not factor in uncertainties. A ‘pre-mortem’ will help wherein parents imagine a future failure and try to find its cause. It will reduce optimism and help parents prepare a backup plan.

Parents wish to spin complete narratives of success for us even when failure is always embedded in it. This overvaluation is scary and unrealistic. It gives us false hopes and unrealistic sense of self. I start to feel like Virat Kohli as soon as I pick the cricket bat.

How about taking an outside view—finding out real-life failure stories of those who treaded similar paths? How about equipping us with survival tools for future rather than Photoshopping our present selves?

Parents suffer from ‘hindsight bias’: All the parents love to remember themselves as exemplary individuals, in hindsight. They want their children to believe that they were ideal children who had tough parents and tougher times but they still survived, thanks to their grit, discipline and obedience.

Parents do not remember the facts that actually happened, they remember ‘flashbulbs memories’ which are flawed and products of reconstruction.
“Everyone makes mistakes and everyone remembers the mistakes committed by others. How about sharing the real slices of your lives with us along with the life stories of other friends and family?” is the solution offered by authors.

Parents have unlimited quirks: Authors talk about innumberable quirks and superstitions followed fanatically by parents.

Moms believe in ‘Zodiac signs’. I am not sure whether I am a carefree, straightforward person because I am often told that these are the traits of my zodiac sign or my zodiac sign is the cause of these traits in me.

Parents fear problems and love everyone and everything that claims to solve their problems. Parents give weird names to their children, alter their birth dates to save an admission year and what not.

A victim of parents’ quirkness shared that his mother did not let him buy a motorbike by his favourite brand – Yamaha – because she was uncomfortable by the word ‘Yama’ in it.

The book talks about fifty four of such reasons with a solution at the end of every chapter ‘how not to suck’.

To become a better parent, read the hilarious yet honest book www.bit.ly/54Reasonswhy 

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

Friday, November 16, 2018

Book Review - The Alpha Yeti by Sum

I was not confident when I selected "The Alpha Yeti" by Sum. As the author has used a pen name and I was not able to get any information about him/her. But I had faith in the selection of WritersMelon. And then SciFi Keeda gave me encouragement to go for the book


Book blurb
Every tribal land has its own tribulations and the Kasis were way beyond any hope or help, for what they were undergoing was terrifyingly unspeakable. It wasnt any myth or taboo. This one was true. The One God was as real as the White Giants. But, all the suffering and trepidation came from the impossibly aggressive Grey Giants. They were a deformity: a fallen imprecation on the Kasis. Somehow, a sensible Bhirendi, the elderly last of the Kasis, addresses the tragedy and rushes his people into the underground chambers of Ravaial before they are forced to face the wrath of the monstrosities that lately have begun to roll down from the White Mountain. With the situation only getting worse by the moment, the tribes hire a pack of ace hunters from the West. But, one of them freaks out and abducts the daughter of an estranged but once-upon-a-time famous hunter to only earn his ire. The hunters are drawn together into a strangely unwelcome land of doom with their fates sealed under the White Mountain. They soon realise that time is all they have left in the entire world when the Grey Giants begin their vicious play. SUM brings to you, The Alpha Yeti!

In mountain range of Nirmalaya, four Mountaineers made the blunder by not just trespassing but harassing tribe of Yeti. The mischief of four didn't just cost their life but people of Nirmalaya as well.  In Nirmalaya,  there were many folklores about white monsters,  but events, after disaster made them, realized that something sinister had awakened. They contacted a group of elite hunters to kill this monster.  Would these professionals be able to tackle it? Read more to know about the story. 

Alpha Yeti is a perfect combo of Horror,  Action,  Adventure & Thriller. Especially I was not expecting the horror part, which surprised me multiple times. I remembered reading it in the night when one or two such scenes came and I got scared for a moment. Coming to writing style,  it was a straight narration style and simple language usage. I agree many characters were added in this short book which could have been avoided. The best part was the way scenes were portrayed which makes reader visualize them. The author had promptly used controversy theories around Yeti.  

Overall a nice light read.  I feel that Indian audience needs such light multiple genre books. It could be a good companion on trips. 

Talking about Ratings
  1. Cover - 4/5
  2. Concept - 4/5
  3. Characters - 3/5v
  4. Oerall - 3.5/5
Book can be found at - Amazon
Review 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.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

A Must Read Historical Fiction - The Peshwa - War of the Deceivers

You call it timing or coincidence but my review of "The Peshwa: The Lion and the Stallion" helped me capture this wonderful piece of literature. After reading 1st part if you were delighted then this part will give you feelings of Enchanted. If you have given less than 5 stars to the 1st part then this will be a sure-shot 5 star. And those who have given 5 stars to part one (likes of me) have to think about what next. The best part about or I would say the most attractive part of the book should be the cover & Ram has done it consecutively second time by coming with awesome cover art. Even if I haven't got the book as an honest review copy I would have acquired it.


Book Blurb
Seven years have passed since Peshwa Bajirao Bhat annihilated the Nizam’s armies at Fort Mandu. The two forces have been engaged in attacks and skirmishes ever since. Acting on the advice of his right-hand man, the mysterious Anaamik Dabhade, the Peshwa now sets about laying a trap to truly ensnare the Mughals, and break their might.

The Empire, of course, has methods of its own. And Nizam Ul Mulk is itching for an opportunity to exact revenge of the formidable Bajirao. With assassins, saboteurs and criminals infiltrating the Maratha lands, the Mughal Empire scores as many victories in the night as the Peshwa does during the day. 
Meanwhile, in the far reaches of the country, set ablaze by the never-ending conflict between these major powers, a Sikh warlord, a Rajput king and a Bundela princess find themselves increasingly tangled up in the endgame that will determine the very course of history. It is a battle of wits and skill, and the greatest deceiver of them all will prevail.
The story continues 7 years later from the point where Bajirao defeated Nizam. By that time Bajirao had proved his mettle. He had expanded Maratha borders way broader than his father. His strategies and war tactics had made him invincible in the last 7 years. His way of living life of a normal soldier among his army made him favorable in eyes of soldiers. They gave him the name - Ballal. He had strategically shifted his base to Pune (to the army base of Maratha) which had provided him autonomy and stronghold over the army. But that was just visible happiness in his life and confederation, the scorpions had started tactics of terrorism within Maratha. Many allies of Maratha were found dead in accidents, fire, riots etc. Peshwa knew the group responsible for the same, but he could not curb them from the darkness. Coming to romance part, this volume contains the love story of Rao and Mastani. How princess of Bundelkhand entered into life of Rao and how they fell for each other. The story covers how Rao a brahmin married a Muslim girl and fought against all odds. There are more than 10 threads of stories I have just mentioned 3-4. Don't forget the old foe, Nizam. He was not sitting idle as well. He was planning something sinister.

There are 5 reasons I would call this book a masterpiece.
  • Characters - The way characters unfolded, you can visualize their traits and behavior. For me, the main characters that will make you dive deeper are Bajirao, Mastani, Nizam.
  • The story built up - The way plot was written, you can compare or see it as a movie scene.
  • Sure shot page turner - You won't feel bored or to leave the book in between.
  • Strategies & Tactics - The Bajirao-Mastani movie had romance part only, but above love, Rao's loyalty to Sword & War was discussed in this book. The reason why his tactics are part of many of the countries army training can be found in this book.
  • Philosophy & explanation - Ram has taken considerable efforts in explaining the philosophical impact of various events in history.
In short, if you found part one good, this one is far better. If you didn't like part one, still I insist you should give this part a try. It will change your opinion about the series. 

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

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

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Getting Kids to Love Reading Again by Bil Richardson

I have a passion for getting kids to read.  I became the stepfather of a son who doesn’t like to read and found out from the parents of his classmates that this is a very common problem.  I also did some research and learned that the number of kids who never read for pleasure has tripled since 1984 and boys are half as likely to read as girls.  As a result of this I wrote a book aimed at getting kids who are the age of my son to read (middle school). 

Since then I have been going into classrooms trying to get young people interested in reading.  I make the sessions fun and active and here is what I do.  I open by asking who likes to read and who doesn’t.  In the 5th and 6th grades only about 20-25% say they don’t like to read.  By 7th and 8th grade the numbers invert and about 80% say they don’t like to read.  That is a huge shift in a year or two.  I then ask who likes movies, TV and nearly all raise their hands.  I ask about video games and almost all the boys raise their hands but only about a quarter of girls do.  

Then in a very dramatic way I say here’s a phrase you’ve never heard.  Call of Duty changed my life.  Super Mario Brothers changed my life.  That movie Finding Nemo changed my life.  This usually gets a laugh.  And then I say, but millions of people will tell you the story of how a book changed their life.  I then proceed to tell them about two books that changed my life.  

Kids get bored if you just talk so I then change things up with an exercise.  I ask them to close their eyes and picture something I describe.  Often I use the image of an elephant in ruby slippers who gets up on two legs and dances.  Most laugh when they picture this.  Then we talk about what they saw and the fact that we had a shared experience in which I put an image in their head that was in mine.  Then I ask what color their elephant was and what the slippers looked like and finally what kind of dance their elephant did.  Each of course sees the image a bit differently and I ask why.  The reason is that they all bring their own experiences and imagination to what they see.  

Next I pick up a book and tell them why reading is different from any other kind of entertainment or learning.  I have been making movies for 30 years and I explain that watching films or TV is a passive experience.  All you do is sit there and look at the things the director wants you to see.  But with a book you put part of yourself into the experience.  Just like with the elephant exercise, part of the experience is what the writer wants you to see but part is what you bring to the story.  So the final result of reading is that it is part the author but part the reader.  No other medium can give you that experience and it’s quite magical.  

Then I shift gears a bit and talk to the kids about stories.  Everyone likes stories even if they don’t like to read.  I explain that all TV, movies, books or even video games (that have a plot) have a story.  And all stories are built on a simple formula.  There is a main character, who has a goal and between that character and their goal are obstacles that they have to overcome.  Then we do a very fun exercise in which I tell them I’m going to be the main character and I point to a place in the back of the room and say getting to it is my goal.  Their job is to be the obstacles.  Then I ask if they think they can keep me from getting to my goal.  They usually become very invested in trying to stop me.  I then dash to try and reach my goal and the entire class tries to stop me.  No class yet has been able to keep me from reaching my goal but we all have loads of fun in the process.  

It takes a few minutes to get them settled down and then I give them an exercise to do later on their own.  I say, write your own story.  Make yourself the main character.  Think of a real goal you have and write down the list of obstacles between you and your goal.  Then write your story how you are going to overcome those obstacle and reach your goal.  I explain that if they do this, then at the lest they may find they like writing or come up with a good story.  But another thing they’ll get in their real life is that they may also come up with a plan to help them reach a real goal.  And that this exercise can be a tool they use their entire life to help reach their goals.  At this point they are usually pretty quiet and thoughtful.  

I close by telling them that they are at an important time in their lives.  This is when you start trying to figure out who you are, what you’re good at and even what you might want to be.  They are also at the age I was when I started writing.  So they should take advantage of being in this stage.  Try new things, experiment – maybe you’ll find you like writing and reading more than you thought.  Maybe you’ll discover something else about yourself.  

At the end we have a Q&A and topics range from writing to life to travel to making films and many other things.  Finally I read a chapter from a book I’ve written.  For middle schoolers I read from The Frankenstein Adventures and tell them I’m donating a copy to the school library and they can find it there if they want to read it.  I then point out that they have a chance read a book written by an author that they’ve met and that is a pretty rare thing.  All of this is designed to try to get the kids to read.
The response from these sessions has been pretty amazing and anyone wanting to schedule an activity at their school can reach me through my website or social media.  There is nothing more important to the future of our nation than having a literate population.  As an author this is what I’m doing to help contribute to that.  



We would like to thank Bil Richardson - the author of "The Frankenstein Adventures" for sharing a wonderful post. Information about his latest books can be found at Amazon India and Amazon USA


Meet Bo Wu - The author of Mermaids are Real - The Mystiq Prong

There is nothing better than reading YA fantasies. Last week we have read and reviewed "Mermaids Are Real: The Mystiq Prong". Today we got chance to interview Bo Wu to know more about the book.



Can you please brief us about your personal & professional background?
I was born and raised in Eastern North Carolina. I studied Communications at East Carolina University, but I didn’t start learning about life until I left the States at the age of 28 and started traveling around the world.

I’ve been a dishwasher, greenskeeper, painter, and general handyman. I was a stockbroker/financial advisor, scuba diving instructor, shoe salesman, bartender, waiter, and teacher. I’ve run a backpacker joint/bar, and toyed around with web design. I’ve worked in PR, content development, and the travel industry. I never drove a taxi, although I thought it would have been a fun thing to do for a while.
What were you like at school/college apart from studies?
During my university days, I was lost. I played much more than I studied. I didn’t want to be a Dr. or lawyer, so a specialized education wasn’t up my alley. My dad told me to get a degree and get it over with, and that’s pretty much the path I followed.
Do you read much and if so who are your favorite authors? Which author inspires you the most?
I read quite a lot. Recently, because of some poor choices I made when I was younger, I’ve been indulging in non-fiction, mostly looking for ways to heal my body.

I love a good story. Harry Potter, Game of Thrones, Dune, The Shining. I love a wordsmith that masters the ability to paint a vivid picture while still moving the story along smoothly. I’m still working on that balance for my own work.
When did you start writing?
I’ve always been praised for my writing, but, for some reason, I ignored that for the longest time. My first shot at writing out of school was when I worked as a stockbroker. I wrote monthly updates for the local newspaper about the economy and the stock market.
When did you decide to become a writer?
While I was living in Ho Chi Minh, I started working with a friend who did web development. I wrote the content for his customers that wanted something a little more than what they thought they were capable of writing on their own.
What are your ambitions for your writing career?
I am currently teaching English in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. I’ve had a good run at teaching, but I’d like to hang up those shoes and write full time. My goal is to get to the point where I can do that.
Do you have a special time to write, or how is your day structured to accommodate your writing?
A few years ago, I started making my health my first priority. Ever since then, the rest of my life has fallen in behind that. I have more energy, and I’m definitely more creative. When I am writing, I do my exercise routine first and then write.
What genre are your books?
I thought when I started marketing Mermaids Are Real that it was Young Adult, but I’ve had several people tell me it leans more on the Middle-Grade side. I’ve also had people tell me it’s for everyone. It’s definitely suited for a younger audience, but I think anyone who loves a good adventure would appreciate this book.
Can you describe your current book in few lines? What’s it about?
Young outcast learns there’s a reason he sticks out. After a recruitment speech from a few marine creatures, he heads to his real home, a home filled with adventure, magic, and talking fish, or course.
Give us an insight into your main character.
Benji’s a typical teenager. He’s uncomfortable in his own skin and trying to find his way in the world. He finds out he’s a merman and he’s got a lot of company waiting for him. He’s witty smart with a pretty good sense of humor.
Where did you get the idea for this book?
The idea popped into my head while I was meditating a few years ago. It was one of those ideas that don’t go away. I’m glad it didn’t. It’s taken me on a very eventful ride.
How much research did you do for this book?
I researched names, mythology, and looked on Google Maps from time to time, but for the most part, this entire universe that I created popped out of my noggin.
Who is your favorite character in your book and why?
I love them all for one reason or another. Sandival is a candy cane-striped shrimp that works with the Dr. He’s funny. Grumpy funny. I like when he’s in a scene.
Who is your least favorite character and why?
Benji’s neighbor, Charlie, is a nuisance. He’s a bully, and I don’t have much use for him as a person. As a character, he obviously serves his purpose. But like all bullies, Charley has his own issues, so you have to empathize with him as well.
What was the toughest thing about writing your latest book?
The writing process was fun, but it wasn’t as smooth as I had hoped for. I moved twice while I was writing and that disrupted things, but I’m not at all sure if I didn’t purposefully do that to myself. It’s amazing the barriers we put up in front of us, the things we do to jeopardize our own success. I’d like to think I didn’t do that, but it just jumped out on the page as I was typing this response, so I may have. If I did, I’d like to think I won’t do that again.
Can  you tell us critic and overall ratings you have received for "Mermaids Are Real"?
I published Mermaids Are Real on July 24, 2018.
What are you working on at the minute?
Right now, I’m working on the marketing for this book. To add another shade to the question you asked before about the hardest part about writing the book, this has been the hardest. I used to be a social person. I think that part of me was pretty fake, though as I didn’t really enjoy it. Actually, I really didn’t enjoy it at all. I’ve had to battle against that as I push the book, and that’s been hard.
What are your thoughts on writing a book series?
That’s actually what I’m working on. I have the premise for the next book. I’ve done a rough outline. I’m waiting to slow down on the marketing of the first book and put a few things in that regard on autopilot so I can begin focusing my energy on the next book. The marketing drains me and my creative energy. It’s frustrating, and I don’t have much control. I’m in complete control when I write. I miss that.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
If I could go back and do anything different, I would have used Goodreads much earlier in the process. I used a group of beta readers that I found through friends and family. If I could go back, I’d use Goodreads for that to help build more momentum coming out of the gate.
Thanks so much for giving me the opportunity to do this interview. I appreciate the extra exposure and look forward to sending your team the next book…..somewhere in the future.

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

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