Sunday, July 21, 2019

Book Review - Narasimha - The Mahaavatar Trilogy 1 - Author Kevin Missal

Kevin Missal has created 3 mast pieces in last 4 years. I have included Narasimha in the calculations. Just like Amish Tripathi who has created his universe were normal human reached the title of Gods. Kevin has taken alternate storytelling. Unlike Amish, who shows things either based on science and non-magical, Kevin has taken the support of myth and magic. In his Kalki series, Kevin is talking about the story of Kalki avatar. Again before finishing that he has started a new series. And this time he has taken an avatar which is not touched in details except as a tormentor of Hiranyakashipu.

Book Blurb
Narasimha, once a brave soldier, has left the war and lies low as a physician in a village. But a familiar face from his past seeks his help to stop the tyranny of the blind usurper Andhaka. If Narasimha refuses, the world might just end. What will he do? And why did he leave the war in the first place? Prahlad, the interim king of Kashyapuri, is torn between the ideals of his unrighteous father and his love for Lord Vishnu. Whom will he choose? Hiranyakashyap, the ruler of the Asura Empire, wants to avenge the death of his wife. To do that, he must go through the Trials and get the ultimate weapon - the Brahmastra. But the Trials have sent so many others to their death. Can Hiranyakashyap survive?
The story started with Indra's attack on Kashyapuri capital of Asura kingdom when king Haranyakashipu was away in Pataal. Indra broke truce that he made with Asura king. During the attack one of the Simha killed Kayadhu, Hiranya's wife. This started never-ending fights between Asura & Deva once again. This made the situation worst for whole Bharatvarsha. In a distant village, a Simha, named Nara, was approached by Indra to rejoin Deva camp. This Nara is our protagonist, avatar Narasimha. Nara joined Bhairav current Shiva. Shiva and his Gana's were being attached by lunatic Andhaka, son of previous Asura king Hiranyaksh. There was something sinister about Andhaka, Shiva's army had killed him a couple of times and whenever he was killed two of them arose. Andhaka asked help from the king, who sent his elder son Anuhard for help. Hiranya left his younger son Prahalad to handle matters of the kingdom and made him active king. Prahalad liked the idea of hope and had the second mind in joining a rebellious group called Vishnusena. Read the book to know more.

Just like Kalki Narasimha is also full of subplots. Each side has a certain group of important character which runs the flow. You will get multiple characters to plug yourself. I think you will put this book into "Unputable" category. The narration style is parallel in multiple plots, which contains suspense and thrill level intact. You can read it like cutting a cheese case. You won't stick to a page, you will keep turning them. 

Kevin has linked many real-world problems in his fiction. Like the concept of the extremist terrorist group called Vishnusena. You may relate their ideas to today's world terrorist groups. Written for 15+ age group, with easy language. No flaunting of literary prowess. All that matters for Kevin is the interest of readers, which is intact from Prologue to Epilogue. 

Well, nothing less would be expected after reading two parts of Kalki series. He has touched the same level of Kalki in Narasimha.

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

Alternate Narration of Mahabharata - I, Duryodhana by Pradeep Govind - A Book Review

The epic Mahabharata has given inspirations to hundreds of Indian author. I have read many of those works. Literature freedom has helped many authors to bring alternative views as well. i.e. If you question doubtful incidents of Mahabharata (by Ved Vyasa) then curiosity will irrupt in you. You may think whether protagonists of Vyasa's narration were that crystal clear and antagonists of the story were really that sinister. And such questions make you realize that there are some gray areas on both sides of characters. Just because Pandava's won the war, they got a clean chit from narrators? Have you ever thought about this?

Well, I got these doubts when I read Ajaya series by Anand Neelkanthan or I would say he sowed seeds of questioning against the epic. After that, I have read Mahabharata from various POVs, Yudhisthira, Bhima, Karna, Arjuna, Kunti, Draupadi, Bhishma, (even) Shakuni. As mentioned Anand's Ajaya was with Duryodhana as Protagonist. So when I got the chance to read another book in the same line, I didn't think twice. So here I am discussing the book. That was about other books I have read around Mahabharata. Let's talk about "I, Duryodhana"

"I, Duryodhana" is written more in a biography style. Duryodhana's life starting from his birth to the end of the war was depicted from his point of view. In normal Mahabharata, Duryodhana was always questioned against his actions but never was seen as a victim of the situation. His birth was right was challenged by his cousins whose birth themselves were questionable. Duryodhana has given importance of merits over birth by acknowledging Karna's superiority over arms. But that was questioned based on the caste system. He had bigger armies than Pandavas but all of his key warriors were killed by deceit, still, that was justified on the name of Dharma. He was betrayed by the people he trusted the most. Now you tell me whether you see a victim or a culprit in Duryodhana. I am not telling the exact story as it is as per Mahabharata only difference is the point of view.

The book is written in medium pace, with most of the detailed relevant to Duryodhana. Well, anger, jealousy, greed are the weakness of the human mind. The story shows these weakness were on both sides, maybe on Duryodhana side it would be slightly more. But that doesn't make one villain, which happened with him. If he and his allies would have been alive they would be able to give an exact story of Duryodhana. 

I know we have been taught not to question. So those who believe in Mahabharata as they learn since their childhood may avoid reading this book. But those who like to read and explore a various version of the story must try this book. The language usage is lucid, you won't stick to any page. The reasoning in every action and scene will make you turn pages fluently. The characterization is wonderful. 

I will give 4/5 stars to this well-researched book.

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

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Book Review - Wise Investments : A Simple Guide by Dr. S. Thirumalai Kolundu

Book Blurb
Recently, when I was going for a walk along with two paediatricians, I asked them a million dollar question that was lingering in my mind for a very long time. That question was, “What is the ideal age for retirement for consultants like us?” After a long pause, one of them answered, “It is not possible for us to retire as we don’t know anything else other than our profession.” Yes, in one way it is true but there is one more thing to be considered. Even after entering my sixties, I am not sure whether I have attained financial independence so that I can retire happily.
This book is a small endeavour to make common man understand the basics of finance to invest intelligently in an innovative way and to take steps to achieve financial independence at an earlier age to lead a happy retired life.
"Personal Finance" A very critical part of each one of life. A must-know thing in life for betterment and comfort life. Many people find it very tough while deciding about their finances. Because one has to acquire knowledge in many aspects like taxation, traditional investments, equities, insurances, etc. Personal finance is a subject which requires planning of finance for every situation of life's finance requirement like an emergency fund, insurance, investments instruments, retirement planning, etc,

"Wise Investment" is one of the books which one may read to acquire enough knowledge for starting their finances. The writer has written a book in so simple language that anyone can understand the concepts of finance so easily. This book is for every person who has started their financial planning. 

After reading this book one will find all the answers for personal finance related questions like where to invest? What are the investment options? Why finance planning required? When should start finance planing? And many more questions come to our mind.

In the book, one will find a very good example of the importance of investment in early age. It impacts a lot if you delay in your financial planning. One who starts early investing at an early age has quite advantageous over who delays it. It has shown what factors are important for financial planning.

This book has covered the detail of shares like what is it? How one can invest? What are government regulatory bodies to monitor and control it? What is their tax calculation what is short term capital gain? What is long term capital gain? The expected return and risk in this investment type has very well explained.

It has explained mutual fund in very much depth. The type of mutual funds with the type of return they give and risk involved in it. How taxation applies in a different type of mutual fund investments. Also shared which type of mutual fund is good for different age of people. other instruments for investment like PF, PPF, FD, Post office NSC, Gold, their ROI and their tax applicable on it. In personal finance, insurance has a major role. Health insurance life insurance, term insurance and other different types of insurance policies their tax benefits and why it is must plan for it as well. The writer suggests one should plan for their retirement planning as well to live the same lifestyle without earning one has to plan it very carefully.

In overall I find this book very much helpful for planning my finances for betterment of my lifestyle, planing for my children education marriage, My retirement planning, planning for the security of my family by buying health insurance term insurance.

Although I would also share there is a printing mistake from chapter 14 where one has to read from the last page in a backward fashion. But it is ignorable in front of the knowledge which helps us in our future.

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

Friday, July 12, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

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

A must-read.

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

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

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

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

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Book Review - Joy in Coorg by Tilak Ponappa

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

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

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

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

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

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

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

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

Monday, July 1, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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