Wednesday, September 11, 2019

The Hidden Children: The Lost Grimoire by Reshma K. Barshikar

I was getting The Hidden Children: The Lost Grimoire's reviews on my Twitter, Instagram and Goodreads timeline multiple times. Though I was knee-deep in the commitment of review work, my inner mind was not ready to miss the chance to read the book. I would like to thank AuthorsChannel for providing us a review copy in exchange for an honest review. What made me select this book
  • Wonderful cover
  • Interesting promising title
  • Chance to be the part of another wonderful book series
Book Blurb
Shayamukthy cruises through life: shooting hoops, daydreaming and listening to her favourite books. Even moving from the US to India, to a new school, a new culture, hasn't really rattled her. But something isn't right anymore and it begins when a New Girl joins the school.
She pulls Shui into a world of magic and wonderment, a world she has been hidden from all her life. What starts as a quest to look for a lost book, hurtles Shui into a world where people live in trees, talk to the dead and speak to butterflies.
But like all power, magic comes at a steep price and under all things wondrous lie demons waiting to crawl out. The more Shui learns, the more she doubts everything and everyone around her.
Will she be able to master her powers, or will they devour her and everyone she loves?
The protagonist of the story is Shyamukthy (Shui), a dyslexia girl of early teenage, who had only two friends in class or I would say in her life. The book is divided into two parts. The first one covers her life filled with problems and introduction with Ananya. This part shows how an introvert, shy girl with just 2 friends met new entrant and later on became the point of attraction. The second part covers mystical things where she could listen to animals and insects. This part is really interesting and makes your reading pace fast. I wish I could tell you to jump to this part directly, but how can I, when both are interlinked.

If you read regularly then you must have encounter books being damn interesting after going through first/introductory boring part, just like those movies which become interesting after intermission. That is what happened to me, after reading the first part, I went to Goodreads and checked what others are saying. Review of many people gave me an indication that if I had left it DNF I would have missed the main fun, so I continued.

A good YA concept and a good read. I will give
  1. Concept - 4/5
  2. Cover - 4/5
  3. Character  - 3/5
  4. Content - 2/5 (Deducted due to first boring portion)
  5. Overall - 3.75/5

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

Friday, September 6, 2019

Mutual Fund Investment by Salaried Investors: Identifying the Determinants

I do trading as well as investment in various mutual funds but usually I see risk (volatility) and 3 years return for investment. Never did I thought how volatility derived or how to see beyond 3 years return. But the recent issues arose in MF markets where the most secured considered category defaulted, I thought of going through detailed understanding of the backside scene. Being a salaried person I wanted to best utilise whatever small portion of amount I am investing in MF be it SIP or lumpsum. For the same purpose, I selected "Mutual Fund Investment by Salaried Investors: Identifying the Determinants" along with another book. 

Book Blurb
“Mutual fund investment by salaried investors: Identifying the determinants” is a book which attempts to throw light upon the determinants of mutual fund investment among the salaried investors. It is well-known fact that salaried class in India posses some unique characteristics which place them in a different category than that of other investors. This book address the issues directly associated with the salaried investors. Of late, a lot of research work is going on in the field of behavioural finance. This book is simply an extension of the work in the field of behavioural finance especially the areas which deal with respect to investment in mutual fund.
Studies in the area of behavioural finance especially related to the mutual fund investment, is gaining momentum in India and hence teaching, and research in this field is also increasing. There is dearth of good book on this issue. This book is expected to fill up that gap. The book is expected to make the lives of teachers, students, and researchers relatively easier. The knowledge received from this book will go a long way in shaping the future of education of behavioural finance in India.
This book was selected in the second position because of the serious look it has. Unlike the normal book, this one was designed more like an academic book. Content-wise book is proper technical with its detailed narrations. Starting with normal ROI to complex methods to analyze fund, the author has given with mathematical formula. I won't lie, but it took me a month to read this book. I also took the help of my CA friend for some concepts.

I would say the book is a technical one, and a normal person may need to give efforts to understand it. Language is academic and use of algebra and maths make is a serious read. You cannot just read it casually. I suggest take a pen & paper or excel sheet if you want to understand it.

Rating wise I am giving 3 out of 5 to this book.

Saturday, August 31, 2019

In Conversation with the Stars by Anupama Chopra

Outside fiction genre, books on Bollywood has taken a good share among my nonfiction genres. I have read more than a dozen books on Bollywood in the last 2 years. So I usually don't say no to this genre.

Book Blurb
In Conversation with the Stars is an extraordinary collection of curated interviews with some of the key figures of Hindi cinema. The artists discuss the art and craft of films on the Film Companion platform.
In each of the interactions, film critic Anupama Chopra deep dives into what makes an artist— from Shah Rukh Khan to Ranbir Kapoor, Anushka Sharma to Priyanka Chopra—tick, providing a window into the people behind the larger-than-life persona.
Through wide-ranging and in-depth discussions that make for a rich reading experience, these conversations also reveal how each of them grapple with both success and failure, and what it really means to be in the spotlight. This is a sparkling look into the lives and work of some of the most glittering stars of Indian cinema.
Earlier books I have read on Bollywood were either based on short biography collection (one of them was a biography), the contribution of production houses, movies & personality towards the cinema. This time I got my hands on conversation records. And most of the celebrities covered in the book are from the current age. The author Anupama Chopra (wife of Vidhu Vinod Chopra) runs a website Film Companion. Her site's motto is to bring some of the deepest stories/emotions by asking correct questions. When I have read the introductory part of the book where she discussed Bachchan sir's comment on the interview, I got the idea that the book won't be a boring one.

True to the introduction of the book, interviews that are covered in this book are
  • Genuity, where instead of the same questions, the individuality of question can be seen from personality to personality
  • Conversation Tone - You will find proper dialogs throughout each interview.
  • Props - During interviews Anupama has presented various video, audio related to the celebrity which has brought some hidden story behind it. Readers like to read such experiences
  • Quality of question - Yes indeed proper homework was done before each interview, which can be seen in those questions.
My favorite interviews are
  • Ranveer Singh
  • Saif Ali Khan
  • Hrithik Roshan
  • Priyanka Chopra
You will also find some clicks from these interviews. The book is designed so well that even though it is a paperback you can call it semi-hardcover. A nice read indeed.

  • Cover - 4/5
  • Content - 4.5/5
  • Overall - 4/5
Book can be found at Amazon & Flipkart
Review from other readers can be found at GoodReads

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Alternate Mythology - All lies says Krishna - a Book Review

I have read many versions of Krishna, still my hunger for one more never satiated. Last month only I have read Yugpurusha. And as Janmasthami was near, I took another book, which was "All Lies, Says Krishna" by J. Rajasekharan Nair. Just to tell you I have read stories where Krishna was shown as a shrewd politician than a god, so my acceptance level with the creativity of writer is flexible. I like to read alternate history/mythology and I accept it open-mindedly.

Book Blurb
Its thirty-six years after the Great War of Kurukshetra. The curse of a bereaved mother has deprived Krishna of everything, except his life. And so he journeys to Vrindavan, the village of his innocence, to spend the concluding hours of his life with his childhood friend and lover, Radha. In her presence, Krishna peels off the layers of myth that portrayed him as the incarnation of God. And at her request, he retells the story of the Mahabharata, like you have never heard before. All lies, says Krishna is an emotional journey into the tortured inner universe of its central characters, focusing more on their flailings than on their heroism. A charismatic retelling of the Mahabharata, this compellingly told narrative has a distinctive voice which sets it apart from anything you have ever read.
"All Lies" is one such attempt. If you believe Krishna was all godly, he doesn't have any gray patches, then you should avoid this book. If you would like to flow with Authors imagination then you may try this book.

Years after Mahabharata war when Krishna's fame spread in whole Bharatvarsha as a demi-god, he lost his kingdom Dwarika due to family feud & nature's wrath. He was sort of lonely. He left for Gokul/Vrindavana in search of his childhood friends & his love (Radha). When he reached there and met Radha after years of separation, two souls yearned for each other, they found solace. Here in front of Radha Krishna revealed some of his darkest secrets. He cleared out that he was merely a human who controlled things with his wisdom, wit & cunningness. Though completely imaginary in words of the author, you may question some of the belief you had about Krishna.

As I said the book need open-mindedness for acceptance. The pace is medium. You can easily read out the book because of the ease of language usage. I like the way cover designed, though not a single character is used in cover art, the way colors merged gives an impression of Krishna's "Morpankh - Peacock Feather". Talking about newness, yes you will find a new perspective for sure.

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

Monday, August 26, 2019

Book Review - Yoga & Stress Management by Acharya Yatendra

We have read 2-3 books on Yoga previously. Books like them may (or may not) help you directly, but indirectly they make you aware of wrong habits, rituals, schedules that you follow every day. Your conscious/subconscious mind make changes with/without you noticing it. I have observed it, like the way I to sit on the chair during office hours, the timing of meals and much more. So when I saw "Yoga & Stress Management" by Acharya Yatendra, I thought of reading it, before age and stress make me visit doctors/consultants for the same.

Book Blurb
Yoga & stress management is a therapeutic guide for those dealing with mental and physical stress, as well as a reference book for healthy living. Although urban work culture has greatly improved the individual economic status, it has grossly diminished. Nature’s endowments. While modern psychology effectively helps in creating an awareness of what causes this, the Yoga philosophy is capable of changing one’s overall attitude towards life. This book combines both and provides valuable guidelines, tips, and techniques. Yoga offers the complete toolkit to deal with psychological and psycho-somatic disorders that are globally on the rise. With yogic techniques one can understand the nature of human consciousness and attain its higher stages. Using yogic practices like meditation and Pranayama, one can delve deep within and connect the body and mind to the inner self. By enhancing the latent energy in man, yoga offers a holistic solution to erase conflicts, suppression, and sensitivity.
You know the first thing I did once I started the book, I filled the stress test. I am glad my score is below 50 which means I am not stressed. But the book changed the way I nurture thoughts. My point is book starts with a stress test and then explain to you what is stress, what are different types of stress are there. Following that comes minerals, vitamins, and food intake section. The gem of the book is 14 advises, I loved them. That section follows the actual Yoga Asana & Pranayama.

Those who are thinking that the book is full of Asana & Pranayama are wrong. The book is written with full Yoga as subject to help our stress levels. And if you are aware that you must be knowing yoga is not just Asana & Pranayam. The book has done justice to both stress management & yoga.

Good points
  • Easy language & narrative
  • Good illustrations/pictures
  • Informative and practical
  • Dept of subject
Improvement - Could have given more examples in some places.

Overall a nice book. I will give 3.5/5 to it.

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

Murder Mystery - the Secret of the Palamu Fort - Book Review

I was attracted to the book, ever since I saw its cover almost 4 months back. At that time book was yet to publish, but the cover was damn good and I just wanted to read it. I would like to thank Author Razi for providing me the review copy in exchange for an honest review. I have read stories based on many states of India, the secret of fort Palamu is my first read on Jharkhand state. So I was excited to read it.

Book Blurb
Someone has risen from the dead and is haunting the sinister ruins of the Palamu Fort, situated in the mystical land of Jharkhand.

A few hundred kilometers from the fort, in the capital city Ranchi, a History Professor of St. Xavier’s college is murdered at his home. The witnesses claim he was killed by a ghost! 
The police is clueless. Inspector Patrick Minj ropes in Detective Robin Horo, who unearths a clue which indicates that the murder has a bloody trail running as far as 350 years in the history of Jharkhand. A poisonous conspiracy was plotted centuries ago in the Kingdom of Palamu that designed the downfall of an empire and forced the king to hide his legacy in the unforgiving and indifferent womb of time. 
The ghost is leaving behind a trail of dead bodies and to solve the case Robin has nothing but an Artifact that is said to have an ancient curse over it and a centuries old riddle that if solved, could lead to an Elixir. 
Witness the conspiracy unfolding that spans 350 years in the making and takes Robin and his companions on a labyrinthine adventure involving deadly secrets, dangerous threats and a lethal encounter with a beast in the jungles of Palamu.
As the title suggests the story is linked with historical references, it even contains a certain portion of historic events. The protagonist of our story is Robin Horo, a private detective, acknowledged by the state's chief minister. Robin is well-known in media. The story started with the murder case, where police came to Robin for consultation. As per police and alibis murder was done by a Ghost. And they cannot work on an entity which didn't exist. Robin readily agreed. His involvement didn't stop further crimes, one more murder happened along with a few more attacks. How will Robin solve the case when everyone except him wanted to avoid further investigation.

On the other side, 350 years back, Raja Medini Ray recruited a boy name Satyabhama in his royal guards. Later on, he gave Satyabhama a task. In current time, the ghost attacking people has same name Satyabhama. Do read the book to know what is the mystery behind the Ghost of Satyabhama.

As mentioned earlier, this is my first read on Jharkhand, so the only strange thing I found was the names of characters. (though they are Indian, I found many of them unheard of) Else the book is as smooth as butter. I have finished it in 3 days (total reading hours less than 6 for 250 pages). Language usage is simple, you won't face vocabulary issues. The plot & suspense is well maintained. You will keep turning pages till the end. Even the climax is wonderfully portrayed.

Along with the story, the author has done a wonderful job of bringing the face of Jharkhand to its readers. Believe it or not, the state is full of natural beauty but ignored by the majority of people. If a movie or series can be planned on this book, it can promote tourism for Jharkhand.

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

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Book Review - It's Never a Break-up in Love by Avijitt SSood

"It's Never a Break-up in Love" is an interesting title. When I saw it the first time, I was having mixed feelings for the book, as the book cover was an average one. (I am kind of bookworm who likes attractive covers) But the impression of the title was stronger than the cover, so the copy landed up in my hands.

Book blurb
Is it okay to love twice or to be in love with a person who loves someone else? Is it okay to let your feelings die when you still have the hope to save your relationship? What would you do if your heart still pound for the one who has left you? Is this true that an invisible, slender thread always binds the people who are in love? What would you do if you were in any of these situations? Only those who are in true love are blessed to understand what it takes to love. Would Akshita, Aarav and Ananya ever come to realize what their real desires are? The only way to explore would be to embark on the chaotic and surreal emotional journey of love.
Talking about the story, "It's Never a Break-up in Love" is a story between 3 characters Aarush, Akshita and Ananya. Yes, it is a love triangle. I think generation Z will be able to relate it more than others. Characters & story are divided into London & India. The writing style is different, where each chapter leaving behind curiosity and the next one clearing those doubt. 

Points that I observed about the book
  • Easy language usage. (at places some mistakes but can ignore them)
  • Short in length. Finished it in 2 sittings.
  • Felt many places were left unexplained, could have been placed better
  • A weak cover
If you like to read love stories, you will find the book a good proposition.

Will give 3/5 to the book.

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