Wednesday, August 30, 2017

The Prince of Patliputra by Shreyas Bhave

In last one year, I have read more than 5 books either on Chanakya or Patliputra and trust me this book can easily stand out. Chanakya used to say "Never tell your secrets to anyone" and he never told his secrets of how he made Chandragupta the Samrat of Bharatvarsha. It's up to speculations and imaginations of authors to portray the story. In the first part of Asoka Trilogy, Shreyas has done it really nicely.

Book blurb
272 BC, Bharathvarsha, Land of the Aryas....
Samrat Bindusar, son of Chandragupta and the second Samrat Chakravartin of all the Aryas rules over the massive subcontinent from his holy seat in Patliputra. Almost five decades ago, his father had laid the foundations of this vast Samrajya guided by the famed Guru Arya Chanakya. But now, the wealth and glory of the past has subsided...
As the Samrat’s health continues to decline due to an unknown illness, problems are arising all over his realm. There is infighting and rebellion. No clear successor to him is present. Ninety nine of his sons stand in line waiting for his throne...
Bharathvarsha needs a Chandragupta once again. And it needs a Chanakya too. Can the young Prince Asoka, who is the least favorite son of the Samrat, fill in the boots of his grandfather? Can Radhagupta, a mere Councilor of the Court be what Chanakya was to all the Aryas?
Begin a new adventure with the first book of the Asoka trilogy as you read to find the answer to one great question-
'That who shall be the next Samrat of this holy land of the Aryas?'

Well, the story has two parallels. One around Chandragupta's ascent to the throne of Taxila and another around Ashoka's efforts to subdue rebels of Avanthi. Chandragupta's part starts with Alexander's invasion and finishes with Chandragupta's was preparation against Patliputra. Ashoka's part starts from him being Vaishya class son of king Bindusar joining the army as a normal soldier to the general in the army. The book ends where Ashoka took resolve to take Samrat-ship and kill his brother Sushem. Chandragupta has Chanakya while Ashoka had Chanakya and Radhagupta. Every author who has written around Chanakya have added some level of fantasy or fiction part. Shreyas has added the Ancient Brahminical Order. The order was founded by Ajatshatru, who had also founded Patliputra. Chanakya had even outwitted that order for greater good. We will have to wait for the next part to see what happens in war.

I know I have taken more than 2 weeks to finish the book, but it was due to my busy schedule. If I have got the normal time that I used to get earlier I would have finished the book in 2-3 days. The book is written with a proper thought process. The work looks more like a matured author's than a debut one's. 

My short review doesn't indicate I liked this book lesser. I am surely recommending it to others. I would like to thank Sheetal from HaloofBooks for arranging this wonderful review copy for us. The only thing that author should look into would be the book cover. I know map was drawn not considering measurement, but it still doesn't look like Bharata at all. Rivers and kingdoms look alien. 

Talking about ratings
  1. Cover - 2.5 / 5 (Need proper map)
  2. Concept - 4 / 5
  3. Characters - 4.5 / 5 
  4. Content - 3/5
  5. Overall - 4/5
Book can be found at - Amazon & Flipkart
Review from other readers can be found at GoodReads

Friday, August 25, 2017

Round of Q&A with Santhosh Gangadharan Author of What Next?

We are back with another interesting book interview. We have Santhosh Gangadharan with us to discuss his latest book "What Next".

Santhosh before we move towards the discussion on your book, please tell us about yourself first. So tell us about your educational background.
I have done M. Tech in Chemical Engineering. 
Tell us about your college life.
During college, I was easy going with lot of friends. I used to play cricket in the college. During the final year, I was the Captain of the Engineering college cricket team
Which author inspire you the most?
I keep reading novels in English and Malayalam. I like Jeffrey Archer, Sidney Sheldon and Arthur Hailey. I have never looked at any authors as models for inspiration. I get inspiration from my son who is an avid reader and also into writing. He likes to talk about writing stories and novels, which is a matter of inspiration.
When did you start writing?
When I was 11 years old. Had written short stories and verses of which some got published in weeklies. Also wrote 6 Detective novels in Malayalam, which were never published. It was only a hobby. In the school I had received first prize for short story writing for two consecutive years.
When did you decide to become a writer?
In 2013, when I started writing my first novel in English, I decided that it could be an interesting hobby.
What are your ambitions for your writing career?
I want to keep writing short stories and novels, both in English and my mother tongue. Even if a few of my relatives and friends appreciate my writing, I am very happy. I will keep writing for them.
Do you have a special time to write, or how is your day structured to accommodate your writing?
There is no special time for writing. When I feel I am absolutely free to think and put down my thoughts, I write. During daytime, normally I will be in office. So I utilize the evening time for writing. But I have found that early morning hours are apt for writing. That’s when the thoughts and writing coordinate with each other in the best way to give a very fluid flow of events for the novel.
What have you written so far?
“What Next?” is my second novel. The first one is “Spinning into Oblivion” which was published by Partridge India during May 2015.
What genre are your books?
It is fiction – more like mystic thrillers.
Can you describe your current book "What Next" in few lines?
It deals with my theory of Voyage of Souls. The core story is about a lady’s unbreakable love and the adventure of her son to retrace the steps back to her. The outer story relates to a futuristic aftermath of the core story due to the voyage of a soul. 
Can we know about main characters of your story?
Fatma – The main character of the book. A village girl who falls in love with a stranger and is forced to elope with him.  But her staunch love brings back her husband and son, who were lost to her in an alien country.
Abhay – The son of Fatma and Abdulla - the boy without fear who succeeds in uniting his parents and finding out his roots.
Abdulla – The stranger who steals the heart of Fatma and becomes the father of the boy Abhay.
Pedro – The villain, haunting Abdulla alias Glauber
Where did you get idea for this book?
During the creation of Sohar Free Zone in Oman, they had found ancient tombs in a line on top of the mountains. The skeletons found in some these tombs were carbon dated to almost 2000 years. The idea of a person being entombed alive in one of these tombs generated the spark for this novel. The story is set in the Liwa / Sohar region of Oman, later shifting to Calicut in Kerala, which had trade links with the Arabs centuries back. The fact that the Portuguese had invaded Oman at the same time as they had reached the shores of Kerala made me connect the two places.
How much research did you do for this book?
I had to search for details of the way people used to live during the 15th century in Oman and Kerala and also to know more about the temples and Kalari payattu in Kerala.
Who is your favorite character in your book and why? (If applicable)
Fatma, the mother of the hero Abhay. The novel started to go in full flow with the description I could use on Fatma and seeing others through her eyes. Once I could develop my Fatma, the novel opened up very well for me.
What was the difficult part about writing your latest book?
Recreating the village scenario in Liwa, Oman
When was "What Next" released?
The book was released on 15th October 2016
What are you working on at the minute?
I have already written two Malayalam novels, which are under the process of publishing and editing respectively. I am thinking of a sequel for my first novel Spinning into Oblivion.
What are your thoughts on writing a book series?
Never had thought of.
How was your publishing experience with Leadstart?
Leadstart is a very author-friendly publishing house. The process of editing, design of cover and publishing was done in a systematic way at a fast pace. Since I was happy with them I had introduced Leadstart to a friend of mine who got her first novel published by Leadstart. 
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Keep a book of TIN, where you should note down your Thoughts, Ideas and Notions. Many things could get interconnected when you start writing your book.
Don’t discard things you see in your dreams. These could be sparks, which may help you in elaborating your TIN. 
Is there anything else you would like to add that I haven’t included?
Reading hard copies of books is a passion, which every aspiring writer should develop. That makes you live with the smell of letters. That is the best way to get inspired to write yourself.
Links for your book readers
We would like to thank Leadstart Publishers (Frog Books) for providing this opportunity to connect the author. Readers can check their wonderful collection of books by going through this link - Leadstart Books

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Practice is paramount - Says Kartik Sharma - Author of The Quest of the Sparrows

The Quest of the Sparrows was one of the best spiritual fiction I have read in this quarter. Today we have author Kartik Sharma with us, he would like to discuss his experience as a writer. 

So Kartik, can you tell us about your college life?
I am IIT Delhi and IIM Ahmedabad alumni. Talking about school-college life, I was very mischievous – a constant eye sore for my teachers / professors and in a love-hate relationship with most of them. I loved skating and was quite good at it. I have loved reading from ever since I can remember.
What are some day jobs you have held?
Investment Banking with Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Strategy Consulting with Accenture Management Consulting, Public Health with Clinton Health Access Initiative
Do you read much and if so who are your favorite authors? Which author inspire you the most?
I love reading and am constantly worried that I would die before finishing the novels in my bookshelves! This, however, does not stop me from buying more books all the time. I love the works of Milan Kundera, Kazuo Ishiguro, Salman Rushdie (before Joseph Anton) and Amitav Ghosh.
When did you start writing?
2005. I started with science fiction short stories and my first story won the ‘Best Entry’ award in the competition organized by Science Reporter magazine.
When did you decide to become a writer?
I was always passionate about writing. When my short story was critically reviewed and appreciated in my Indian Writing in English class at IIT Delhi in 2005 I realized that I write well too. That’s when I decided to try and write a novel.
What are your ambitions for your writing career?
That’s two fold, I suppose. A. The reward of knowing that someone, somewhere – a stranger who you would probably never meet – read something that you wrote and loved it or was moved by it. And B. For my ‘self’. My motivation is to create something beautiful and of real value. I see too many cynical people around and it’s so easy to be destructive and mock everything. To create something is challenging but at least it lets us be constructive. For me, it’s a beautiful, and a very powerful feeling to create a world and characters. Telling stories that people would read, enjoy and be moved by is a very motivating thought. I would go as far as saying that the only true joy I have felt is when I am writing. It’s the one thing that lets me forget everything, even eating and sleeping, and takes me into this zone which others have described as ‘The Flow’. For me writing is an essential part of self-actualization – something that helps me ascend from the mundane that’s everyday life of going to work, coming back home, watching TV, taking a few trips with loved ones, filing taxes, worrying about promotions and increments, buying a house or a car. It gives me a sense of purpose.
Do you have a special time to write, or how is your day structured to accommodate your writing?
This is one thing I don’t do well. I have tried to get into a writing routine – writing or editing 1000 words every day – but failed miserably. It still happens in creative bursts for me. I end up using my leaves locked-up in a room, writing for days together when I am in The Flow.
Is this your debut work? What have you written?
It’s a debut novel, but I have written a few science fiction short stories which are available on my website: Our second book, Daredreamers – A Startup of Superheroes has found a publisher and will hit the market shortly.
What genre are your books?
The genre is varied – philosophy, action, adventure, science fiction, slice of life, etc. but the underlying theme in most of my writing is self-discovery and following your heart.

Can you describe your current book in few lines? What’s it about?
The book is a work of fiction that chronicles Guru Partibhan’s search for the true meaning of life and the role of spirituality in it. It’s through his 600 km journey on-foot without material belongings with a group of followers that the readers find the right questions that they should be asking and also, hopefully, some answers.
The key message from the journey is that spirituality, unlike religion, does not end outside a church or temple. The book tries to show that spirituality is not an impractical, make believe concept. Rather, it is the thread that binds everything we do by helping us discover who we really are. It teaches the path of balance and seeking joy with what you have rather than constantly being joyless in search of something that you don’t yet have. It addresses the worries and insecurities that limit human potential and make us mere survivors – instead of evolutionary beings who can contribute with their unique talents and gifts.
Give us an insight into your main character.
When we meet Partibhan, he is like a raw, open wound. He is given a chance by his father, a famed Guru, to lead a motely crowd of seekers on a 600 km long journey on foot without any material belongings. In the group, there’s Nikhil who is disillusioned with life because of the havoc his ambition and success have wrecked in his personal life. He is trying to explore the meaning of life and seek redemption. There’s Sanjeev who is an atheist scarred in his childhood by his overly religious father and who is assigned to expose this young Guru as a fraud.
Where did you get idea for this book?
Watching a sparrow eat a few grains at the window sill outside my room on a warm winter day made me realize how content it seemed, despite it being frail. It ate to its heart content and flew away, leaving the grains behind. It did not take them for tomorrow. It made me think of our powerful life and the way we sometimes live. Hoarding more than necessary for the future. And the result is a sea of mediocrity in humans whereas the opposite of it should have been the result.
All the characters in the book exist in all of us and raise their heads at some or another during our life. We become mentors to some people and inspire them even while we doubt our own abilities. We toggle between extremities and realizing their futility, wonder what life really is about. We are the doubters who question the existence of God, the values of spirituality. And sometimes we become embittered when life doesn’t play out fair and square and decide to have our revenge against the inequality by adopting paths and outcomes that are questionable. We have tried to view spirituality from every angle that we find ourselves in, at some point of life.
What do you consider the most difficult part about writing latest book?
Our new book titled ‘Daredreamers-Startup of Superheroes,’ will appear shortly.  The hardest thing for us was to live up to the love and warmth we received from the readers of The Quest of the Sparrows.
We wanted to break from the serious mode and bring out humor and fun, explore our versatility as writers. But a book based only on fun would have created a splash, some ripples, then sink. It had to have relevance to what most people face in their life. A relatability with the challenges faced by young people who work in corporates. In other words, despite being anchored in fun it had to be meaningful and have an intrinsic value. Balancing these two aspects took us 6 years because we could not bring out a half-hearted attempt. We hope that this new book will be appreciated too.
The research for the incidents that happen in the book was also especially hard. We are prohibited by our publisher to say more at this point, but hopefully it will be evident when people read the book!
Can you provide trailer of your book?

Your book was released in 2011. If you don't mind, can you share us the response you received from readers and critics in last 6-7 years.
We have sold more than 7,000 copies in India as well as globally. The book regularly keeps hitting the No. 1 rank in spiritual best sellers on Amazon India. Reviewers and readers from the world over have liked our book and reached us out through mails, blogs, Goodreads, etc. with praise and how it affected them. Some have even compared it with Siddhartha!
What are you working on at the minute?
An action adventure novel called Daredreamers, which is expected to be released in early 2018! I am super excited about it.
What are your thoughts on writing a book series?
I am working on a science fiction trilogy – which could potentially be my next novel series. I think some stories are grand and demand a canvas that cannot be done justice to in one book. Like Mistorn by Brandon Sanderson and the Discworld by Terry Prachett. But writing a series for the sake of writing one is crass. For example, the Mockingjay trilogy. It would have been a wonderful single-novel story. But the trilogy was so full of repetition and unnecessary pages that you can actually just read book one and the last 50 pages of the third book as a complete story.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
  • Practice is paramount. Malcolm Gladwell will even go as far as saying that you should put in 10,000 hours of deliberate practice to be really good - the kind that separates you from the tens of thousands of writers. But 10,000 hours isn’t easy by any yardstick. That’s 4–5 hours of writing everyday for 5 years. At a slightly slower than average writing pace of 500 words/hour, that’s 5 million words. Assuming an average word count of 60–70K words per book, that’s more than 70 books!
  • So, for the first few books, you’ll need to learn how to survive. You need to take your wins, getting published for example is a big deal. A few people writing good reviews on your book - or better still coming up to you to say that you’ve done a good job with your book - is definitely the most amazing feelingThat helps you get better. Then comes a chance to thrive.
  • Another important thing is to read a lot. It helps you understand how to develop your arcs in a manner that would excite the readers. In writing, fortunately, it’s easy to learn from the best - so capitalize on that.
  • Write blogs when you are not working on your novel since that allows for a little more instant gratification (immediate reactions, feedback, etc.) compared to writing novels which have a cycle of at least 2 years from start to getting into the hands of readers. Blogging would also help you get to the Gladwell standard quicker - because those hours spent writing blogs also count.
Is there anything else you would like to add that I haven’t included?
Yes, we would like to include a note for our readers. Authors are nothing without their readers and this success is because of them. We can’t forget the reader, who took out time to review the book from a train journey because the book uplifted her spirit on a particularly blue Monday morning. Another wrote that the author was the most underrated writer in India. People who enjoyed the book made it a point to gift it to their friends and relatives, in bulk quantities. All we can do is express our deepest gratitude to such people. Their love, encouragement and support sustains the writer in us and makes our journey worthwhile.
Links for your book readers

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Vamsa - Quest for the Divine Calling by Kavitha Kalyan

I specially requested the review copy of Vamsa to the author. Sheetal from "Halo of books" helped me reach Kavitha. I would like to thank both the ladies for providing such a wonderful book. It took me few weeks to start this book, but I liked the slow paced story of Vamsa.

Book Blurb
A potent ritual in a forbidding forest shakes the peace around the village of Vamsa. When Ranga's world falls apart, he has no choice but to follow the last instruction given by his father. He finds himself heading into the mysterious world of spiritualism when he goes to Vamsa. With uncertainty looming around him, Ranga learns that the future is tough and beyond his understanding and yet there is a strong desire to go through with it in a hope to see his family again. With love blooming on one side and spiritual adventure on the other, he descends into Tantrik faith weaving his way through unbelievable experiences that leave him wondering what does he want most - his spiritual path or his lady love?
As mentioned in the subtitle, Vamsa is the story of Sadhak towards divine location/self-realisation. It is the story of Ranga, Veeru, Madhav, and Urvashi. Urvashi and Veeru belonged to Avanthi. Life was normal and boring for both. Adventurous Veeru heard some stories about the forest. He started venturing into the forest in the night and started witnessing some fearsome rituals. During the same time, Ranga entered into Urvashi's life. He was sent by Urvashi's father Vittala's peer Abhimara. Just like Urvashi, Ranga was not told about sacred sadhana by Abhimara. This opportunity gave birth to spirituality and mission oriented direction to the young generation. I don't want to reveal much of the story so I suggest readers check the book.

The book has multiple things
  • The Story Part - It is the bonding part for readers with book
  • A Sanskrit shloka (verses) at beginning of each chapter and in between few chapters. These shlokas were given to show us how a verse can be used to show means at multiple levels from verbal to spiritual level
  • Spiritual Part - Though given as story but one can easily find out that it is given for readers spiritual upliftment. I found it wonderful during divine journey segment.
The book reminded me "Tantric Curse" book by Anupama Garg to me. Vamsa's main aim was to enlight population about facts like
  • Tantric Vidhya / Sadhana is not just black magic.
  • Tantra is about meeting divine being & self-realization
  • Though many rituals have unconventional ways, it doesn't mean true sadhak will accept the wrong mean to achieve powers.
A completely different book. One should read it if he or she can take slow paced, message drive and, religious kind of book. Talking about rating
  1. Cover - 3.5 / 5
  2. Content - 4 / 5
  3. Characters - 4 / 5 (I especially liked Baldeva's Character)
  4. Concept - 4 / 5
  5. Overall - 4 / 5
Book can be found at - Amazon & Flipkart
Review from other readers can be found at GoodReads

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Meet Young Aarthi Sreenivasan - Author of Incredibly Incorrect Impressions

Today we have Aarthi Sreenivasan with us to discuss her book "Incredibly Incorrect Impressions".

Hi Aarthi. Welcome to our blog. We would like to thank you for giving us time. Before we proceed towards your book, can you brief our readers about you. 

Can you tell us your educational background?
I am pursuing an Undergraduate degree in Journalism and Mass Communication. 
What were you like at school/college apart from studies? 
VERY talkative and fond of debates. 
What are some day jobs you have held?
Does daydreaming count? (No, haven’t held any, sorry).
Which author inspire you the most? 
I love reading. Some of the authors who inspire me are Jane Austen, JK Rowling, PG Wodehouse. George RR Martin, Agatha  Christie, James Patterson, Scott Fitzgerald. 
Tell us about your about writing career. When did you start writing? 
The first piece I ever wrote was a one page story, in grade 3. 
When did you decide to become a writer? 
Grade 3. Some wanted to sing, some wanted to dance, I wanted to sit at home and write stories which made no sense. 
What are your ambitions for your writing career? 
I want to write something, which makes someone’s day feel better than it was before they started reading my work. 
How is your day structured to accommodate your writing? 
Writing is unpredictable with me. I might write for hours, or not write at all.  So, understandably, my entire day, when I write, is a chaotic mess. 

Can you describe your current book - "Incredibly Incorrect Impressions" in few lines? What’s it about? 
It is about a person in her late teens to early 20s, with the fears and insecurities of someone who feels the need to make changes, blessed (almost unfortunately) with a terrible sense of humor. Friendship. Humor. Ambition. Family. Love. That’s what this book is all about. 
Give us an insight into your main character.
Aishwarya Narayan, is the kind of girl you would find roaming about your neighborhood, maybe immersed in an interesting book. She is feisty, awkward, horribly funny and has, like every other person, insecurities about her shortcomings and her fears. She’s warm and earnest in her relationships, which is something many people would be able to connect with. 
Where did you get idea for this book? 
Pride and Prejudice was the first literary fiction I had read, apart from mysteries and fantasies. The wit of Elizabeth, the intelligent conversations, the cynical narrative of society, was too good to not be inspiring. 
How much research did you do for this book? 
I had to learn the ways to write a narrative which wouldn’t completely bore the reader. I n a way, I had to fit in random trivia, to show that the narrator too, has a human instinct to them, ie, they get distracted. Bringing in realism to narration took some time. 
Who is your favorite character in your book and why?
I like all of them. 
What was the most difficult thing about writing your latest book? 
Some elements of the narrator was from some of my personal viewpoints of life. Now that took quite a bit of time to get out. 
When your book is planned to release?
Tentatively end of October. 
What are you working on at the minute? 
A fantasy one. 
What are your thoughts on writing a book series? 
I hope the next one I write would be a part of one. 
We are almost done. Before we finish, we would like to know about your experience with Lead Start as Publishing house? 
It was pretty good! Kudos to them for trusting a fledgling teenage author. 
What advice would you give to aspiring writers? 
Please write. Good or bad, cringe-worthy or not, only writing more would make you better. That and reading. 
Is there anything else you would like to add that I haven’t included? 
No, you’re really thorough. 
Links for your book readers
We would like to thank Leadstart Publishers (Frog Books) for providing this opportunity to connect the author. Readers can check their wonderful collection of books by going through this link - Leadstart Books

Monday, August 14, 2017

Shravan - The Best Time to Read Interesting Books About Shiva By Preetha Rajah Kannan

The month of Shravan seems a particularly appropriate time to write about my journey into the world of mythology and my deep fascination with Lord Shiva, as depicted in the Tamil puranas. I started my voyage with Shiva in the City of Nectar, narrating Shiva’s divine play in ancient Madurai. I took the treasured tales of Paranjothi Munivar’s Thiruvilayaadal Puranam, passed on orally through the generations, and fleshed them out with the lavish play of an affectionate imagination. As a denizen of present-day Madurai, these stories are especially close to my heart. 

I threw myself happily into narrating the tales of ancient devas, asuras, sages, men and talking birds and beasts. Shiva blithely takes on the guise of beggar, saint, monarch, merchant, fisherman, hunter, warrior and woodcutter, walking through the three worlds slaying rampaging demons, performing his Ananda Tandava, and embracing good and bad alike. I delighted in portraying Shiva in all his multi-faceted mystique - the tender lover who woos and weds Goddess Meenakshi, the eternal Guru who dispenses wisdom, the fierce avenger whose third eye flashes fire, the generous benefactor who showers blessings on his devotees and, above all, the gentle prankster who embodies the essence of Vedic faith.

I continued my voyage with Son of Shiva, telling the story of Kartikeya, Commander-in-chief of the heavenly hosts, embodiment of wisdom and valour. Again, I recovered treasured childhood tales and knit them with fresh insights and content from Kachiappa Sivacharya’s Kandhapuranam.  Son of Shiva depicts the monumental battle between the forces of good and evil, as embodied by the devas and the asuras. It is as much a tale of Shiva as of his son. 

Daksha Prajapati, drunk on hubris, conducts a splendid sacrifice with the explicit objective of denigrating Lord Shiva. In a whirlwind of destruction, the awesome Veerabhadra lays waste to the yagna and punishes the participating gods and sages. However, the sinister echo of the infamous sacrifice returns to haunt the gods in the form of the formidable asura brothers, Surapadma, Taraka and Singhamuka. The asuras obtains powerful boons from Shiva, assert their supremacy over the entire cosmos and unleash a reign of terror. The traumatized gods implore Lord Shiva to deliver them from the demons’ depredations. In answer to their prayers, Kartikeya, Champion of the Gods, emerges from Shiva’s tejas. Armed with the invincible mystic spear bestowed on him by Shakti, Kartikeya takes on the forces of darkness in an electrifying confrontation which shakes the very foundations of the universe.

It was a joy to fill the pages of Son of Shiva with a host of fascinating characters, dark magic and cataclysmic events. The demon Vatapi takes on the guise of a goat to devour unsuspecting sages. The humble spider builds its web to shield Shiva from the elements. Every drop of blood shed by the asura general, Raktabheeja, transforms into a hideous clone. Kama is reduced to ashes by Shiva’s furious third eye. Parvati performs an incredible thousand years of penance to win Shiva’s heart. Vishnu receives the splendid Sudarshana Chakra from Shiva. Shiva annihilates the demon, Gajasura; breaks the Ganga’s fall on his matted locks; performs his cosmic dance; rises as a towering pillar of fire and shines in all his glory. 

I do hope both Shiva in the City of Nectar and Son of Shiva will be my readers’ door into a rich new world of insights and tales of Lord Shiva. Happy reading to you all!

Book Links:
Shiva in the City of Nectar
Son of Shiva

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Book Review - The Fourth Monkey by J D Barker

I got The Fourth Monkey by J D Barker book in Feb'17. And the best part about author and PR they never pushed us to finish the book. It took me more than 6 months to start the book and another month to finish it. The only reason behind slower speed was mobi version. Well, if you have watched Dexter or similar series, you will like the book Those reading this book the first time don't think it is a sequel. Actually, the author has started the story of a serial killer not from his first victim but from sixth or seventh one.

Book Blurb
For over five years, the Four Monkey Killer has terrorized the residents of Chicago. When his body is found, the police quickly realize he was on his way to deliver one final message, one which proves he has taken another victim who may still be alive. 
As the lead investigator on the 4MK task force, Detective Sam Porter knows even in death, the killer is far from finished. When he discovers a personal diary in the jacket pocket of the body, Porter finds himself caught up in the mind of a psychopath, unraveling a twisted history in hopes of finding one last girl, all while struggling with personal demons of his own.
With only a handful of clues, the elusive killer’s identity remains a mystery. Time is running out and the Four Monkey Killer taunts from beyond the grave in this masterfully written fast-paced thriller.
Porter is trying to solve the 4MK case for last 5 years in which 6 killings were already taken place. The killer was like Dexter, his main target would be a criminal who was cleaned in police records. Instead of killing criminal killer will kill female close relative (mainly daughter or sister) of the person. Before killing he would send warnings to criminals in a small box. The first warning would be the ear of girl which indicates "Hear No Evil". The second warning would be eye ball of girl which indicates 'See No Evil". The third warning would be the tongue of the victim which indicates 'Speak No Evil". By the time third warning box reaches criminal, the dead body would be found along with records of crimes done by the criminal. Killer had never left any clues unless he wanted police to know about something. But this time things were different. Warning box delivery guy met with an accident and ear in the box led to one of the richest and most powerful fellows of Chicago city. How would Porter solve the case? Along with box, Porter found diary left by 4MK. Well the book is in two parallels. Case which I mentioned above and incident of 4MK's teenage. 

The author claimed books rights for movie and series are sold before publishing the book. And I actually found book pace slow as series. 400+ pages long book can be filmed in 10-12 episodes easily. The language of the book is quite easy and straight. The author has covered areas of psychology and criminal science while writing the story. Well, I have read fewer books in this genre so I liked it.

Talking about ratings
  1. Cover - 3/5
  2. Characters - 4.5/5
  3. Content - 4/5
  4. Concept - 3.5/5
  5. Overall - 3.5/5
Book can be found at - Amazon & Flipkart
Review from other readers can be found at GoodReads

Friday, August 11, 2017

The Indus Challenge by R. Durgadoss

I wanted to read this book ever since I checked its promotional email from TBC. Dr. R Durgados has gifted me this book in exchange for an honest review. 

Book Blurb
Bharat is in chaos. While the kingdoms fight each other, Alexander’s forces gather for the assault, their leader lured by tales of supernatural weapons and the elixir of immortality. Only one man can save the subcontinent from domination by the Greeks: the young Chandragupta Maurya, trained under the aegis of the ‘dark brahmin’, Chanakya.

When an ancient seal is found, sharing the secrets of the brahmastra, the redoubtable weapon of the Mahabharat, it is up to Rudra, young commander of the Mauryan Nava Yuva Sena and lifelong friend and confidante of Chandragupta, to decode it. Along with his fellow commandos, and with the able guidance of his guru, Rudra embarks on a quest that takes him from the snowy peaks of the Himalayas to the seas of Rameshwaram, hunting the clues that will lead him to the brahmastra. On the way, he meets the Chiranjivis, ancient beings tasked with divine duties, and learns the secrets behind his own birth and his mysterious powers.
But Rudra must be careful, for not all enemies were dispersed with the death of the mighty Alexander. Treachery lurks in the home, and when Rudra is framed for the attempted murder of his sovereign, he must pull every trick at his disposal to reveal the enemy, and save his kingdom from plunging, once more, into bloodshed and chaos.
A historical, mythological adventure story, The Indus Challenge is sure to appeal to readers interested in the storied past of India and the legends woven into its soil.
The Indus Challenge is the first independent book in the trilogy. It is written in times of Chanakya and Chandragupta Maurya. The protagonist of the story is Rudra. A fictional character conceptualized by the author. Rudra was the reincarnation of a special force captain aiding Abhimanyu during Chakravyuh infiltration. Due to failure in saving Abhimanyu's life, he was cursed to take three (shorter) birth. As per the divine plan, the first incarnation was Rudra. Due to his special powers and mystery around his birth, he was trained & brought up by Chanakya along with Chandragupta. The story is divided into multiple parts
  • Alexander's secret ambition behind his desire to dominion over India
  • Rudra's treasure hunt with Chanakya and Chandragupta for ancient secrets (Amrita and Brahmastra)
  • Clash between Rudra and Chandragupta's wife Helena
Each part has its own plus and minus. I liked the first and second part. The third part was more like Hindi sdrama. Talking about nearest similarity would be "Chandra-Nandini" airing on Star Plus. Talking about the first part it was mixed with historical and fictional components. Medium to high paced. This part was nearer to historical facts. The second part was more mythological and magical. The pace of this part was a super fast journey. Many funny or illogical or less thought about incidents mentioned in this part. I already mentioned drawbacks of the Final part. Due to this part, I am giving one star less to the book.

Still, it is a different book. Properly written. One can take it as a light read for the journey. Talking about ratings
  1. Cover - 4 / 5
  2. Content - 3.5/5
  3. Characters - 2.5/5
  4. Concept - 3.5/5
  5. Overall - 3/5
Book can be found at - Amazon & Flipkart
Review from other readers can be found at GoodReads

Monday, August 7, 2017

Meet Russ Colchamiro Author of LOVE, MURDER & MAYHEM

Today we have Russ Colchamiro with us to discuss about his latest book LOVE, MURDER & MAYHEM

So Russ, tell us about your education?
B.S. Secondary English Education, Buffalo State College; Manchester Metropolitan University, UK
What were you like at school/college apart from studies?
I was a late bloomer. I went overseas for my final semester—I backpacked through Europe for a month and then lived in Manchester, England for three months—this is back in 1994, before travel was as accessible as it is today. In a real way that trip changed the course of my life.
What are some day jobs you have held?
You name it, I’ve done it! But to this day probably my favorite job ever was being a paper boy. This is back when teenagers could still get those jobs, back in the 1980s. I was my own boss, had money to spend, and I was alone a lot, which I liked. Plus I spent so much time around physical newspapers that it turned me into a junkie. I still love print papers to this day. Being a waiter was fun, for its time. You learn a lot working in restaurants. Everyone should do it, at least once.
Do you read much and if so who are your favorite authors? Which author inspire you the most?
Besides the news—which makes me want to vomit these days—I try to read fiction every day. I have several writers I love, including (among others and in no particular order) Christopher Moore, Kurt Vonnegut, Mark Twain, Harlan Coben, Sara Gran, Elmore Leonard, Alan Moore, Kurt Busiek, and John Steinbeck.
When did you start writing? (It may be your first article or blog.)
I dabbled in high school, wrote on and off in college, but by my mid-20s was working as a journalist, and taking fiction much seriously.
When did you decide to become a writer?
Since I was a little kid. I wanted to be a writer … and a scientist. I’m terrible at actual science, but science fiction? That seems to be working out pretty well!
What are your ambitions for your writing career?
Write the best books I can, every time out. Financially, I’d love to get to the point where this is how I earn all of my money, for the rest of my days. I’m working on it …
Do you have a special time to write, or how is your day structured to accommodate your writing?
I work full time, have a long commute, and have seven-year-old twins—my ninjas.  So my writing time is after my kids go to bed, and when I can on weekends. For the most part I write 9 pm – 1030 pm every night. Then I walk the dog and clean the kitchen. I try to make those 90 minutes count.
Is LOVE, MURDER & MAYEM your debut work? If not so, what have you written?
To date I’ve written four novels—Finders Keepers, Genius de Milo, Astropalooza, and Crossline. I’ve also contributed to another half dozen anthologies. But Love, Murder & Mayhem the first anthology where I served as the editor, running it from conception to completion, including contributing my own story.
What genre are your books?
Science fiction and fantasy, a mix of comedy, mystery, and action adventure, although I’m moving more into crime fiction and noir.
Can you describe your current book in few lines? What’s it about?
Love, Murder & Mayhem is a new anthology from Crazy 8 Press, with 15 stories from 15 authors. While I’m typically a novelist, I served as editor for this one, and contributed one of the stories. Each tale contains at least one act of love or romance, at least one murder, with lots of mayhem, all in various science fiction settings. Admittedly, I was expecting an entire anthology of private eye stories—and we have a few—but thankfully it inspired an entire range of tales. We have superhero and supervillain stories. Off-world and space cruiser stories. We’ve also got A.I., private eyes, sleep surrogates, time travel, an aliens/monsters mash-up and … one DuckBob!
Give us an insight into your main character(s)
Angela Hardwick. Though the ‘world’ she appears in is galaxy hopping noir, she’s a private eye in that classic Sam Spade detective. Fedora, pinstripe suit, knows the angles.
Where did you get idea for this book?
While writing GENIUS DE MILO, the second book in my FINDERS KEEPERS scifi backpacking comedy series, I introduced—briefly—the character of Angela Hardwicke.. I bumped up her role considerably for the third and final book, ASTROPALOOZA. I always wanted to write a private eye character, and loved her right away. I’m actually planning to write a spin-off series with her. But before I jumped into a full book, I wanted to write a short story with Hardwicke in the lead, to get a better sense of who she was, her rhythms, and the kinds of stories I wanted to tell. That inspire me to create LOVE, MURDER & MAYHEM.
How much research did you do for this book?
Not research so much as plotting out the entire mystery beginning to end. It actually took me a few weeks to work out all of the details. If you plot a mystery and even one little component is off base, the entire narrative falls apart. The infrastructure of your story has to be rock solid.
Release date.
Love, Murder & Mayhem debuted in July, so it’s on sale now. 
What are you working on at the minute?
I’m working on a top secret project I can’t talk about yet, but hopefully by early next year. After that I plan to be writing Hardwicke stories for the next several years at least.
What are your thoughts on writing a book series?
A series has benefits and challenges. The benefits are that you can explore your characters in deeper ways and in new situations, introducing them to any number of other characters and friction of all sorts. The challenge is to keep the character fresh, making sure you have something to say, and ensuring that you are being consistent one book to the next.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Write every day. Don’t seek perfection. It doesn’t exist. Write every day, whether it’s good or bad, whether you’re happy with what you produced or not, and then, once you’ve done a strong, legit polish, working out the kinks, share your work with only a select people whom you trust will give you honest feedback that you can put into practice. Don’t be afraid to be challenged. If you don’t seek input, it’s difficult to improve. 
Is there anything else you would like to add that I haven’t included?
I’ve got books! Buy ‘em. They’re cool! And leave reviews please!
Links for your book readers

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Making Breakthrough Innovations Happen by Porus Munshi

I am a big fan of Rashmi Bansal's books. I have read 5 of her books and 2 more books I have with me which I have to read. If I talk about my liking in nonfiction genre, business stories or entrepreneurial journies are my favorite. I checked this book in my office and I liked it after reading the first chapter. The author Porus Munshi has taken wonderful success stories to inspire organizations/individuals to perform with radically new ideas/methodologies/systems.

Book Blurb
For long now, India has been seen as a country that is good at working on products and ideas that are already out there. Indian companies took up products that came in from the West and either replicated it or re-engineered it. Indians, when they went to other countries, were part of creative teams that came up with, and implemented great ideas. But, when in their own country, Indians do not have a reputation for coming up with innovative ideas. So, what is it that stops them?
The author laments this situation in his book Making Breakthrough Innovation Happen: How 11 Indians Pulled Off The Impossible. He points out that even the Indian branches of MNCs do not see their Indian operations as centers of innovations. They just work on things that have already been conceived elsewhere.
In this book, Munshi tells the true stories of 11 breakthrough ideas conceived and executed by Indians. These ground-breaking examples show that if someone dares to think out-of-the box and follows their dream, then seemingly impossible things can be achieved.
Making Breakthrough Innovation Happen: How 11 Indians Pulled off the Impossible - as title suggests 11 stories of this book are divided into 4 sections:
  • Orbit shifting challenges
  • Challenging the establishment through a breakthrough insight
  • Enrolling to cause
  • Combating dilution
Each section comprises two to three stories. Each story starts with some brief global example, followed by the problem at the hand, methodology to solve the problem, the reasoning behind methods. It ends with results and future course of actions.

Each case is unique and strong one. I am from Surat so I can relate it more, but I liked most of the cases. A person who would like to enter into a startup or bigger role should read it once. The book doesn't just talk about what had been done but also talks about why it was done and why it worked.

A wonderful 4.5+ read. Talking about ratings:
  1. Cover - 3 / 5 (Frankly speaking it gave me feeling of an academic book)
  2. Content - 5 / 5
  3. Concept - 4 / 5
  4. Overall - 4.5 / 5
Book can be found at - Amazon & Flipkart
Review from other readers can be found at GoodReads