Monday, December 30, 2019

Book reviews - The Treasure Syndicate

"The Treasure Syndicate" by Jatin Kuberkar was the first thing I saw when I received a monthly book summary from DDS. I dived deep and found out that the book is based on a treasure hunt with a unique concept. So I inquired more to DDS, she strongly recommended me to go for it. I bought it on Amazon at a great deal price. I should have started it as soon as I received but due to Diwali and health issues, three pan was postponed. Before 2020 starts I am putting my review as a new year gift to the author who conceptualized this book.

As the name suggests Treasure Syndicate is the story of how a group of 5 met and conducted a treasure hunt. But if you are expecting something like a treasure hunt of National Treasure types Movie, then no, it's a different style. The Syndicate here is a dedicated group lead by one of them known as Leader/guide (claimed to be a direct decedent of Suka the son of Kubera). In our story he is Acharya, an astrologer, a Vastu expert, he had helped his father in finding 3 treasures in the past. But the first mission he led as a guide was a failure and he lost his son & daughter-in-law in that mission. Almost for 10 years, he stayed dormant as a guide. But things changed when he visited a house in Patthar Galli. He hoped to conduct one last successful mission as a guide. He took in two newcomers in his syndicate. New members came with their minds & doubts. Along with the mission, Acharyaji had a new responsibility to answer new members' questions and win their trust.

Good points about the book
1) Easy language usage
2) Nice character connection. 
3) A new concept to read
4) The author has used various references to site excavation done in the last 100 years

The pace of the book is medium at places. Interest quotient was set high at some places but comes down at many places, which has affected overall reading experience.

I will give 4 out of 5 stars to the book.

Book links - Goodreads, Amazon & Flipkart

Friday, December 27, 2019

Nice book on Parenting - Raising a True Winner by Tanuja Sodhi

Parenting is one of the toughest jobs especially when your generation Z kids stay active. In age nuclear families and single or at max two kids these days stay super active as they don't get much physical activity to do with. I always keep looking for activities that I can give to my 5-year-old. The last book I read on parenting was "Super Child", it was so awesome I made my mind to read one such book every few months. 

The book touches almost all aspects of parenting: emotional, social, nutritional, character building, physical & life skills. Today's child won't listen to just advice. Children follow us or our examples. So the content covers why each topic is important, how to make our children practice these advises, how to formulate exercise or game or activity for kids so that they don't feel like following advises. Many such wonderful tips are covered in the book. I like the section where the author has mentioned daily chores that we should ask our kids to do on their own. I have seen many kids especially boys who can't do a simple thing like ironing a shirt, warming up food, sweeping. These are overly protected & dependent kids who sometimes break down when meeting difficult times. So the author is right about it. A must-read for new generation parents.

The writing style is smooth. You will find the most practical advice with steps to follow. You won't be bored with all psychological reasoning. The author has written for normal parents who understand layman's explanation and guidance. I liked those sections which tell us what activities we can give to our kids suitable to their age group. We have thought of start giving a few daily chores to our 5-year-old. Let's see how our kid responds.

The book is written with Simple language usage for a wider audience. I would give 4 out of 5 to this book.

Book links - Goodreads, Amazon & Flipkart

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Book Review - The Invincible Weapon by Sowmya Putta

"The Invincible Weapon" came to us due to its attractive cover and title. I was very excited to read it during vacation, unfortunately, the book was misplaced when we rearranged our bookshelves and due to that, I was not able to read the book on time. 

Book Blurb
The invisible enemies have risen again. The kingdoms of Mahadroni are under attack. Their only saviour is the supreme weapon used by the Mayan rishis. Abhi, the young prince of Vaishali, has come to Maharshi Gavishta's Gurukul to earn the weapon. While he is competing with the heirs of other kingdoms to win it, his brother Kanu goes missing from the gurukul. Unknown to Abhi, someone is plotting to steal the weapon. 'The Invincible Weapon' revolves around the discovery of the most powerful weapon of all times in the mystical gurukul of the Mayan rishis, where teleportation, watching battles of the past and time travel is a way of life.
The story of Invincible Weapon is cute and short. The protagonist of the story is Abhi, Prince of the kingdom. A known elder Mayan rishi (ascetic) Gavishtha sent the call to all kingdoms. He asked Kings to send their crown prince & princesses for their training and education as per ancient Indian tradition. Abhi along with his brother Many joined the academy, where he met few more students. On joining the academy they came to know one of them can win an invincible weapon. Rishi also warned them that the peck of invisible enemies are about to attack their continent and only with the help of invincible weapons these enemies can be defeated. And that is the mainstream of the story. Abhi with the help of fellow student Hiya went more adventure than other students. Read the book to know more.

Talking about the book, it is written for middle graders and the writing style justified. Language is easy and ages appropriate. For the mature reader or I would say for regular readers, the book delivers a pretty much-expecting story. I mean you can predict twists and turns. But still for middle graders book can be a good entertaining material. A good choice for a bedtime story as well.

I will give 3 out of 5 to the book.

Book Links - GoodReads, Amazon & Flipkart

Book Review - Khantastic - The untold story of Bollywood’s trio

I have read 5-6 books on Bollywood as of now. Well, this contains 2 biographies wherein others were based on the contribution of production houses, actors or movies towards Bollywood. And that gave a good quantum of information and entertainment, so I decided not to miss them. And then I got my hands on a book that is dedicated to three kings of Bollywood, three Khan's who are ruling Bollywood since the 1990s. How can I ignore such a book? So here I am to discuss "Khantastic - the Untold Story of Bollywood's Trio" by Sanjukta Nandy.

Book Blurb
Did Shah Rukh Khan reject Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge? Did Aamir Khan audition for Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak? Was Salman Khan’s voice dubbed by another in Maine Pyar Kiya? Did Salman’s and Aamir’s film rejections give Shah Rukh Bollywood on a platter?
KHANtastic answers all these questions. Destiny binds together this charismatic trio: Salman, Shah Rukh and Aamir. They not only started their journey in Bollywood around the same time but also share vestiges of Pashtun descent in their bloodline. Over time, their tempestuous rivalry turned into friendship as they became an indomitable triumvirate. Three different, yet magnetic personalities they form the three points of the invisible Bandra Triangle in Mumbai as their brotherhood reigns permanently over a capricious Bollywood.
Three Khans Aamir, Salman & Shahrukh, are discussed throughout the book. Well, it's just a 210 pages long book, so the author has limited space to cover everything about these stars. Still, she has done a good compilation. She has covered many important parts of their life. Things like where these Khans' families belonged to, how they got their first chance. Here you will get answers to questions given in book blurb. (On the personal front, for me, Shahrukh's struggle from Fauji serial was inspiring). Love lives of Khans' also touched upon by the author in the book. It was followed by those offpeak times where each of these Khans' faced downtime between their two high peaks. And finally their triumph once again. We still see them on the top yet, and I hope we keep seeing them delivering wonderful movies.

Talking about the writing style, it is flawless, reading like a magazine full of interesting articles. The author has done the right mix of story, interview & facts to keep interest level high. You won't feel bored, especially if you are interested in Bollywood. Few passages were inspiring as well. The book also contains a few color pictures showing Khans' special occasion. An easy read, a good companion on your short trips. 

I will give 4 out 5 to this informative & entertaining book.

Book links GoodReads, Amazon & Flipkart

Sunday, December 8, 2019

Umeed India with Virender Sehwag - A Book Review

I have read 3-4 books by Rupa publication which was compiled by the Epic Channel team. Basically, these books are text edition of some of their best series/episodes. I loved them. Previous ones were more on Bollywood, but this time I got my hands on inspirational figures of India who are raising the bar in various sports that are played internationally. How can I say no to such a book? So here I am giving you a brief of what Umeed India is. 

Book Blurb
He lost both his arms at a very young age. He went on to qualify in the Paralympics and is India’s ace para swimmer! He is Suyash Jadhav. She had only nine seconds to turn the game in her favour at the Olympics. And she did it! She is wrestler Sakshi Malik. He had a perennial fear of water. He went on to become India’s only rower to qualify in the Olympics finals! He is Dattu Bhokanal. His patient’s wheelchair hardly moved when he started playing. He went on to become India’s champion para shuttler! He is Sanjeev Kumar. Umeed India: Guts, Glory and Gold talks about groundbreaking stories of not just these iconic men and women but of many more like them. Based on a popular show on Epic Channel, Umeed India: Inki Jeet Hamari Jeet, where host-cricketer Virender Sehwag travels through the country and interviews these stars in their villages and training bases, capturing exciting moments in their home environment and meeting their family and friends, in order to discover their real story of grit and determination. This book features inspiring stories of thirteen such athletes who are our hope for the 2020 Olympics.
As I just mentioned, the book covered sportspersons who have given hope to Indians for medals in upcoming Olympics or International Sports games. 15 years back India has known only a few sports where they can show their prowess, in other sports they were just giving showing their attendance. The environment has started changing and now people are looking for more options than just Cricket. Still for the majority of the encouragement of the sport for proper sports body is missing in India. But the personalities discussed in the book had overcome those limitations and shown their true caliber. The book is in an interview format, where the host is none other than Virender Sehwag. Questions cover how they got inspiration for these sports, what difficulties they faced in earlier days, the role of their parents in their achievement. Almost every personality had faced something unique and inspirational that will give you goosebumps. 

The language used is simple. I would say beginners can easily understand it. And those who don't like stories but would like to learn English then this will be an ideal pick. I hope I don't have to give more weight to the inspiration quotient. They have already brought glory to India in their respective fields whether they will medal or not. But I hope all of them achieve their dream of winning medals.

A nice read indeed.

I will give 4/5 to the book.

Book Links - Amazon, Flipkart & GoodReads

Saturday, December 7, 2019

Book Review - Smart money Moves by Vinod Desai

I selected "Smart money Moves" by Vinod Desai because of the subtitle "For Grown-Ups a.k.a. Kids with money". I have read fewer books in self/personal finance genre books. Reading books in personal finance is like adding actual knowledge about your better future. So I was damn serious while reading this book. I have noted down few important tips as well.

Talking about the content, the author has started with breaking a few misbeliefs in the Indian context. It is always assumed in India that security is everything. So when it comes to financing the first option people go for is Fixed Deposit. And when it comes to policy in India, LIC is synonymous with policy. Still, the majority chunk of Indians believes whatever LIC gives in return is a blessing. People simply calculate what they gave and if the return is slightly more they are happy. They don't know how much it would have been if they had invested properly. Later on, the author has explained various ways that a normal person can take for better savings. It is like "the more you bleed in peace the less you sweat in war". It's better to start planning at a younger age then afterward. As money only understands compounding. In the shorter run, we only get the principal back. If we want an actual income longer run is the only option.

Good points about the book

  • The author has avoided extreme mathematics. I have read a few books on personal investment and they were so full of equations that layman may find it difficult to grasp. But this book is low on equation and more on practicality
  • Use of simple examples to explain concepts. The author has avoided using plain theories. He has given ample example of how to persons made or lost money by investing or not investing in a particular instrument
  • A simple explanation of complex investment products

A good guide for salaried & small-time investors. I will give 4.5/5 for this wonderful guide.

Book links Amazon & Goodreads

Friday, December 6, 2019

Book Review - Immortal by Krishna Udayasankara

I have read Govinda (the first book in Aryavarta Chronicles) twice by Krishna Udayasankara. And after that, I read the Beast by her. Looking at writing style she has exceptionally proved her skills by delivering complete two different kinds of writing styles & genres. Where the first one was mythification, the second one was paranormal fiction. So when I checked Immortal by her was republished again by penguin, I thought of not missing it. I checked the blurb and found it was again a different style, a histo-thriller. I simply took it. But due to my survival spondylosis, I was not able to read it on time. Well guilty of not writing a review was greater than not reading a book, so I took out a special time during my physiotherapy and finished it.

The protagonist of our story is professor Bharadvaj, a 40-year looking man assisted by Manohar. He was approached by a lady called Maya to find out the elixir of immortality. But the professor tried his best to deny the task claiming it to be a fairy tale. As professor himself was Ashwatthama, legendary warrior & son of Drona. In his long life span, he tried to locate that potion but never found a clue of it. But somehow after Maya had approached the professor, he started finding hard to find that elixir was just myth. So that is when Ashwatthama started one and the last trial to find out what was the truth behind missing artifact. 

Coming to the writing style, the tone has changed this time. You may feel the difference between Govinda & Immortal. Govinda was written lavishly at ease as the author had the option to write it in 3 parts. Where in here she had only one book to compile things that to multiple historical incidents (wars after great war) where Ashwatthama was present. So the pace was generally medium to fast. Krishna's control over words is visible throughout the book. Again based on the type of reading you prefer your opinion may change for the storyline as few find it flawed and few find it flawless. For me it is mixed or I would say slight flawed but still far better than upcoming mythification writers who are trying to race in the league.

Overall a nice read. I would give 4/5 to the book.

Book links - Amazon & Goodreads