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Saturday, February 09, 2019

Book Blitz - Prisoner of Yakutsk by Shreyas Bhave

~ Book Blitz ~

Prisoner of Yakutsk by Shreyas Bhave
The Subhash Chandra Bose Mystery
Final Chapter 



About the Author:

What exactly happened to Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose?

• In 1945, Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, Leader of the INA leaves Singapore to take a series of flights, and dies in Taiwan after his plane crashes near Formosa. Or so it seems.
• In 1947, Mr Mrs Singh, an illustrious army couple, both veterans of the Indian National Army, are last seen in Delhi, and then never again.
• In 1949, the plane carrying the first deputy Prime Minister of India, Sardar Vallabhai Patel, mysteriously disappears for seven hours.
• In 2012, following the fall of WikiLeaks, a female hacker of the notorious X group is on the run as most wanted by everyone from Interpol to the KGB
• In 2015, the millionaire CEO of a Fortune 500 company suddenly resigns and vanishes from the public eye.

A set of seemingly unconnected disappearances emerge to be woven into a single fabric as the answer to one leads to another… In this riveting narrative, bestselling author Shreyas Bhave, takes the reader on a thrilling adventure to solve the greatest mystery the Indian nation has known. 

Book Links: Goodreads * Amazon


Read an Excerpt:

Colonel Hardy looked at his wristwatch. It was almost time for the Court Marshall to begin. But then there were so many trials squeezed into one day that it was natural for his colleagues to be late for this one. He decided to start without them. “So, born in Lahore, eh?” he asked, eyes still on the files.
             “Born and brought up there, Sir,” Major Singh replied. “I graduated from Government College, Lahore, and then sat for the Military Entrance Exam, passing which, I went to the Indian Military Academy at Dehra Doon.” Major Singh’s English was impeccable.
             “Which year batch was it? “Hardy asked, impressed by the Punjabi’s resume. He himself was an alumnus of the same institute, though a few years junior to this man.
              “1936.”
              “Good.” Colonel Hardy gnawed his lower lip. So the Punjabi Major was his senior by almost half a decade.
              “I was commissioned as Second Lieutenant on the Special List in early 1939,” Singh said, standing straight in the dock. “2nd Battalion. The Highlanders!”
             “Secunderabad, right?”
              “Indeed. A boring year until we were sent to the Far East to hold a garrison in a quaint little British port.”
               Colonel Hardy read further. “Singapore, huh.”
               “The war was soon to come.”
                Hardy smiled as he went through the war records in the files. “I see one promotion after another. In less than six months, you were Acting Captain.”
               “I served with distinction. Your army promotes on talent alone; I’ll give you that.” Singh bowed.
                Colonel Hardy closed the files and looked up. “Japanese prisoner-of-war in Malaya, 1941 – what happened?”
                “I was captured in Malaya.” Singh twisted his thick mustache. “I had taken my regiment on a midnight raid on the Japanese docking station on the island of Java.”


Book Trailer:





About the Author:


Shreyas Bhave's love for history since his childhood prompted him to write his take on the story of Asoka who was one of the towering figures in the history of India, which has been taken up as ‘The Asoka Trilogy’ by Leadstart Publishing. The first part of the trilogy called ‘The Prince of Patliputra’ has been published in January 2016 and the second part called 'Storm From Taxila' was published in 2018.



Connect with the Author: Website * Facebook * Twitter





Saturday, December 29, 2018

The Click Matters

Photography was considered an art with only a few artists - photographers. People had a camera which would be seldom used and the 36 photo roll would be developed in one go. Each photo was well thought out and carefully taken.
Then came the DigiCams that made it possible to take endless photos. This resulted in the 'care' being replaced by endless clicks. Slowly, the digicam moved into the handy mobile phone and it got better and better. And we found ourselves in the age of endless clicks.
We click literally thousands of photos and hardly go back to see them. In contrast, we still cherish those 36 photos from a trip from yesteryears (ours or our parents/grand-parents).
The most recent trend is that the camera in the phone is improving the quality of photographs itself – with portrait mode and numerous filters. But still, nothing beats the artist. The Photographer. The one who understands balance, light, composition, …. And also focal length, lens types, brightness control and manipulation, depth and contrast …. And a whole lot of other things I am not even aware of (leave alone understand).
The difference in a photograph clicked by a professional versus anyone-with-a-phone is evident once you see the output. While the one with the phone will have a chance masterpiece (I have had a couple of amazing shots from the thousands I have clicked); the sign of true professional is that their hit-rate is significantly higher. Every other click of theirs is high quality.
My recent experience at Studio 77 in Dubai reinforced this thought process. AS you can see from the two family portraits that we got clicked there in fun mood. These were clicked with practically no preparation and we were done in about 5 minutes. We just walked-in into an event at Studio 77 and got clicked. If 5 minutes and no prep could result in these wonderful clicks, what would some good time and preparation result in. Think about it.  
These are of course only 2 from the 40 odd clicks. Judge yourself.







For those in Dubai who would be interested, Studio 77 is located in Jumeirah in Wasl Vota mall. They collaborate with various brands to create rich content, marketing videos, business profiles, corporate films, social media content and also documentation and coverage of events. 
 
Studio 77 specializes in Studio and on-location Photography and Videography so they do photo shoots of various kind like Wedding, Product Photography, Branding videos, events coverage, Business Portraits and even content marketing Videos
 
You can catch Studio 77 on the social media via their Instagram Handle  or Facebook Page  or even their Youtube channel and of course their website www.studio77.ae
 

 

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Book Review: Aqson Level 1 by Sreejib







My only question for the Author at this point: How many books are you going to write in this series?  (And can you complete the whole series quickly please?)

Aqson is a refreshing read. Its fantasy, mythology, sci-fi - all mixed up together to create a gourmet dish to be relished. 

The author had my complete attention when the novel began with a jeans-n-Tshirt clad 'Lucifer' riding a bike to a meeting place where he flirts with the receptionist (and is reprimanded) before we are introduced to a similarly jeans-n-Tshirt clad 'God.


 


This meeting is presided by a few gentlemen, and the minutes of the meeting being taken by none other than Brahma. Lucifer is given the permission to initiate another game with God; with an ultimate objective of installing their player as the Prime Minister of India. 




This had my attention. 

What got me hooked to the book was the refreshing writing style which resonated well with the 20-yr old young-adult characters in the book and showed their life as it should be rather than as adults imagine it to be. 

A great cast of well defined and gradually refined characters sets the stage for an engaging novel. 

A little bit of suspense thrown in at different intervals of the story covering different characters keeps you guessing and maintains the edge-of-the-seat as well as nail-biting feeling alive all through the book. 

Its a fabulous start to a promising series ... 

Few books that I have read have been so captivating all through from start to finish ...

I would highly recommend ...

This book review is a part of "The Readers Cosmos Book Review Program and Blog Tours, for details log on to http://www.thereaderscosmos.com/ 

Friday, January 26, 2018

Book Blast - The Immortality Trigger by Douglas Misquita

The Immortality Trigger by Douglas Misquita

a Luc Fortesque adventure thriller








1945 

Allied paratroopers raid a secret Nazi research facility. The operation is reported as a success. But, the lone survivor, Benjamin Ezra, knows otherwise. 

2014 
A drug lord, El Fantasma threatens to plunge Colombia into an era of bloody drug wars. DEA Country Attaché, Zachary Mason is in charge of a covert operation to remove El Fantasma, with the help of a vigilante, El Angel, and a retired undercover agent, Raymond Garrett. 

In Naples, INTERPOL agent, Sabina Wytchoff, is investigating the death of her parents, when the Wytchoff family’s association with an ancient cabal comes under investigation. 

After the events of The Apocalypse Trigger, Luc Fortesque, is scouring the world for the man who tested experimental drugs on him. 

Wei Ling works for a shadow Transhumanist faction within China’s State Council, developing drugs that will enhance human longevity. 

Their paths will converge… violently… and conclude the mission that began in 1945.

The Immortality Trigger - available at all leading eBook retailers




Reviews for The Immortality Trigger:

"...with a storyteller of Misquita’s caliber, you just may need Dramamine before the first chapter is done." - Bestthrillers.com

"For fans of the fast-paced and modern tale with global reach that dabbles in history, this is a perfect storm." - Lydia Peever


"The Immortality Trigger cemented in my mind why Douglas Misquita is my favourite Indian thriller author." - Newton Lewis


Other books in the series:
         



Douglas Misquita is an action-adventure thriller writer from Mumbai, India. He hammered out his first novel on the keyboard of a laptop with half-a-working-screen, and has been churning out literary entertainment to the tune of a book-a-year. His books have been praised for their pace, locales, intertwined plots, research and visuals - it’s almost like watching a movie… only, this one unfolds across the pages of a book! 





Giveaway: One Paperback Copy of The Immortality Trigger by Douglas Misquita
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Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Cover Reveal - You came like Hope by Jyoti Arora

~ Cover Reveal ~




Title: You Came Like Hope


Author: Jyoti Arora


Word length: 53,000 words


Genre: Contemporary Fiction / Contemporary Romance


Blurb:
Peehu:
“I heard them mourn my death. I lay in the next room. Motionless, silent, and staring at the ceiling.”


Adih:
“When it comes to a broken person, some of them are expert at blinding you. Spend an entire evening with such a person, but you may still not know how he is crushing inside.”


Uday:
“Who would say no to him? He is smart, intelligent, super handsome, rich, suave and sophisticated. He’s perfect!”


Pooja:
“Pooja gave no explanation. She asked no forgiveness. She just arrived in his home, resenting him for being her husband.”


Arunav:
“He had smiled as if nothing was wrong.
He had behaved as if he still had his dreams and hopes.
He had pretended as if it didn’t hurt.
But it did.”

Does Destiny hold the key to our happiness?
Is it always the feeble that is the victim?
Love can be the embrace of heaven. But what happens when it unleashes hellfire?


Lose yourself in the intense narrative of You Came Like Hope as it unleashes a rollercoaster of emotions, uncovers some bitter truths, challenges widespread prejudices, and forces you to reconsider your beliefs.


Releasing on 23rd November 2017!



About the Author:




Jyoti Arora is a novelist and blogger from Ghaziabad. You Came Like Hope is her third novel, coming after Dream’s Sake and Lemon Girl. She is Post Graduate in English Literature and Applied Psychology. Besides reading and writing novels, Jyoti enjoys checking out latest technological innovations, watching movies, and listening to old Bollywood songs.






Thursday, October 12, 2017

Book Blast: Children's Classic Stories Volume I - Retold by Aniesha Brahma



 

Children's Classic Stories Volume I - Retold by Aniesha Brahma

This gorgeous treasury of ten classic stories is guaranteed to delight and entertain young children, bringing the magic of traditional stories to the new generation of children.


Aimed at 8-12 year olds, each favourite fairy tale or story has been sensitively retold for young readers.


The series 'Children's Classic Stories' contains total 100 stories in 10 volumes. The stories in this collection show the consequences of greed, pride, and vanity, but also tell of the love that grows from a kind heart and a cheerful nature.



Volume 1 includes the following stories:
01. Little Red Riding Hood
02. Cinderella
03. Hansel and Gretel
04. Sleeping Beauty
05. Snow White and Rose Red
06. The Emperor's New Clothes
07. Rumplestiltskin
08. The Wise Little Girl
09. Goldilocks and the Three Bears
10. Rip Van Winkle


About the Author:







Aniesha Brahma knew she wanted to be a writer since she was six years old. She was schooled in Dolna Day School and went on to pursue B.A., M.A., and M.Phil in Comparative Literature from Jadavpur Univeristy. She currently lives in Kolkata, with her family and five pet cats. She is the author of All Signs Lead Back to You, When Our Worlds Collide, The Guitar Girl and The Secret Proposal. She compiled and edited the 10 volumes series, 'Children's Classic Stories' with love and great efforts.



WebsiteTwitter * Instagram * Facebook









Tuesday, October 03, 2017

Spotlight on AVISHI by Saiswaroopa Iyer

Introducing once again ...


Long before the times of Draupadi and Sita
Immortalised in the hymns of the Rig Veda
But largely forgotten to the memory of India
Is the Warrior Queen with an iron leg, Vishpala

Brought up in the pristine forest school of Naimisha, Avishi reaches the republic of Ashtagani in search of her destiny. When Khela, the oppressive King of the neighbouring Vrishabhavati begins to overwhelm and invade Ashtagani, Avishi rises to protect her settlement. But peril pursues her everywhere. Separated from her love, her settlement broken, with a brutal injury needing amputation of her leg, can Avishi overcome Khela?


An Excerpt

“I am the Queen! This will be my throne!” The seven-year-old chirped leaping from the middle of the porch towards the broken mortar which served as a mock throne. “You will be my guard!”
“Guard?” the man pondered scratching his unkempt beard. 
“No.” He shook his head and smiled seeing her indignant eyes. “I will be the Queen’s elephant.” He beamed.
Sukratu stepped out of the house to see his daughter in action, perching herself on the tramp Loha’s back, pretending in all earnestness that he was her elephant. He smiled and was about to set out for his duty as the night guard of the King. A sudden lightning appeared in the eastern skies. Sukratu had barely walked a few paces when a deafening thunder made him instinctively turn towards home. He heaved a sigh, finding Loha shielding the girl as if he would, his own child. 
“Father, don’t go.” The girl pleaded. 
Sukratu smiled and shifted his gaze towards the sky. He saw dark clouds loom over the city. The monsoon winds had started to make their presence felt. He had to reach the palace soon. “Isn’t my little Queen brave?” He called out. 
The girl nodded. He saw the fear fade. From her eyes. From her heart. She knew she was the queen! Pride filled his heart. His mind ached to stay home but duty beckoned. Tearing his gaze away from the one he treasured the most in his life, braving the drizzle that would soon turn into a storm, he unwillingly walked towards the King’s residence. Sukratu’s house was in the third ring of the concentric structure of Vrishabhavati. In the centre, was the structure, that served as the residence of the king and as the centre of all trade activity of the city. Here no wealth or goods could change hands without the king’s knowledge and approval. The residences of the noblemen formed the two rings around it. The guards and soldiers forming the outermost circle with the citizens living around them. 
As per the protocol, Sukratu approached General Ugra’s residence quite ahead of his reporting time— an hour before the moonrise. He walked into the empty courtyard. But the rain made it impossible for him to stand there any longer. He knocked at the giant wooden door fervently. The doors creaked as a strange woman clad in a dark indigo garment opened them and glared at him with a frown on her forehead. 
General Ugra, Sukratu knew was never faithful to one woman. His superior’s romantic exploits were not his concern either. But something about the woman at the door disconcerted him. “Please let General Ugra know that…”
“He has already left for the palace!” The woman frowned before attempting to shut the door. 
“What? How ca…” Sukratu’s words hung in air as the door slammed on his face and the woman disappeared from his line of vision all of a sudden. Something did not feel right. He knocked at the door again. Firmly this time, as though seeking answers. Any change in the reporting time would have been announced the day before and he remembered that nothing of the sort had happened. His knocks went unanswered. Frowning and muttering under his breath, Sukratu hurried towards an empty cowshed three houses away from Ugra’s place hoping to catch his companions who he knew would be equally surprised. 
The first to arrive was Khela, the eighteen-year-old guard, holding a metal shield above his head. The newest addition to the King’s guard, Khela was related to General Ugra and Sukratu felt that his position in the King’s guard was largely a result of undue favours that Ugra showered upon an otherwise impudent boy. 
“Sukratu! By the great Varuna, I should have come to you earlier!” Khela hurried towards him. Pausing for breath, he added. “Our platoon has been given a relief tonight! It was a sudden decision and I personally informed all the others.”
“Relief for tonight? That happens only when…”
“Our guarding hours change from night to day!” Khela completed in a hurry. “Now, come with me.” He turned towards the western direction and the javelin he held started to sway dangerously and came close to grazing Sukratu’s arm. 
The older guard’s instincts made him dodge the cut. “Where?” Sukratu hissed, visibly annoyed, first with the fact that he was kept in dark about the change in guarding hours and then about Khela’s irreverent behaviour. “And watch who your weapon hurts, boy.”
Khela shrugged and changed the position of his weapon. “We are now going to the place.” He winked, stretching his hand in the direction. “Follow me, this is the only night we get to have some fun.”
Sukratu did not move. The place he knew implied the tavern where wine was served. “We cannot drink tonight, Khela. When do we have to report tomorrow? By sunrise?”
“You ask too many questions. The rest of us are there too!”
“That does not answer my question.” 
“Well, I don’t know, and I don’t care to. The palace is paying for the wine. Are you coming or not?” 
The last sentence sounded more like a threat than an invite. Sukratu had all the mind to give the youth a piece of his mind and storm back home. His daughter would be overjoyed to see him before she went to sleep. It gnawed at Sukratu’s heart every day to leave her under the care of Loha— the tramp who had begged him for shelter about six months ago and then became a part of his life. The girl liked him instantly and had begged Sukratu to let Loha live with them and he, despite his misgivings about the tramp’s origins and his unkempt appearance, could not refuse his only daughter. Over time, Sukratu felt grateful for Loha’s company. Now his daughter did not have to be all by herself every night. The guard’s home would have been unguarded if not for that stranger. Sukratu brushed aside these thoughts and had almost decided to go home when the thought of meeting other senior guards and clarifying the confusion struck him. He followed Khela’s lead, making no attempt to hide his displeasure. 
When they reached the tavern, Sukratu to his dismay, found many of his brothers in arms deeply drunk. “When did they reach here and when did they…”
“Quite some time before. I just forgot to tell you in advance!”
Sukratu’s eyes scrutinized the men and women of the tavern who were serving wine to the guards. There were no other citizens or travellers in the tavern. 
“Just for us, the whole night!” Khela said as if reading his thoughts, bringing him an earthen goblet. 
The older guard accepted the goblet taking his first sip with a sense of foreboding. 
“Where were you all the time, old friend?” The voice belonged to Tunga one of the senior guards in the platoon. 
The grin on his friend’s face brought a smile to Sukratu’s lips. “Tunga, what is this about the sudden change in our guarding hours?” 
“The King… that imbecile, has finally remembered that we are human too!” Tunga guffawed, emptying his goblet, waving vigorously at a woman of the tavern who obliged with a seductive wink. 
She approached them, skilfully distributing her attention between both the men, winking at Tunga and pouting her lips at Sukratu. Her brows rose at Sukratu’s filled cup. “Don’t keep the Sura nor this Sundari waiting, my love...” Serving Tunga his wine, she placed her fingers upon Sukratu’s shoulders, digging her nails into his skin for a moment locking her gaze with his and turned around swiftly, letting her light upper garment rest on his face for a fleeting moment. 
It was a wilful invitation and Sukratu knew it. His attention though was caught by the colour of the garment. The Indigo hued garment! All the women of the tavern wore clothes of the same colour. So did the woman he saw in General Ugra’s house! Was Ugra at home while the woman lied that he was at the palace? If the General and the whole platoon of the night guard were lying down drunk, who was minding the security of the King? Sukratu looked at the rest of the guards. No one seemed sober enough to talk. The only sober man Khela had disappeared!
“By the great Varuna!” Sukratu exclaimed aloud and rushed out, pushing the woman who tried to stop him away. 
He raced to the King’s residence, as fast as his legs could carry him. The huge wooden gates of the structure were closed and secured from inside. The rain lashed drowning his cries. Misgivings regarding the King’s welfare made him shudder. He had to meet General Ugra. Something told him that the General had his own reasons to send the whole platoon of guards to enjoy a drunk night. He was a guard who had sworn to protect the King with his life. The general owed him an answer. Sukratu rushed to General Ugra’s house determined to confront him. 
That, Sukratu realized was the biggest mistake of his life. 
At the gates of the general’s residence he saw a familiar figure hurrying out of his house, a heavy bundle on his shoulders. “General Ugra!” he called out, feeling relieved. 
The figure started, and the bundle fell to the ground. Sukratu came to a sudden halt as he realized it wasn’t a bundle after all, but a blood-drenched corpse. A stroke of lightning from the sky revealed the face and the very familiar greying curls. Sukratu froze for a long moment before he could speak.
 “K... King...”
Something hit him on the head even before he could utter the name. Sukratu staggered, reeling at the impact, clutching at his long sword in a vain attempt to defend the next move. 
“Finish him!” The General shout behind him. 
Before he turned around, Sukratu felt the cold metal tear into his back. Lightning struck revealing the contours of the person. Khela! The javelin stabbed him again. Thunder drowned his screams. Falling to the ground with the weapon still stuck to his back, Sukratu lifted his sword and managed to slash Khela’s palm though the latter, unlike him was vigilant and alert. Crawling away from the menacing duo, knowing very well that he could not last more than a few moments, Sukratu’s thoughts, went to his innocent daughter. She would now languish as an orphan remaining in dark about the monsters who killed her father. Or would they kill her too?
Sukratu would never know.

About the Author:

Saiswaroopa is an IITian and a former investment analyst turned author. Her keen interest in ancient Indian history, literature and culture made her take to writing. Her debut novel Abhaya, set in the times of Mahabharata was published in 2015. Avishi, her second novel set in Vedic India explores the legend of India’s first mentioned female warrior queen Vishpala.
She holds a certificate in Puranas from Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies. She is also trained in Carnatic Classical music and has won a state level gold medal from Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams. 




Last but not the least,
I have read the book. I am giving it a 5 star rating.


Saturday, September 30, 2017

Book Review: Return of the Trojan Horse by Amit Dubey







 

Book Review: Return of the Trojan Horse - Tales of Criminal Investigation - by Amit Dubey


This one was different.

 

There are 3 novella in the book – 3 independent stories from the point of view of the same central character – our protagonist – who helps the police solve crimes using his tech wizardry and tech tools.  

 

The 3 stories are not connected and can be read independently in any order. The stories are good in themselves. The stories inform and educate the average reader about how technology is changing the crime fighting. The stories have their twists and turns – real or fictional – making them interesting to read.

 

What is also good to see is that the author is not just highlighting and glorifying the technology contribution to crime fighting. He has given due consideration and weightage to the sheer age-old human ingenuity which is the real tool to crime fighting.

 

Interesting characters and nice plot to the story with good suspense. An interesting cover design too …

 

Well, that was all the positive I had. Now I will come to the things that I did not like about the book or let’s say, things that need a lot of improvement.


The author needs to work on his story telling. I would have expected the Publisher to give that feedback to the author and help the author sharpen his writing, create a better narration and suitably edit the writing to bring in more punch.

The story telling feels like a plain simple narration of the events rather than suspenseful dramatization with partial revealing of facts and inner thought processes. The story is as good as the story-telling and the author needs to polish his story telling skills or get some help in writing his stories with more punch.

Crime stories need to be exciting, should have a strong element of suspense, edge-of-the-seat story-telling and a non-stagnating flow of events. The real life is not exactly like this so even when you are building a fictional tale based on real life incidents and experiences, you got to take some creative liberties and hold the reader in your story.


One problem with first-person story telling is that you can narrate only what you can see in front of you. Any event or conversation happening in your absence; you can’t narrate it.  In one of the stories, the author is in one place and there is a gun-fight happening in the other. The narration of this particular scene in first person is not a good idea. In fact, the author should have narrated what he heard on the phone and how the inspector reacted to what he heard. Later on, he could have had a hawaldar narrate the actual eyewitness account and fill the gaps. That would have made for an interesting reading.


Hopefully the author has more exciting stories that he can tell and with improved writing, his books are sure bestsellers.

 

Rating: 3/5