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Thursday, December 22, 2016

Book Review - The Calling: Unleash Your True Self by Priya Kumar


 


Book: The Calling: Unleash Your True Self

Author: Priya Kumar

No. of Pages: 166

Genre: Self Development, Self-help books

Publisher: Books That Inspire

 

The book blurb says …

The Calling is a spiritual adventure. It is an encounter with the truth, the wisdom and the force that is innate to us all. At the brink of a divorce and personal breakdown, Arjun took a trip into the heart of the Himalayas, on the insistence of a sadhu, who predicted that the journey up to Hemkund Sahib would align him to his purpose and change his life forever. At every turn the mountains holds secrets and tests that urge Arjun to evolve into the person he had denied to be - himself. Pretenses, falsities, confusions and untruths fall apart as Arjun is forced to confront the mess he had created in his life. What started off as an opportunity to escape reality, turned out to be an opportunity to escape from the dwindling spiral of self-created misery. Filled with spiritual insights and sprinkled with light humor, this story will help you find your calling, your voice and who knows, even your true self.

 

I say …

Not Bad. But not a quick fix either.

If you are looking for answers to life questions … don’t expect to find the answers in there.

If you are looking for your own calling … don’t expect a road-map to find it in there.

If you are looking for a quick fix … well … don’t expect to find it anywhere !!

 
The book is like a good Management Consultant – asking the right questions to you so that you give the answers – and then he can present the best answer basis the answers you gave refined with his own experience. You essentially solve your own problem, with the consultant acting as a catalyst.

And that is what the book does. It tells you a story and keeps asking you some questions (by way f the story, of course). If you go through the book, without pausing to ask the questions to yourself … you are wasting your time and heading for disappointment.

The idea is to take the same trip that the protagonist of this book takes and do your think thinking. You take the cue from the questions and arguments in the book and brainstorm with your own self … seeking your own answers. Discover your very own personal calling.

The book’s narrative is simple and it leads you on a path of self-discovery with the magical Himalayas in the backdrop.

Feel free to pick this book … but heed the warning I gave at the beginning of the review. 

While the cover shows some aspect of the storyline – a man caught up in corporate life, looking towards the snow clad mountains (his journey through the book) … I am not sure I would have been inspired to pick up the book just by looking at that cover. I don’t have suggestions or views on what would be a better cover design but the current one is not the best attention grabber from my perspective.

Ratings on Book Review Parameters:

Cover Design: 3.0 / 5  

Writing Style:  3.0 / 5

Characters:     3.0 / 5

Story / Plot:    3.0 / 5

Climax:             3.0 / 5

Overall:            3.0 / 5

A consistent 3/5 rating across since the book is good but ordinary. Nothing extra-ordinary in there. I would still recommend it to you (provided you are NOT looking for quick-fix and ready to do the difficult task of ‘thinking’ and ‘introspecting’ .. yeah .. it is difficult )
And in case you are interested, here are other books by the Author. It is very releevant and important thing to mention here that the Author, Priya Kumar, is "an internationally acclaimed motivational speaker, nationally renowned and award-winning bestselling author & the CEO and Chief Facilitator of Priya Kumar’sTraining Systems" (source: http://priya-kumar.com/)    
 

Friday, September 30, 2016

Book Review : Metro Diaries Part 2 by Namrata



Book Review: Metro Diaries Part 2 by Namrata


 


 


I liked it. A collection of 20 touching everyday-life stories.


Stories that caress your heart and pull some strings. Make you stop reading and make you feel nostalgic and thoughtful at times. You begin to imagine yourself in the stories ... especially since quite a few (or is it all?) are written in first person narrative


Want some heart-touching eye moistening read ... pick this up. 


It is easy to connect with the stories and you are drawn to the inner demons of the characters in the story. The first person narration makes it personal and very real you … the reader.


I read these mushy and emotional stories after a series of high octane action thrillers (Jack West Jr. series of 3 novels by Matthew Reilly) so the impact was drastic. From Hollywood style action to highly emotional and touchy stories. I enjoyed reading them.


 


Here are some quotes from Metro Diaries Part 2 ... take a test drive !!


 


At times in life we always see what we are being shown and not what lies behind that cloak of disguise. We believe all that comes our way without doubting that there could be a trick or maybe just a hallucination. – Charlatan


 


Life they say is a like a jigsaw puzzle and we are all like those pieces trying to find where we fit in. – Labour of Love


 


Perhaps she had forgotten the thumb rule for survival here. There is nothing called yours here.  No will, no desire, no dreams, no ambitions….nothing. Not even your name. – The Plummet


 


What else do you do when you are a teenager? Life seems to be one long party full of fun and frolic with your best friends all around. You just know your world is full of rainbow colours; sweetness of chocolates filling it and abundant beautiful dresses to doll you up.  Love and relationships take a different meaning altogether now making you look at everything around including yourself in newer light. – Love v/s hate


 


I always felt I knew what I wanted in life. But today I realized how wrong I was. I was chasing mirages as the reality kept going away from me and now I am left with nothing in hand – Rags to Riches


 


People make memories and then reach a phase where memories make people! – Mou Athena


 

Thursday, September 01, 2016

Short Life Stories in Metro Diaries 2 by Namrata

About the Book:


Give life another chance. Laugh a little longer. let go of your past. Hold onto what you love. In short LIVE rather than just exist!

Some told, some untold, some heard and some unheard - this collection of stories will make you look at life in a different light and make you ponder over its definition of it till now.


Goodreads I Amazon


Reviews for Metro Diaries 1:



After touching your hearts with 'Metro Diaries - Love Classics' she is back now with stories that will redefine life for you!



The stories in Metro Diaries - Love Classics are free from any trappings of youthful slang and fashionable language stunts. These young adults are speaking to the readers with Namrata’s maturity shining through, and Namrata’s ideas of love. - Sakshi Nanda 

The language is fairly pleasant to read and the elaborate discussions between characters in each story must have taken a lot of work – because the most difficult job of all authors is to bring out human emotions in proper words. Thankfully, Namrata has concentrated upon it very well! - Dhivya Balaji




About the Author:


Namrata is A Lost Wanderer who loves travelling the length and breadth of the world. A published author in various anthologies and magazines she enjoys capturing the magic of life in her words. She is forever in pursuit of a new country and a new story.


Contact the Author:


Website * Facebook * Twitter






Sunday, August 14, 2016

The Complex Story of a Suicide


The Story of a Suicide is a complex story



Complex because it tries to represent Life … and Life is Complex.

Complex because it tries to bring together the challenges that the youth face today … and those challenges are complex. Not because they are really complex … but because the youth is subjected to peer pressure as well as certain delusions of perceptions that make things complicated for themselves.


Complex because there are so many real as well as perceived challenges out there for the youth … and there are more perceived challenges against the small number of ‘real’ challenges. The youth gets confused between the real and perceived (as well as imaginary) challenges and get their priorities wrong; messing up their lives.

I am sure you think I am being overly harsh in my judgment and you might be saying “as if you were never young Hemant?” …


But seriously … do you remember hearing of the ‘numerous’ suicide cases or have you heard of references of psychiatrists and counsellors in your time? There were there in your time too BUT were they so prominent or so busy?

The Story of a Suicide is an attempt … an experiment … a helping hand … reaching out to any and every person struggling with depression within himself/herself for various reasons. Maybe they can find a common factor … maybe they can find some answers …


It is a story which tries to bring together several different challenges and issues that the typical teenager/youth faces today ... which could eventually lead to suicide or at least suicidal tendencies which ultimately mess up their lives and their thinking ability. (The key here is ‘messing up with their thinking ability’)

Love, Sex, Drugs, Sexual orientation/preference, Gay/Lesbian, child abuse, rape, freedom to lead one’s life unshackled by family as well as society norms and moral standards, peer pressure, FB/Twitter impact on lives, complying and not complying to societal norms, Voyeurism, online/real-life abuse as well as online/real-life bullying, hacking - not just email or other online accounts but mobile devices etc ... and so on and so forth … the list is very looong.


You might wonder how were so many things were dealt with in a single story. It would be overwhelming. It might become a preaching book rather than novel or a story.

Well, that did not happen. The story is well woven and well written.

 


Now for some warning: You need to have a certain maturity to read and understand and appreciate the thoughts and ideas expressed in the story. If you don't ... then you will end up hating the book and think that it is utter nonsense. On the other hand, reading the book gives you some level of maturity to understand and appreciate other people and their differences. So it’s kind of a loop here. Read it with an open mind and keep it open ... don't clam up at the first sight of something that you don't agree with. Agree to disagree and continue.


I would readily recommend the story to anyone.

 

Special note: You can read the story for free ... its online .. on a website ... BUT there is more than the story.

 

There are very interesting illustrations / drawing / sketches to enhance your story reading experience. And they are really very good. They are illustrative of the story and the turmoil. Wish I had a little artistic vocabulary so that I could describe the work. I will stick to ‘fabulous’ ... The various 'fabulous' imagery you see in this review post is actually from the book's website. These are chapter openers / headers and there are additional illustrations within too. Just a quick scroll/skim through the post and you will see not only the beauty of the illustrations but also the visual concept behind them and you will surely wonder about their relevance to the story. TRUST me, they are relevant ... the  elephant as well as the Devil as well as the face represented in multiple colors.

There is also audio version of each chapter that you can listen to.


And the biggest difference is that for each chapter you have something called "How Do I?" section which will give the reader tips on how to deal with situations (and not get into the state of suicidal tendencies). This is really the focus or the key aspect of this whole project.


Kudos to the entire team who has put this whole thing together - the author being just one member. Had support from the web designers, the artist/illustrator for the sketches supporting the story, the content developer for the 'how do i' sections, the very impressive promo video and audio version creators and others. Big congratulations to them all - you have really created a very good piece of art / literature.

 


Some personal thoughts:

Har Ek Friend Zaruri Hota Hain – Yes. It is extremely important to have a friend. Someone you trust and can confide in. You may be extrovert or introvert – it doesn’t matter. Making friends has nothing to do with being extrovert. Its about finding a person you can relate to and match your frequency with. Go … find that one person. Talk to him/her and confide. They are your ‘straw’ when you feel drowned in emotions and thoughts. Having someone to share your thoughts is something that will definitely keep you away from suicidal thoughts to a great extent.



Priorities – get your priorities right buddy. Life is very precious and there are far more important things and people than a grade, results, career performance, girlfriend/boyfriend, peer pressure, being cool etc. When you feel suicidal, you are under-valuing your parents, your own life and all your friends and people who love you or who care about you. You are undermining their feelings for you and their trust in you. Suicide is almost NEVER the answer or solution to any problem or situation. It is a permanent and fatal solution to a temporary problem or situation. Just not worth it. And worst of all, you don’t even survive to see if this ‘solution’ worked. And never forget the pain and hurt you will cause to all the people who love you and care about you. Do you really want to do THAT?

Peer Pressure – this one is a perceived issue and NOT a real one. Just protect yourself from this one and don’t fall for it. It will trouble you in many many different ways … just guard yourself against it. Don’t fall for it.


Last but not the least, I will borrow from my dear friend Dr.Roshan where his great advice to you … the friend to another person … is to say something like “See you tomorrow” or “See you soon” to your friends. Especially if you find they are not in a good mood or worse in depression or suicidal emotions. Those simple words could in some ways force them to keep themselves alive so that they can keep the implicit promise of seeing you again. You will never know if this worked but what the heck, you don’t lose anything by keeping it in mind.

Back to Book Review and my rating for the book ...
Ratings on Book Review Parameters:
Cover Design:  5.0 / 5   .... includes the rating for all the illustrations
Writing Style:  4.5 / 5 
Characters:     4.0 / 5
Story / Plot:    4.5 / 5
Climax:            4.0 / 5
Overall:           4.5 / 5

All the images in the post are from the website - http://www.storyofasuicide.com/ - of the book and are created by Ghana !! FABULOUS work.   


Friday, August 05, 2016

Book Blast - The Conspiracy at Meru by Shatrujeet Nath


The Conspiracy at Meru
(Vikramaditya Veergatha # 2)





VICTORY IS TEMPORARY. THE BATTLE IS ETERNAL.

Vikramaditya and his Council of Nine have fought valiantly to repel the rampaging hordes from Devaloka and Patala – but Avanti has been brought to its knees. Ujjayini lies battered its citizens are scared and morale is badly shaken. Meanwhile, the barbaric Hunas and Sakas are gathering on the horizon and cracks are emerging between the allied kingdoms of Sindhuvarta.

The only silver lining is that the deadly Halahala is safe. For now.

Bent on vengeance, Indra is already scheming to destroy Vikramaditya, while Shukracharya has a plan that can spell the doom for the Guardians of the Halahala. How long can the human army hold out against the ferocity and cunning of the devas and asuras? And will Vikramaditya’s love for his queen come in the way of his promise to Shiva?






The deadly Halahala, the all-devouring poison churned from the depths of the White Lake by the devas and asuras, was swallowed by Shiva to save the universe from extinction.
But was the Halahala truly destroyed?
A small portion still remains – a weapon powerful enough to guarantee victory to whoever possesses it. And both asuras and devas, locked in battle for supremacy, will stop at nothing to claim it.
As the forces of Devaloka and Patala, led by Indra and Shukracharya, plot to possess the Halahala, Shiva turns to mankind to guard it from their murderous clutches. It is now up to Samrat Vikramaditya and his Council of Nine to quell the supernatural hordes – and prevent the universe from tumbling into chaos!
A sweeping tale of honour and courage in the face of infinite danger, greed and deceit, The Guardians of the Halahala is a fantastical journey into a time of myth and legend.



About the Author
Door-to-door salesman, copywriter, business journalist & assistant editor at The Economic Times; Shatrujeet Nath was all this before he took to writing fiction full-time. He debuted with The Karachi Deception in 2013, followed by The Guardians of the Halahala and The Conspiracy at Meru, the first two books in the Vikramaditya Veergatha series. At present, he is writing volume three of the series. Shatrujeet lives in Mumbai, but spends much of his time in the fantasy worlds of his stories.



Also by the Author:
(Click On the Cover for More Details)

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Saturday, June 18, 2016

Book Review: The Last Love Story by Falguni Kothari


 


Book: The Last Love Story

Author: Falguni Kothari

No. of Pages: 300

Genre: Fiction

Publisher: Falguni Kothari

 

The book blurb …

I, Simeen Desai, am tired of making lemonade with the lemons life has handed me.

Love is meant to heal wounds. Love was meant to make my world sparkle and spin. Love has ripped my life apart and shattered my soul.

I love my husband, and he loves me. But Nirvaan is dying. I love my husband. I want to make him happy. But he is asking for the impossible.

I don’t want a baby. I don’t want to make nice with Zayaan. I don’t want another chance at another love story.

***WARNING*** Weepers, keep tissues handy.

 

Review …

I am speechless. In a way, I am all praise about the book, its writing, the author and all. I couldn't say enough to justify the 5 star rating and my personal bias towards giving it 6 or more stars out of 5.

I am numb. The book is an emotionally charged roller coaster with a very bold theme (if I may say so). It is not a novel for the average reader. It requires a very high level of maturity to even digest what is going on in the protagonists mind/heart and not hate her or judge her. It is emotionally draining to read about the complexity of her life and the demons she is fighting every moment. And also appreciate the struggles of the other characters. Even the minor characters of the story are not easily forgottable.  

Falguni gets my respect for crafting the character so well and she is on my 'fav authors' list now. I will read anything she writes. I had an emotional roller coaster ride as a reader. The ride she would have had as a writer must have been incredible.

Frankly i am speechless. I am like the audience who is so spell bound by a performance that they forget to clap. I am numb emotionally after reading the book and can’t think the proper words which need to go into an honest review.

Falguni manages to wrestle with several controversial subjects and roll them seamlessly into a complex story with complicated relationships and well sketched-out characters with diverse backgrounds.  

To the average reader, the book will appear to be scandalous in many places and overall they will be offended by it. Hence, it takes a matured reader to appreciate the book. The matured reader also identifies with the different characters and would find some shades of each character in himself/herself or in people around him/her. Once you begin to appreciate the matured content of the storyline … you accept the characters and the storyline as something very real … and you even forget that you are reading fiction.

Pick this book up if you are game for an emotional roller coaster and u have an open mind which is not bound and shackled by primitive or even today's world view of moral values and 'right behavior' and definition of relationships. You have been warned.

I have specifically NOT written anything about the different characters or the storyline. Go ahead, explore.  

Ratings on Book Review Parameters:

Cover Design:  2.5 / 5              Pretty ordinary cover design. Nothing noteworthy.
Writing Style:  5.0 / 5 
Characters:     5.0 / 5
Story / Plot:     5.0 / 5
Climax:             5.0 / 5
Overall:           5.0 / 5 

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Cover Reveal - All of Me

*** Cover Reveal ***

Title: All of Me
Author: Jonali Karmakar
Length: 69 pages
Publication Date: May 29, 2016
ASIN: B01G0P8JGK


Book Blurb:
All of Me is a collection of thirteen little stories that have been gleaned from real life as well as imagination. Exploring a range of genres, these throb with everything primal to human nature: fear, angst, joy, love, and longing. Some stories are designed to elicit smiles, chuckles, and maybe even a belly laugh or two whereas some are meant as a reality check. Universal in nature, each story provides a glimpse of what women empowerment or a lack thereof can mean in a person’s life.

From a small hamlet in India to the roads of Australia; from a mother’s betrayal to a daughter’s confession; from an extra marital affair to a same sex relationship learn for yourself the what, how and whys.

Originally written for anthologies and ezines, these stories have been revisited and updated for this new collection.  


About the Author:

Jonali Karmakar is a fiction writer with a Masters in English. Writing is not just her passion but her way of dealing with life. She loves being able to escape into the worlds she creates. Everything that she writes becomes a part of her and she wants her readers to know the woman behind those words. In addition to being an educator, she works as a content editor for a local news portal. She has been providing editing, proofreading and translation services for the past few years.

Jonali’s work has been published in several journals, anthologies and poetry collections both national and international. An avid reader, she loves flipping pages of anything and everything on the table and reviewing the same on her blog Eclectic Moods. She feels that reading and writing are the flip sides of the same coin. Writing is her way of communicating with the world. When she’s not writing or teaching she loves to experiment with her paintings.

She has quite a few accolades to her name.

Contact the Author:
This Feature is a part of the Blogger Outreach Program by b00k r3vi3w Tours

Sunday, January 31, 2016

We are the architects of our Gold Mornings


 
Long ago, I had written a blog post titled – Google before Gargle – and another one which talked about the new basic necessities of life being Bread, Butter and Broadband. Well, the morning did begin with a quick look at gmail. Nowadays, it is whatsapp instead. The morning invariably begins with most people reaching out for their mobile phone to check whatsapp messages, even before opening their eyes.

Unfortunately, such beginnings to mornings dependent on gadgets and devices are plain sad. That’s one reason I shut off the wifi and mobile data from my phone when I sleep at night and do not switch them on till I am fully awake and I have made my mornings golden already.

The morning should be good. It should be great. It should be refreshingly golden great … simply because the whole day depends on it. A great morning often results in a fantastic day while a bad start of the day would result in a stressful day which will be a pain to go through.

One thing we should remember is that most often, it is in our hands to make our mornings better rather than worse. We are the architects of our own day.

For me, a good golden morning is about being fresh and feeling happy. A quick cold face wash followed by a refreshing brushing of the teeth (preferably with the new Colgate 360 Charcoal Gold toothbrush) followed by piping hot chai is a good way to begin BUT even before that I bring happiness in my morning by just looking at my sleeping 2 year old daughter in all her innocence. Such is the serene beauty and contentment on her face that I just stare at her filling my heart with hope and happiness – a golden start to my morning.

What else could I hope for from a morning #Colgate360GoldMornings