THE BIG SWITCH: Its never too late by John Thomas- Book Review (Spoiler free)

Title- THE BIG SWITCH: Its never too late

Author- John Thomas

Genres-  Fiction

Pages- 239

Rating- 4 stars!!!!

About the book:

(taken from Goodreads)

What does a 24-year-old man want in life?
Love?
A decent job?
Keith has both. He is a software engineer at a reputable company and has a girlfriend whom he loves a lot.
Yet, there is something missing in his life. He is not even close to being happy.
Only after losing his girlfriend, he realizes what the reason for his unhappiness is.
He realizes that he is caught up in the wrong career.
With time running out, he knows that he must switch to a new career — one that makes him happy.
But, is 24 too late to do that? Is he making a mistake?
Find out as Keith follows his heart in pursuit of an impossible-looking dream.

Verdict:

What attracted me to pick up this book was its essential core theme- career. Our careers are a very important decision in our lives. Not only does our choice helps us stand in the society and earn a living, it sets the tone for the rest of our lives. I am a recent post graduate myself. And I have made the decision to slightly deviate from my initial course to another career. But even my dreams exist, which I am trying to balance side by side, Considering how I had felt when I wanted to change my career, this book somewhat called out to me.

Keith, our protagonist, is shown as a struggling IT guy who doesn’t like his job, is not happy and stays mostly dissatisfied. His love life is tremendously going off track and his mean girlfriend breaks up with him when Keith cancels their plans for a day. Now Keith who is very confused as to whether stick to his boring job or follow his heart out. This dilemma has been shown in the novel at depth. Youngsters in similar situations will feel the same after reading the book. Although there a quite a few characters, only Keith kept me grounded. Oh, and also Ramesh, his manager who kind of comes off as his guru at times.

WHat I really appreciated about The Big Switch is the simple yet poignant writing style. Use of less describing is a plus for me as well. In all, the motive, the real message behind the novel stayed true till the end. It didnt waver off from Keith and delve into some other character’s life drama. The book gets predictable sometimes, which is expected of such books, with its nature and core concept. But other than that a  very enjoyable read indeed.

If you are feeling down and want a quick read to put you back on track, this is the book for you. I bet you will get inspired as well!

 

My favorite quote from the book:

“Anyone who has made it big didn’t know how they were going to doing it. They just knew one thing – they had to do it.” 

I love this quote as it sums up any struggler’s life. You don’t have a choice of not doing it. Not following your dreams will make you a coward in your own eyes. Follow your heart and just do it!

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This book is provided by Vinfluencers in exchange for an honest review. 

 

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Trust Me Not by Ankita Verma Datta- Book Review (Spoiler free)

Title- Trust Me Not

Author- Ankita Verma Datta

Genres- Socio-Political Thriller

Publisher- Jaico Publishing House

Rating- 3 Stars!!!!

 

About the book:

(taken from Goodreads)

Rising corporate star Reeva Rai is offered a prestigious position in a top-notch PR agency. It is the opportunity of a lifetime. But working with Enigmatic Billionaire Kunaal Kabi was not going to be easy. Even as she develops feelings for him, she is determined to prove herself.

But when an activist friend turns to her for help with a real-estate scam, Reeva has to make a high-stakes choice. Can she retain the credibility of her prominent clients while helping hundreds save their homes? As she digs deeper to find solutions, a nefarious scheme unravels with unexpected connections. A no-holds-barred race ensues, blood is drawn and Reeva is trapped in the eye of a political thunderstorm. If she succeeds, powerful people will have much to answer.

Verdict:

Trust Me Not is actually a debut novel by Ankita Verma Datta. From the day of its launch last year, I was very intrigued by the story. It’s so great that so many new Indian authors are coming up with books on various genres. Datta’s novel is one example of that.

Let us take the genre for instance. A socio-political thriller! I mean, I have never read or even HEARD about this, but it exists. Actually, it would be so wrong to club this book under one genre because there is just so much happening inside! Trust me, but Trust Me Not is a wild ride!

So the story basically follows corporate ninja Reeva who under some circumstances, finds herself working in close proximity with Kunaal Kabi, a successful billionaire. They both fight their growing feelings for each other, determined not to show each other what they really want. The PR agency that Reeva works for is assigned a top-notch political party, who are dead set to win the next elections. As the plot progresses, new players are introduced, stakes get higher and lives get tangled. What began as a public relations jobs, turns Reeva’s simple life upside down into total mayhem.

The protagonist Reeva, is a very strong character. I liked the fact that not all her traits and flaws were revealed at the very beginning of the book like some Bollywood melodrama.  The author has surely taken time to craft this person and it is well appreciated. But while our heroine has enigmatic features, so dot he others. And this is where I have a slight issue. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good character with a huge past baggage just like any other nerd. But what becomes troublesome is keeping up with all these personalities.

The plot which begins with a slow pace picks up in no time. It’s almost as if you are on a roller coaster. Though I enjoyed the thriller aspect of the story, at times it kind of bothered me when I wasn’t able to pace well. It’s not about my reading speed, but rather the balance between sneaking in high paced and slower content.

Now, coming to the writing, I feel Ankita has a long way to go. No, I don’t mean that her English is bad or she is not articulative enough. What I mean is her excessive use of adjectives. Literature is supposed to be a flowery language. But a good story needs to be controlled where the author shows rather than tells through her words. I get it m that special words are needed here and there. But their excessive use just makes it seem that the writer is trying to make up for the lack of plot or content. Which is so not the case in Trust Me Not. This brilliant book can be made into an awesome movie in fact ( and yes, I have heard the same from many bookstagrammers). So sorry for being so strict on language part, but the medium of storytelling matters too.

Ciao.

 

 

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This book has been provided by Writersmelon in exchange for an honest review.

Pralay: The Great Deluge by Vineet Bajpai- Book Review (Spoiler free)

 

Title- Pralay: The Great Deluge

Author- Vineet Bajpai

Genres-  Historical, Mythological Fantasy

Series- Harappa #2

Rating- 4 Stars!!!!

 

About the book:

(taken from Goodreads)

“Even death is afraid of the White Mask…”

1700 BCE, Harappa – The devta of Harappa has fallen…tortured and condemned to the dungeons of the dead. His murdered wife’s pious blood falls on the sands of the metropolis, sealing the black fate of Harappa…forever.

2017, Banaras – A master assassin bites into cyanide, but not before pronouncing the arrival of an unstoppable, dark force. A maha-taantric offers a chilling sacrifice.

325 AD, Bithynian City (modern-day Turkey) – Unable to foresee the monster he was untethering, an extraordinary monarch commissions a terrifying world-vision spanning millennia.

1700 BCE, East of Harappa – A mystical fish-man proclaims the onset of Pralay – the extinction of mankind. The Blood River rises to avenge her divine sons.

What happens to the devta of Harappa? Is Vidyut truly the prophesied saviour? Who are the veiled overlords behind the sinister World Order? What was the macabre blueprint of the mysterious emperor at Bithynian City? Turn the pages to unravel one of the world’s greatest conspiracies and the haunting story of a lost, ancient civilization.

Verdict:

Let me do my happy dance as I squeal in joy that I got chosen again to review Vineet Bajpai’s absolute master series! From the time I had turned the final page of Harappa #1, I just couldn’t wait to get my hands on this one. But of course I had to wait several long months before I could get my hands on this baby. And once again, Pralay has swept me off my feet!

For those who are unfamiliar with the series, you can check my spoiler free review her for the first part – Harappa- The Curse of the Blood River (Spoiler free review)

Book 2 and we start off with a nice recap provided by the author. Let me tell you one thing. Recaps are an absolute necessary in series. ABSOLUTE NECESSARY! I cant thank the author enough to think of this tiny detail and add it for his readers.

The story follows Vivasan Pujari who we last saw shackled by the mad city, almost at the verge of dying. His son Manu is absolutely desperate to find a place to perform the final rights to his mother. Somdutt, Pujari’s trustee, manages to save him which ultimately results in the eviction of the darker side. Angry and almost demonized Vuavasan Pujari, half man- half devta, has blood on his mind and Harappa on the point of extinction.

We jump back to present where a wounded Vidyut is being rushed off to be treated after his close encounter with death at the ghats. Balwanta and Naina ar with him. In some other part of the world, a secret mafia is on the move to bring about the New World Order, a world where the devta doesnt exist.

Annnndddd…. that’s it. That’s all the sneak peek you get. Get the book to know more!

Coming to the plot- absolutely breathtaking. There’s not one point in the entire book that I wasn’t hooked completely. The story line is brilliant, gives the reader lot to think of and boggle their minds. History and mythology are very sensitive subjects. Tampering with the facts can never be a good outcome. But skirting around them, forming another beautiful universe full of possibilities and lacing them with just the right amount of hitorical facts, is the perfect combo. And that’s exactly what Pralay aims to do.

I did feel it kind of heavy on the descriptions, but I can easily see that as the author’s signature style. A few of the transitions from the different timelines and perspectives could have been a bit fine tuned. But other than that I have no complaint.

The writing style is impeccable. I can’t find any fault in it. In my previous review about Harappa, I had made a point on how the slang and too simple words were not to my liking. But I can see a lot of improvement in the author’s style. I hope I get to read his works more. Can’t wait for the third and FINAL part!


This Book Review/Interview is a part of The Readers Cosmos Book Review Program and Book Promotions” to know more log on to thereaderscosmos.blogspot.in/.

 

AQSON Level 1 by Sreejib- Book Review (Spoiler free)

Title- Aqson Level 1

Author- Sreejib (Koel Ganguly)

Genres- Fantasy

Publisher- Leadstart Publishing Pvt Ltd

Pages- 427

Rating- 4 stars!

 

About the book:

(taken from Goodreads)

“Slowly, she sauntered towards Toya, stopped a few feet away, looked into Toya’s eyes, and roared. It was an ear-splitting, feet-numbing, rib-shaking roar that promised death. This was the end of her, Toya knew.

This was how she would die. In this unknown museum at the hands of this Olympian lioness, and, she would never be found again.”

When it became impossible to choose between God and Satan, angels decided to play games. Games that would help them pick the guardian angel of this world. Every warrior angel got divided into two teams, Team God and Team Lucifer.

Strict rules were implemented, an unusual map was designed and a council was set up to administer these games. Satan has commenced one such game called Aqson and set the Indian Prime Minister’s position as the goal of this game.

Now, a completely unknown species will collide with humans to play a game where losing is not figurative. Angels will stoop to enter the grunge of Indian politics.
A grey eyed lioness will stop at nothing. And, a group of young boys and girls will be forced to rise above their identity to play and win Level 1 of Aqson.

Pick a side, because the game has begun.

 

Verdict:

Firstly wow. The sheer brilliance that the plot of Aqson Level 1 is, has simply blown my mind. Imagine a world ruled by God and Lucifer, where both put bets and try to thwart one another with their weapons. Now throw in a deadly game, where the goal is to become India’s Prime Minister in the next 30 years and an upcoming youth political party. Tadaa! you get Aqson.

So basically Aqson is the name of the game which both the celestial beings have put their forces on to win. In West Bengal, a student political party emerges in the nation’s eye, providing both hope and a scope for revenge for nefarious forces.

The book has several quirky characters, especially Toya, who will keep you in fits of laughter. She and her friends enter college only to find themselves pushed in to the center of campus politics. They set to right many wrongs. Unknown to them God and Lucifer have already put their all to win the challenge. The prize: get all the weapons that Nature has. Only problem, it has nothing good stored for the humans.

The book begins with several confusing shifts of perspective. But if you are patient, I am sure you can get a hang of things. Sreejib doesn’t disappoint a bit in the plot circle. Mixing mythology with fantasy and throwing in Indian politics is a genius idea indeed. As far as I can remember, no other author has tried to master this feat and come out successful as well. Kudos for that!

Coming to the writing style, I was impressed. Being a debut novel, I had my apprehensions before picking up this book. But boy, wasn’t I happy that I didnt my chance on reading Aqson. Sreejib has a very fine tune with words and language. The story flows without a hitch, with her descriptions and vivid imagery helping us readers imagine the plot.

Another plus point is of course the genre. Being a Fantasy/YA nerd that I am, I usually hesitate to pick up new authors. But because of this novel’s setting, I was gripped from page 1. I applause the author’s tenuous amount of research that she must have put into for it reflects in the outcome.

Apart from these, being a debut, I am happy to overlook minor details. Despite the language fluidity, the plot sometimes becomes a bit overbearing and loopy. Though I am sure Sreejib wouldn’t disappoint us at all with the next in series. Can’t wait!

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This book review is a part of The Readers Comsos Book Review Program and Blog Tours. For details log on to thereaderscosmos.blogspot.in

 

 

LEGENDS OVER GENERATIONS by Ashraf Haggag – Book Review (Spoiler free)

Title- Legends Over Generations

Author- Ashraf Haggag

Genres- Non-fiction

Publisher- Creatspace

Pages- 228

Rating- 3.5 Stars!!!

 

About the book:

(taken from Goodreads)

 

Since the beginning of human settlement, a lot of people came up with ideas, philosophies, beliefs, experiments, research, redesigning of thoughts, talents, and surveys to bring myths to reality.
People contributed to various life aspects science, politics, literature, arts, social activities and so many other fields. These genius minds put a keen interest in every phenomenon right from when they were young. The zeal, passion, dedication, hard work and efforts they put into their work helped them discover something new about the world we live in.

In these Legends, we’ve seen inexplicable abilities that helped us define our existence and human life. Their names are engraved in the sands of time for their work in the welfare of mankind with different inventions that have made our lives easy, enjoyable and successful. The following chapters commemorate the greatest personalities we’ve ever seen who changed the world.

They are among the most influential people of today’s world. With practical advantages in various aspects, they have helped us to grow a better understanding of the world and different working phenomenon’s that governs us. Their way of shaping modern day culture is completely unrivalled.

Verdict:

The very first thing that excites and entices about a book is of course its summary. The back page info or leaf turn gives you that necessay hook to compel you to pick a book and read. As you already know, non-fiction is not my forte. But something about reading up about old legends piqued my interest for this book.

Ashraf Haggag has a very unique style of writing. Neither does he overdo, nor under sell his characters (the various personalities). There’s a perfect balance that the author maintains throughout the book. Although the whole lives of legends or any great personality is worth a thorough read. Why Haggag’s book trumps over is because of his selectivity into choosing certain aspects and point from the leaders’ lives. He gives a intro on their lives stating there important achievments and their contribution to the society.

Another important aspect is how widespread the fields were. Not only did I get to know of eminent personalities in the world of politics or science, but got an insight to Arts, Literature and other respective fields. The inclusivity factor is  a great hook for readers to latch on to. As we know, not all of us would be interested to read on or get know more about a certain field only. With an audience and readers of varied tastes, it’s important to make everyone and every field inclusive.

One more amazing fact about the book is the quotes. There’s a plethora of best quotes by the personalities at the end of their chapters. This is not only a great motivational treat but inspirational as well. Students, career aspirants and even well settled working people can read this book just to enjoy the famous words spoken by these world class legends.

Coming to the author’s writing style, I have little to no comments. As a newbie writer, Haggag needs to absorb and learn different tactics for his written words to decipher the same his thoughts try to speak. Its a very personal take, but even non-fiction has a art of writing, something I feel is not really managable by any writer. But Ashraf Haggag shows promise. Even with his last book, he won me over with his ideas rather than his style.

 

 

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This book is provided by Vinfluencers in exchange for an honest review. 

Author details

Ashraf Haggag has spent nearly three decades in the corporate business world. He currently works as a senior executive in the hospitality industry.

Haggag has direct experience in many different aspects of business, including sales, marketing, revenue management, and administration. Having worked in Germany, the United States, Turkey, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia, his global experiences have helped him realize that companies must target new market zones in order to grow and prosper in the international marketplace. He is eager to bring enhanced cross-cultural awareness to today’s business leaders.

 

Tumhari Sulu- A Movie Review!

 

Movie : Tumhari Sulu

Director: Suresh Triveni

Cast: Vidya Balan, Manav Kaul, Neha Dhupia, Vijay Maurya, Malishka RJ

Genre: Romcom, Slice of Life

Country: India

Rating: 4/5

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On a first look, Tumhari Sulu seems like a very ordinary story. It has a normal middle-class family, facing the usual problems, trapped in a small flat, trying to be happy within their means. There are mean in-laws, a son who experiments with adulthood, and a very loving couple. These aspects are more or less a must-have for any Bollywood drama. With its simplicity and slice of nature outlook, Tumhari Sulu has actually brought in something new, something quite refreshing. And on that remark, it’s not so ordinary.

 

Sulu, who doesn’t have a proper high school education, dreams of becoming an RJ. Her husband Ashok, works at a small factory, watching over every minute detail, taking care of the owners. On the surface, it’s a classic movie which is entertaining enough to watch, but not quite impactful enough to remember. TOI, Hindustan Times, New Indian Express and many other dailies have not rated it above 3 (out of 5), pushing it to an average category. But is Tumhari Sulu really just average?

 

No, absolutely not.

The movie fails adamantly to fall into a generalised patriarchal notion of womanhood that is deemed suitable by the society. In its very essence, when Sulu aspires to be a late night RJ, chatting up with a random stranger in her sultry voice, she embraces a completely different side of her. A side only her husband knows in the bedroom. The notion of bringing out the hidden sexual figure of Sulu is thrashed by all her family members, another marker of what the so-called society sees acceptable. Her older twin sisters share a similar mentality, chiding Sulu with their offensive remarks, berating her at every chance they get. Even Sulu’s very own listeners try to objectify her, both on call and by making audio stories on her ‘fantasized sexcapades.’

 

We see that prior notions have driven the people to look at a woman and only see her either as a side character or an icon of sex. She is forced into a role that is only enjoyed by the male. But Tumhari Sulu breaks free of these norms. Our protagonist owns her sexual identity, openly flirting with her husband, complaining about lack of sex and whatnot.

 

Casting plays an important role here. The director Suresh Triveni has deliberately put an actor (Vidya Balan) who doesn’t conform with the skinny-beautiful body type. Sulu who is on the other side of slightly chubby, dresses in colourful sarees, breaks all stereotypes when it comes to being ‘sexy and feeling it.’ Her acceptance and acclamation forces the audience to see Sulu as herself and not some icon of patriarchal vision.

 

Coming to the character of the lovey-dovey husband- Ashok, its yet another game changer. Bollywood has had plethora of examples of how ‘men’ must be. From Bachchan to Amir to romancing Shah Rukh, Bollywood’s men have always been higher achiever on their skill set. Either they are portrayed as emotionless machos (mard) or sensitive Prem types. Ashok is just average. He does not top any pre-prescribed charts of manly qualities of husband. He doesn’t check most boxes on being macho. Average Ashok loves his wife, he flirts, he mocks and plays with her. Average Ashok suffers from submissiveness, a disease most Bollywood women have had earlier. He fails to take a stand,e ither with his wife or with his in-laws. He struggles to keep up with Sulu’s romance and her high-end fun RJ life. Average Ashok doesn’t hide wonder and awe as he sees his wife excel.

 

His character is an example and reassurance for both men and women that normal and average are perfectly alright qualities. Nobody has to prove themselves to any standards. In a way its not only for the ‘male’ gaze but the ‘female’ one as well. Many women and men can identify with a Ashok’s personality, finally feeling their representation in mainstream Bollywood.

 

The women characters of the film, whether its Sulu, her sisters, the boss or the auto driver, each shows a different side and nature. However, they don’t conform to the age-old ‘weak damsel in distress’ persona. Even their habits do not compete with that of men, trying to embody the success (as in the case of the boss) and occupation. They set their own standards. The boss (played by Neha Dhupia) charges confidence and sophistication, but she is not trapped in male clothing, not donning the drab suits. Instead, she is seen wearing fashion and using it as a way to exert herself without coming off as a sexual entity (male gaze).

 

Tumhari Sulu is made to be enjoyed by a gender fluid crowd who don’t see a person with their sex, but their personalities. Only 23% movies that Bollywood produces every year have a female lead. This not only breaks age-old stereotypes but opens the audience’s eyes to a different set of gender roles. Tumhari Sulu is a much needed fresh breath of air in the stinky Bolly pile. We need more movies like this.

If you have watched this film, comment and let me know how much you will rate it?

Love Po.

ECHOS OF CULTURE IN THE CORPORATE ENVIRONMENT by Ashraf Haggag – Book Review (Spoiler free)

Title- Echos of Culture in the Corporate Environment

Author- Ashraf Haggag

Genres-  Business, Non-fiction

Publisher- Creatspace

Pages- 150

Rating- 3.5 Stars!!!

 

About the book:

(taken from Goodreads)

This new sense of closeness brings new challenges as global businesses struggle to communicate effectively with each other. Each organization is influenced by the region it calls home—a business in Japan does things quite differently from one based in France. Workplace culture helps create a united front, but it can lead to unwanted tension and conflict.

This new guide to international business culture can help you avoid misunderstandings during negotiations and other important tasks. Author and businessman Ashraf Haggag discusses a number of important issues, including

• the definition of culture as a driving force in business,
• the unique cultures of a variety of countries and global regions,
• the ways culture directs business negotiations,
• the influence of culture on business strategy,
• the effect of culture on business communications, and
• the role culture plays in consumer buying behavior.

Understanding the ideological foundation of an organization will help you better prepare for negotiations and accommodate its unique corporate environment with enhanced insight.

 

Verdict:

Let me start by telling you that as a general rule I never read self-help, guide or how to win something type of books. In fact I don’t particularly care for this genre. But my indifference doesn’t mean that there aren’t people who enjoy reading these type of books, for achieving and being better at something. That being said, when I was offered to review this book, I was really curious to see how many people really read and were waiting for ‘Echos of Culture…‘.

So obviously, I had to read it.

So firstly what I really liked is that tiny bit of summary blurb given at the very beginning of the book, i.e.

Culture’s influence on; Business negotiations,
Communication, Creativity, Employees,
and Buying Behavior

I cannot stress how important is it for guidebooks like these to have this tiny bit of information at the beginning. Most books don’t really relate directly to the subject matter, they are more twisted, a bit of a work for the reader to actually guess what the book is about! The author has kept this in mind and led our readers to what exactly is in the book. No fuss, no mess.

Another thing that really impressed me is the that the author kept true to the topic. No unnecessary going about, no beating about the bush, just simple, direct. He offered what he said he would provide and that’s a fantastic character that any author should possess. The book is divided into several chapters, each dealing with a topic of its own. You get an insight into what culture is, different cultures of the world, their impact on business communication, negotiations, etc.

Ashraf Haggag has tried to tell the readers that we don’t live in a world dominated by one country’s own sectors and traditions. Instead, the whole world is our country, a place so seamless that it exists without boundaries. At least in the business world. Globalisation has erased any kind of doubts that your professionals had about the limitless possibilities their own culture can play. Just like our own cultures, it’s very much important to be aware of the other person’s heritage. Whenever we do a business transaction, we try and coax the other person to accept our offer. This can be easily done by showing a little interest in their culture, not only would it impress them, but make any future transactions feasible and simpler.

Because a certain group of people won’t share the same ideological beliefs, the same upbringing and be familiar with the same traditions, one needs to always be eager to learn their parts as well.

Now coming to writing. I know that the author has written this book with a particular audience type in mind, but I still feel the writing could be a lot better. And by that, I mean simpler. Yes, the need for complex words is important and very necessary because sometimes you can’t just do away with them. Still, it would have been nice if he had ditched the jargon to ease a lot of simple-minded readers like us.

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This book is provided by Vinfluencers in exchange for an honest review. 

Author details

Ashraf Haggag has spent nearly three decades in the corporate business world. He currently works as a senior executive in the hospitality industry.

Haggag has direct experience in many different aspects of business, including sales, marketing, revenue management, and administration. Having worked in Germany, the United States, Turkey, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia, his global experiences have helped him realize that companies must target new market zones in order to grow and prosper in the international marketplace. He is eager to bring enhanced cross-cultural awareness to today’s business leaders.

 

A LIFE TO DIE FOR by Nilay Shah- Book Review (Spoiler free)

Title- A Life to Die For

Author- Nilay Shah

Genres-  Fiction

Publisher- Zorba Books

Pages- 344

Rating- 3.5 Stars!!!

About the book:

(taken from Goodreads)

‘She doesn’t know who she is.’ The diverse voices emanating from all the corners of Kashwarg are blending into a consensus to create a tune never opined before, ‘Nor does she realise yet what her Baba has caused her to be a victim of.’ ‘But, she will.’ ‘One day, she will adopt this world now a stranger to her as hers.’ ‘The whole of Kashwarg will be the light on her path to her freedom.’ ‘Kashwarg will be ready to be at disagreement with anything there can be, if that is what is demanded of it in this quest to bring her justice.’

‘But, what if time comes, when truth unveils itself and there remains nothing to fear but one’s own self? Will Kashwarg be able to protect its stand at such dawn of darkness?’

Will you be able to protect your opinions from your own self?

 

Verdict:

Before I go and tell you my views on the book, let’s delve a bit more into the context and setting of the story. I swear, you won’t be dissatisfied. The novel is set on the fictional lands of ‘Kashwarg’, a paradise on earth (the loose literal translation). This place has been a constant conflict zone for ages. Two countries, Siran and Zayakistan,  have been fighting to keep control over this area for many decades. As what happens in places under political as well as military unrest, Kashwarg has morphed into a small war zone. Throw in the fact that Siran actually helped Kashwarg by protecting it from Zayakistani forces ( when the monarch asked for help) which led to its ascension into the country. Sounds similar?
Well for whom it doesn’t click, let me break it down for ya.

Kashwarg= Kashmir, Siran= India and Zayakistan= (yep, guessed it right) Pakistan

Our shared history has always been marked by horrors of rulers past. But this conflict which has been raging on for the last 60-70 years, has gone unnoticed for long. True, a lot of journalists and activists have dedicated their lives to bring out this issue, the collective conscious of our countries need to be shaken up real fast. And maybe, Nilay Shah has a great plan for it, masking the true incidents and mixing a bit of fiction to bring the naked truth out to the public.

That being said, let us go on with the story.

The story begins with the police wondering and questioning a badly wounded young girl, Preksha. She seems to be beaten up and calls for a mysterious ‘prince’. Nobody knows who this mystery girl is.  But the whole state of Kashwarg becomes hungry for justice for this poor girl. As tensions arise, government deploys the army to secure and control the area. A committee, of impartial nationals chosen via an exam, is created and sent to check up and investigate further.

As the story goes forward, its revealed that Preksha was actually saved by Aryaman, member of terrorist organization, wanted by Independent Kashwarg Forces. We get to see his side of the tale as he hunts for Preksha’s abuser to deliver justice himself.

Apart from the not so subtle reality check that this book demands, I loved how the author filled the story with vivid descriptions. He describes the social, economic and cultural/ societal background of mythical Kashwarg pretty well. Although at times, they do become too much. Moreover, changing perspectives/point of views were a bit too blurry to transition seamlessly. It was difficult to keep track on who we were following on the story.

Other than that, I enjoyed reading A life to die for. Nilay Shah has a long way to go. But if he wants to stay in the book world, he may need to polish up a few areas. Excellent plot, great message and a rich in descriptions- A life to die for needs to be on your TBR list.

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This book review is a part of The Readers Comsos Book Review Program and Blog Tours, for details log on to thereaderscosmos.blogspot.in

 

Author details

Nilay Shah, born in 1994, he is an author of અસંમત / Asammat, a Gujarati novel published in July, 2016. For Nilay, the exact point when the passion to write took over is difficult to tell. Ever since early childhood, he has loved creating tales out of anything that came his way.Having written his first story at the age of 6, Nilay went on to write short stories, direct short films and plays before penning down his debut novel Asammat in 2014, at the tender age of 19 while simultaneously pursuing Chartered Accountancy and graduation. Once he was done with his studies in 2015, he made attempts to publish his book, and then penned down the English version of the same tale- A Life to Die For.
At present, he is laying down the structure for his second novel, to be originally written in English and Gujarati. Nilay is determined to create things that can stand apart from the rest, that can create a place of their own in the hearts [as well as minds] of recipients.

 

HAPPINESS IS ALL WE WANT by Ashutosh Mishra- Book Review (spoiler free)

Title- Happiness is all we want

Author- Ashutosh Mishra

Genres-  Non-fiction, Self help

Pages- 203

Publisher- Bloomsbury

Rating- 4 Stars!!!

 

About the book:

(taken from Goodreads)

Today, we are leading our lives in mindless pursuit, unable even to articulate what we are pursuing. We are unhappy even after achieving what we desire. Happiness is all we want! suggests that the source of peace and happiness is within us, if we know the secret. The book’s objective is to help us unlock that secret and attain a high level of overall well-being in order to lead a happy and fulfilling life and be the healthiest we can be, mentally and physically. A wide variety of tools and techniques are explained in simple language. Many real-life experiences of the author as well as other people are interspersed through the book.

Demystifying the spiritual aspect of well being, this book integrates it with your life objectives. You can immensely improve not only the peace and happiness in your life but your beauty and appearance as well.

Verdict:

First of all, let me clear one thing for you- I am not a big fan of self-help books. Yes, I have come across them and may have read up a few chapters just to see what the deal was. But never picked one up voluntarily.

Having said that, this was the first time I ever got a book in this particular genre. And boy, was it fun. It completely changed my perspective towards a particular genre.

Now moving on to the book at hand- Happiness is all we want. I really loved the way the book was sectioned. There are three parts in the book: Mental Wellbeing, Physical Wellbeing, and Spiritual Wellbeing. Each section starts with the problems in our life, what we should do and how to work on being happy in general.

I loved the simple language. These type of self-help books tend to be full of jargon of sorts, but am glad the author chose to be different. You can read this book in a flow. One more thing that I really liked was how the reader can just select a section and read it from there. You don’t need to have to read from the beginning (but of course you should as the first few chapters are reals gems). You can just choose a topic, something you think you want to work on and then get on with it! How cool is that?

Each chapter is filled with tiny kickers like Tech Traps, Practical Tips or Happiness Moments. And they really add much more value to the book. I loved how the author, Ashutosh Mishra, tried to incorporate his own experience along with it. I must say, having this sense of familiarity with different situations was really helpful in navigating the book.

Happiness is all we want is something that’s going to benefit to everyone, irrespective of your age. Its a light read, where you can pick what to read first and more over simple to understand. Even though I have read it, I am going to keep it on my bedside table for a tad bit long for me to go back and re-read it again.

I would advise you to pick this up, immediately. Whether you are searching for happiness or not, doesn’t matter. I guarantee you that Ashutosh Mishra‘s book is going to change your perspective on life, one chapter at a time.

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This book is provided by Vinfluencers in exchange for an honest review. 

Author details

Ashutosh is an MBA from XLRI Jamshedpur and a Mechanical Engineer from IIT Delhi. In his corporate career of sixteen years, he has been a senior banker with global banks like Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank and is currently with ANZ Bank. With gruelling work schedule and plenty of business travel, he was fortunate to realise the importance of health and wellbeing early on. He learnt and practiced many tools and techniques for his own wellbeing while balancing the demands of a high profile career and a lovely family. Based on his experiences over last couple of decades, he has developed a framework for comprehensive wellness with a fresh perspective.

 

Second Chance by Sandeep Jatwa- Book Review

Title- Second Chance

Author- Dr. Sandeep Jatwa

Genres-  Fiction, Fantasy, Contemporary

Pages- 198

Publisher- Educreation Publishing

Rating- 3 Stars!!!

 

About the book:

(taken from Goodreads)

Shekhar Kapoor is a successful businessman who has never done a decent thing in his entire life. For him, it is all about what he can get and how fast he can get it. He goes through life cheating and insulting people, even after he receives a mysterious telephone call from what is called the City of Justice.
Ignoring the cryptic warnings, Shekhar continues to live his life as he pleases, until one day, shortly after insulting a beggar in the street, Shekhar crashes his car and is killed.
And it is only when he is standing before the Bookkeeper, and being shown where his life had gone wrong, that Shekhar finally understands what life is all about.
But is it too late for him? Can he be given another chance to undo all the wrongs he has done? Or is there a chance that Shekhar Kapoor can find redemption where there had previously been no hope?

 

Verdict:

‘Second Chance‘ was easily the quickest read of the year for me. Its fast paced, filled with descriptions (sometimes too much) and weaves in the story of a not so ordinary guy who tries to fix his past mistakes.

I always enjoy a book with a flawed protagonist. Second Chance‘s Shekhar is exactly the type. With just page 1, I had started hating this lead to no extent. He is vain, arrogant, disrespectful and every other vile thing a rich obnoxious guy is. I would actually consider this an amazing feat of the writer to create such a character that could rile up the readers into so much wrath that they literally want to punch a fictional guy! So kudos for that Dr. S Jatwa.

The book starts with our protagonist cruising the roads with his beloved Cadillac, not a care in the world. Then suddenly he is haunted by all these signs from the City of Justice ( sounds so Gotham!!) which tell him to correct his behavior and be a better person. But of course, the arrogant Shekhar, ignores all these important, clues and warnings, only to meet an accident one day which in fact kills him. Now, now.. Of course he is coming back, the book is called Second Chance for a reason!

But as this is a spoiler free review, its for you to find out how.

Moving on, I liked the whole ‘Karma’ theme that the book portrayed. I am a person who believes in good deeds and good will. I instantly felt myself connect with the message that the book was giving. Our actions always impact our life in some ways or the other. Shekhar’s life is no less different. His ill manners and bad personality actually land him in some solid trouble ( City of Justice and then his accident/death!).

Now moving on to more technical terms of the book, I did not like the writing style at all. I know some of you really loved it, and would probably defend it for being very simple and easy. But as an English graduate and currently pursuing Masters in communications (where I have to do editing for my school projects), this is completely unacceptable. Apart from the plethora of grammatical errors and run on sentences which made no sense, the slang was a bit cringy for me. I get it, the writer tried to incorporate real-life language, the way we speak and conduct in the book. But sometimes, you do need to have a bit of flourish, a little bit of taming in to do before sending off to printing. I am not critical of Dr. Jatwa’s simplistic language. I love simple writing, but skills are important too. It’s clear as daylight that this is the author’s very first book, or he wouldn’t have made such a rookie mistake.


This book is provided by Vinfluencers in exchange for an honest review. 

Author details

Dr. Sandeep Jatwa was born in holy city Ujjain and grew up in Dewas, in the state of Madhya Pradesh in India. He is married and still lives in Madhya Pradesh today. Having attained an M.B.B.S. from MGM Medical College, Indore, Sandeep went on to secure a job in medicine and now works at the Government Hospital Sarangpur District Rajgarh. He has an amazing imagination and spends much of his free time dreaming up stories. He has been writing since 2006 and has completed two novels. The first has yet to be published, but his second one, which he self-published and is entitled Second Chance, is an exciting and moralistic tale of how one man comes to realize the error of his greed. In his free time, Sandeep likes to relax and spend time with his family and friends. He is also a food lover and enjoys trying new and exciting dishes. Sandeep’s most urgent wish is to be able to educate children who work on the street and have little opportunity to make something good from their lives. He believes that everyone’s childhood should be awesome, and not a struggle.

Author contact details

Email:  info@ashtoshm.com

Website: www.ashutoshm.com

 

 

 

 

Harappa: Curse of the Blood River by Vineet Bajpai- Book Review (Spoiler free)

 

Title- Harappa : Curse of the Blood River

Author- Vineet Bajpai

Genres-  Historical, Mythological Fantasy

Series- Harappa #1

Rating- 4 Stars!!!!

 

 

About the book:

The story follows Vidyut, a security tech tycoon, who lives with his girlfriend Damini. But our billionaire extraordinaire ( yes he is a very successful man who has accomplished everything, seems a bit unbelieving at first but wait for it) is actually the last demigod on planet earth.

Yes, the very last half-human-half-god.

A sudden phone call from home in Banaras, where our protagonist hasn’t set foot in almost 30 years, wrecks havoc in his life. For the call means only one thing. It’s time to return home. To the Dev-Rakhshasa Math and meet his great-grandfather for the very first time. What awaits Vidyut at the pious city of Kashi is simply out of the world. He

What awaits Vidyut at the pious city of Kashi is simply out of the world. He must return to hear the great prophecy which has been a curse on his bloodline since Harappa fell. A curse which started with his greatest ancestor, Vivasavan Pujari ( yep, he’s a demigod too).

Almost parallel to the modern times, we see glimpses of the past in 1700 BC Harappa or Brahminabad. We see the great Vivasavan and his attempts to save his sacred city from the clutches of evil tantric forces, exorcisms, treachery and ultimately Sara Maa ( can’t reveal!).

Alongside these two timelines, there are snippets of present time Paris which tells us about ANOTHER evil force who is hell-bent on killing Vidyut, the prophesied Devta.

Verdict:

I loved it! This book was a total chase for me. Un-put-downable! I won’t lie but I was a bit skeptic about reading it at first. Apart from being a new writer, I just didn’t find the appeal behind this half-human-half-god persona. But I am glad I did read this! Not only was it a wonderful story, but it had very new concepts regarding the whole Harappan civilization and its destruction. I am a huge history buff. Although a few things were a bit farfetched and to an extent imagined too, I liked the way Vineet Bajpai spun the plot. Although I am thankful that someone has at-least attempted to write about our Indian history, away from myths, its a great irony that the book is about a half-god. 

Now about the shifting timelines. A great effort. Fantastic even. I can only imagine how much the author had to work to adjust the two stories to align with each other. As you read, you will realize that you have not one, but two protagonists ( and a handful of minor characters who sometimes take up the center stage).

Vineet has given ample space and text to create the visuals. The effect is magical. the detailing given to any particular setting is amazing. I love books who don’t tell, but rather show. But a downside to this artistic imagery is when it becomes over-explaining. When I am on the cusp of my seat, dying to know why something has happened, I would very much like to get straight to the point. Without much description. Yes, its the eye for detail, the flair for descriptive words, but sometimes it is a bit too much. Moreover, I was not prepared for the style of language that the author has used. It was a welcome distraction from the usual western style, but a bit too… simple? A bit more effort ( just a bit) would be really nice. I understand the author is not from literature background and hence such writing is acceptable for a newcomer. All I am trying to say is that simple writing can sometimes sound too flat.

But in all, I loved the book. I enjoyed it! Immensely so that when I was telling the story to one of my friends, they joked saying it could be a new Bollywood series. And why not? I would love to see this getting adapted into a TV series. It would be pretty entertaining that’s for sure.  Vineet Bajpai shows promise to deliver a great plot. Which is why I will be waiting patiently for the next book in the series- Pralay: The Great Deluge!

 

 


This Book Review/Interview is a part of The Readers Cosmos Book Review Program and Book Promotions” to know more log on to thereaderscosmos.blogspot.in/.

 

The Wait- A short story

I know that I am dreaming. I am running. As fast as I can. My feet hurt. But I don’t stop. I can’t stop.

I won’t stop.

Not until I get my hands on her.

I can hear her. Her ragged breath. She is tired. It’s dark. But I can still make out her disheveled form. Her sari has come undone.

Did I do that?

I am momentarily transfixed in my dream. Amazed at how much I still remember. The gravelly road. Her orange sari. Our ragged breaths.

But not for long.  At least for her.

It had been 6 years. 6 years of them waiting for justice. 6 years of me re-living that night. 6 years since I saw Meethu.

Meethu. My angel. My baby. My daughter.

Sometimes, I curl up on the stone floor and pretend to hold her. She was so tiny that she fit snugly in my embrace. Her little hands try to grab my beard. Her eyes shone like stars.

My Meethu.

The crunch of the gravelly road. Behind Kuntal’s house. I grab her. Finally. Fingers closing around her throat. Her screams are inaudible. Choking . I turn her to face me. I want to see her. See her eyes as she sees me. I don’t feel her nails on me.

This is justice.

This is for Meethu.

This is the price that she had to pay.

The price of our daughter.

I wanted to ask her. Did Meethu cry? Did she understand what you were doing to her? Did she say “Baba”?

Or were you too busy counting the crackling notes.

Why?

We had enough, didn’t we? We could have given her all she needed. We could have been her Ma and Baba. We could have watched her grow.

Why?

“We don’t have enough for a child.”

 

They say that I am a monster. A killer. They think that I deserve this. I deserve this for killing her.

I don’t complain. 6 years of waiting.

For them, for me.

I remember the others asking me what I wanted to eat. Today. It will be over soon, they say. I don’t say anything. “What do you want to eat?” they ask again. How could I eat when Meethu couldn’t.

I say nothing.

I don’t complain.