Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Knitted Tales: A Collection of Emotions by Rubina Ramesh

Knitted Tales: A Collection of EmotionsKnitted Tales: A Collection of Emotions by Rubina Ramesh
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“A short story is a love affair, a novel is a marriage. A short story is a photograph; a novel is a film.” ― Lorrie Moore

Short stories are very different from novels as they tell about short period and two or three characters. It is a challenge to tell short stories as you have extremely less space to set the context and say the story.

Rubina has done the job extremely well. First let us see in brief what the stories are all about:

1. Betrayal - Story of a sadistic brutal husband with a twist.

2. Chicklet - Story of racial bullying of immigrants, Hypocrisy of Indians and compassion.

3. Forgive me.......- Story of a successful Bollywood director, his lost love and consequences.

4. Lolita- Story of a Bollywood Diva. How she became from a simpleton to a heartthrob of millions?

5. No regrets - Hilarious and original story of a Bengali Tamil couple who moves to USA. Very witty. ;)

6. Suvarna Rekha- A tragic love story like Laila Majnu, Romeo Juliet.

7. The Little Godmother- It is story about sibling love.

8. The Missing Staircase- About nostalgia and Nirvana.

9. The other woman- The trials and tribulations of a kept/ second wife.

10. Daddy hear me out- Oh Maths! Tormentor of some students. How one girl dealt with the beast successfully?

11. Cliff notes- Story of human depravity seen through eyes of a cliff.

Rubina is an ace story teller. She has brevity and keeps the stories to the point. She sets the environment and establishes the context early on in the story; mainly initial two or three paragraphs. I got the idea early on what each story is all about. The characters are well fleshed out and you can see the qualities of each clearly.

You see Rekha (of Suvrana Rekha) and immediately understand that she is an upright girl. She is ready to sacrifice everything for her love. She sacrifice the company of her family for Suvarna and her life for her family and clan.

Lolita as the name implies is someone who is luscious (as you remember Vladimir Nobokov’s Lolita). She likes all the accolades which come her way but deep down she carries the hurt, anger and hatred for his treacherous father.

Rubina is capable of drawing a sketch with words. For example this passage from Lolita:

She was someone’s dream and someone’s lust. She was someone’s passion and someone’s curse. Yet no one knew her nor did anyone dare to come near her. She was everyone’s unattainable dream. Her heart soared when trembling hands held an umbrella over her, lest the angry sun peeled away the layers of her beauty. Her heart sang when the spot boy nakedly admired her heaving breasts, innocent of the fact that he was being captured in her mother-of-pearl adorned hand mirror. She was wanted; she was needed, to fulfill all these silent desires of men.

Rubina has good grasp of human psyche and emotions. Each story has a testimony of it. “Betrayal” brings out the hate, in a man, which is so powerful that it continues even after death. Or “The little godmother” is about affection of a sister towards her younger brother. “Chicklet” shows hypocrisy, prejudice & racism world over in general and amongst Indians in particular. It also shows how compassion and empathy can overcome these negative emotions.

Though some of the stories are dark and depressive in the beginning, almost all ended on a positive note. These stories are about the power of positivity and positive emotions like compassion, empathy, indomitability and indestructibility of spirit, sacrifice, courage and above all Love.

I want to make special mention of the most funny, witty and original story “No Regrets”. It is about how a clever wife conveys the feeling of being trapped, frustrated and claustrophobia in an alien country to her husband without throwing a tantrum or fight. She makes him to see her point of view and brings him around ingeniously.

The effort Rubina put into the stories shows. She is a gifted storyteller. Highly recommended. 5/5 stars.

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What forces an innocent girl to become a sex symbol? Her desires? Or cruel fate?
Is a lifetime enough—for avenging a betrayal? How do you hide secrets that never stopped haunting you?
Can vengeance and secrets of your past devastate your present? How can long-buried crimes of yours suddenly raise their head? Can sinning be saving?
Is your spouse your soulmate? What if they never understood your feelings? Can you still live with them?
Lastly, does life give only two options? Live or die? What if there is a third?
In her anthology, Knitted Tales: A collection of emotions, Rubina Ramesh tries to find answers to these questions that are often from the heart and yet make the mind ponder over the solution. Or is it the other way round? Either way, Knitted Tales is a bouquet of emotions that is bound to touch both your head and your heart.

About the author:

Rubina Ramesh is an avid reader, writer, blogger, book reviewer and marketer. She is the founder of The Book Club, an online book publicity group. Her first literary work was published in her school magazine. It gave her immense pride to see her own name at the bottom of the article. She was about 8 years old at that time. She then went to complete her MBA and after her marriage to her childhood friend, her travel saga started. From The Netherlands to the British Isles she lived her life like an adventure. After a short stint in Malaysia, she finally settled down in the desert state of USA, Arizona. Living with her DH and two human kids and one doggie kid, Rubina has finally started living the life she had always dreamed about – that of a writer.

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Sunday, 23 July 2017

The Casanova's Wife (Marriages Made in India #4) by Sundari Venkatraman

The Casanova's Wife (Marriages Made in India, #4)The Casanova's Wife by Sundari Venkatraman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Prince charming meets plain Jane (or she thinks so). They fall in love and afterwards do they live happily ever after? Read this to know the answer.

Bharat is a handsome highly sought after model. He meets Dia in an after event party and they end up in bed. This is a love at first sight. He has no contact information of Dia and desperately misses her. She has his number, but she is too insecure by all his glamour, to contact him. She tells her dilemma to her sister, Pia thus:

“Actually Pia, Bharat has the reputation of being a Casanova. Even he admitted to it when I met him first. Though he insists that he’s changed since he met me and is in love with me, I’m still not sure about him. What if he’s confusing lust for love?”

Sundari’s writing is brisk. The story moves at a fast pace . The story starts and end with hot steamy scenes and there is reference to erotic desires/ acts throughout the book.

The tale is pretty straightforward. The characters are developed and the love story develops slowly from lust to love.Bharat has three brothers Ram, Laxman and his cousin Shatru. They are also family men . Sex scenes and references are are throughout the book and it keeps the interest going. Sundari describes the coitus in detail but the writing doesn't become crass. The scenes are done with finesse and I felt my blood boil many a times. I am reminded of Fifty Shades of Grey initially but this is not in BDSM category. The sex is just an extension of their love and Bharat is not a Psycho. They miss each other and grow apart due to insecurities of Dia. Finally they meet after 2 years and all is well in true love story Bollywood style.

This is book for lovers for light steamy romance. All in all a good time pass.

I give the book 4/ 5 stars.

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Bharat is the elder of the Maheshwari twins. Being a super model, he travels from Jaipur to Mumbai to Delhi, modelling for high-end brands and playing show stopper during fashion shows. Clothes, jewellery, glares, briefs – you name it and Bharat Maheshwari models for it.

Dia Mathur is a management trainee based in Mumbai. She’s surprised to find herself at an after event party hosted by a major fashion label, thanks to her best friend. That’s where she meets Bharat, completely unaware of his claim to fame.

Sparks sizzle and they get together instantaneously. But things fall apart when Dia realises that Bharat is quite the Casanova and might not make for a life partner. She disappears from his life...

...to surface again two years later, at no place other than his family’s drawing room in Jaipur. Will the Casanova turn a new leaf? Or will Dia have to play second, third or fourth fiddle to every gorgeous model who comes into his life?

Read Book #4 from MARRIAGES MADE IN INDIA series to find out more about “The Casanova’s Wife”.

About the author:

Sundari Venkatraman is an indie author who has 19 titles to her name, all Top 100 Bestsellers on Amazon India, Amazon USA, Amazon UK, Amazon Canada and Amazon Australia in both romance as well as Asian Drama categories. Her latest hot romances have all been on #1Bestseller slot in Amazon India for over a month.

Even as a kid, Sundari absolutely loved the ‘lived happily ever after’ syndrome as she grew up reading all the fairy tales she could lay her hands on, Phantom comics, Mandrake comics and the like. It was always about good triumphing over evil and a happy end.

Soon, into her teens, Sundari switched her attention from fairy tales to Mills & Boon. While she loved reading both of these, she kept visualising what would have happened if there were similar situations happening in India; to a local hero and heroine. Her imagination took flight and she always lived in a rosy cocoon of romance over the years.

Then came the writing – a true bolt out of the blue! And Sundari Venkatraman has never looked back.

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Saturday, 22 July 2017

Daughter of the Sun (Cult of the Cat #1) by Zoe Kalo

Daughter of the Sun (Cult of the Cat #1)Daughter of the Sun by Zoe Kalo
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

There is an orphan at an orphanage. Trinity is rebellious, headstrong and different from other girls. She is rescued from there and taken to a mysterious island. Dark forces are at work there and she is the only one who can save the day. I hope you get the drift by now. Sense of Deja-vu.

Trinity is at a catholic orphanage where mother superior is very strict. Her only friend is Brianna. Then one fine day a mysterious Dr Nassri comes to orphanage as a representative of her Grandmother, Margarete. She takes her to an island somewhere in Egypt where cats outnumber people. Unfortunately Trinity granny dies before telling her anything and leaves her with many unanswered questions.

The book is slow, boring and predictable. The surprise twists are no surprise and it takes forever to build the story. It is ok to write a trilogy but that doesn’t mean that first book should be a boring drag. Trinity is no Harry.

One passage from the book:

“We can’t always do what we want or feel like, can we? That’s hedonism. Didn’t you learn anything from the nuns all these years? I told you to wait until tomorrow. Why is that simple request so hard to follow?”

The book is predictable, clichéd and there is nothing new. I give this book it 2.5/ 5 stars.

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Sixteen-year-old Trinity was born during a solar eclipse and left at the doorsteps of a convent along with a torn piece of papyrus covered with ancient symbols. Raised by nuns in the English countryside, she leads a quiet life until she’s whisked away to the Island of Cats and a grandmother she never knew. But before they can get to know each other, her grandmother dies. All that Trinity has left is a mysterious eye-shaped ring. And a thousand grieving cats. As Trinity tries to solve the enigma of the torn papyrus, she discovers a world of bloody sacrifices and evil curses, and a prophecy that points to her and her new feline abilities. Unwilling to believe that any of the Egyptian gods could still be alive, Trinity turns to eighteen-year-old Seth and is instantly pulled into a vortex of sensations that forces her to confront her true self—and a horrifying destiny.

About the author:

A certified bookworm and ailurophile, Zoe Kalo has always been obsessed with books and reading. Reading led to writing—compulsively. No surprise that at 16, she wrote her first novel, which her classmates read and passed around secretly. The pleasure of writing and sharing her fantasy worlds has stayed with her, so now she wants to pass her stories to you with no secrecy—but with lots of mystery…. A daughter of adventurous expats, she’s had the good fortune of living on 3 continents, learning 4 languages, and experiencing a multicultural life. Currently, she’s working on a Master’s degree in Comparative Literature, which she balances between writing, taking care of her clowder of cats, and searching for the perfect bottle of pinot noir. She lives and writes in Belgium.

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Tuesday, 18 July 2017

ABCs of Horror by Anmol Rawat

ABCs of HorrorABCs of Horror by Anmol Rawat
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Why does horror click? It definitely does not make us feel good. It has a totally opposite effect on us. It makes us feel terrible, depressed and we run for cover. There is a sense of impending doom and feel bad atmosphere. Still horror movies and literature works. Stephen King is a good example in books. Countless horror movies are made. In India Ramsays and Bhatts has made a name for themselves in this and have a niche and loyal audience. Even low budget even C grade horror films become super hit and make good money. I think the reason is as below.

Horror is one of the emotion in humans. As per Natya Shastra of Bharat Muni there are eight RASA. A rasa is a synthetic phenomenon and the goal of any creative performance art, oratory, painting or literature. The King of Rasa is of course ROMANCE. Horror is combination of Disgust (Vibhatsa) and Horrifying (Bhayanka). So through books and movies we can experience these emotions in the safety of our home or at multiplex.

This is not my favourite genre but movies like The Ring, Veerana, Jaani DUshman, Raaz, Ek thi Dayan, Conjuring etc held my attention and I liked them.

Anmol Rawat has made a good attempt in horror Genre. As you have guessed correctly from the title these stories starts from alphabets A to Z like Voodoo, X-Mas, Sinister, Let me in, Zapped in, Atheist etc.

The book starts with Atheist. Two friends are drinking in a cemetery and discuss about existence of GOD and in turn SATAN.

Voodoo talks of voodoo dolls and how it works. Some friends have made name in field of recording paranormal on camera and they are trying to decipher voodoo phenomenon. As explained it is different from what we see in movies.

Witch is story of a girl who is suspected to be a witch by two of his school mates.

Too much cannot be revealed about the stories as it will spoil the fun. The stories are breezy reads and book can be finished in one sitting. Stories are set in foreign locations and country is not clear in most of them. Some are set in America and Africa. The stories are ok and a one-time read.

Most of them are predictable and clichéd and there is nothing new. Still the book is good and a one time read for lovers of thrill and suspense. I give this book it 3/5 stars.

Where to buy:



You have been warned: This book is cursed.

ABCs of Horror is a collection of ghastly tales that binds different forms of terrors together in a riveting narrative, which feels as real as the entity sitting right behind you when you are home alone, getting freaked out by even a gust of air.

There is a dreadful treasure here for every reader: haunted houses, rise of the Devil, paranormal sightings, Voodoo, and much more. The author has put together promising stories for every alphabet that are guaranteed to scare you out of your wits and question the presence of the supernatural.

Pick up the book as the night crawls by for feeling those chills creeping up your skin and your heart beating out of your chest.

About the author:

Anmol Rawat is a writer, which, considering where you are reading this, makes perfect sense. He is well known in the blogosphere for writing romance fictions, but he is always curious to explore different genres. ‘It’s challenging and challenges are nerve wracking, but fun,” he says. His debut solo book ‘ABCs of Horror’ is a collection of 26 terrifying standalone tales. His novella ‘The Awakening’, a sci-fi fiction, which was collaborated with other bloggers was elected as the best in a national competition and is published in the book ‘Game of Blogs’. He has edited and co-authored ‘A Little Chorus of Love’, an anthology of romance fictions and has co-authored Blank Space, an anthology of inspiring stories. He thinks Game of Thrones and Supernatural are the two best series ever made for television and devours on Nicholas Sparks, Dan Brown, Stephen King and John Green. He would kill for a good cup of Cappuccino, as should all right thinking people.

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The Aravan Head by Arvind Narsima

The Aravan HeadThe Aravan Head by Arvind Narsima
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The book is provided by Arudha Club in exchange for a genuine review. The book deals multiple issues at various levels.

One is of Political system is corrupt in India. There are many attempts to correct it but in vain. Since the days of JP movement to Anna Hazare we have seen efforts to cleanse the system but it comes to a naught.

Second is the question of LGBT acceptance in society. The people who are in minority and different due to their sexual makeup or orientation. They are shunned by society and looked down by all and sundry. They live amongst us but not a part of us.

Third is of systemic rot in police department. Police is meant to upheld law and order but they become tools in the hands of politicians, industrialists and Mafiosi to exploit the masses. There is large scale exploitation in the name of water tax, illegal hooch, hafta wasooli (protection money), rape, murders and the police is a mute participant in all these atrocities.

Fourth is theft and smuggling of our ancient heritage in form of idols and other things for money to be sold in foreign countries as antiques at astronomical prices. Thus the name of book “THE ARAVAN HEAD”. Aravan head is an ancient idol in Hijrawan (village of Eunuchs who are called Hijras हिजड़ा in Hindi).

Fifth issue is of Human trafficking. Young gullible girls are sold off in flesh market by ruthless dons and they are never traced. This is because they are sent in other countries.

The story starts with chapters named incidents 1, 2, 3 etc. There are incidents involving various characters like a professor, a wronged woman, her brother, a corporate honcho, wily politicians, mysterious woman who is pimp, corrupt police officers. This sets the tone of the book and our Hero Arya comes late into action. But the entry is impactful and reader comes to know that he is a no non sense officer. Arya foils the bid to steal Aravan Head in Hijrawan and saves life of one Eunuch. They he travels to Delhi on a tip and this sets up a high profile thriller.

The story is a thrill ride from the word go. The canvas is large and it tries to tackle many issues in one book as I detailed above. Inspector Arya is upright, brave, intelligent, resourceful and strong. He is very athletic and has good presence of mind. He is always one step ahead of his rivals. His friends Jagdessh and Gunjan calls him James Bond but Arya identifies more with Sherlock Holmes.

But the canvas is large and Arvind tried to tackle so many issues in one book. The length of book is big at 259 pages that too in small closely spaced font. So it becomes difficult to keep track of so many characters, locations and events for the reader.

Still the book is very good and a must read for lovers of thrill and suspense. I give this book it 4/5 stars.

Where to buy:



A politically driven criminal syndicate tries to steal a valuable ancient artefact, The Aravan Head, from a very old temple of the transgenders in Hijravan. Police officer Arya foils the well planned attempt. The incident unfolds a deadly secret that connects to a series of mind-boggling crimes which points to an unlikely person of tremendous authority in the political & business circles of Mumbai. With his friends kidnapped, his own people involved with the criminals and himself facing departmental enquiry, Arya is strangulated from all sides. Meanwhile in Delhi, 4 college girls, fed-up with the canteen food, hire a cook. While they expect an old, typically professional person, they are in for a great surprise that leaves them sweetly shocked. But the surprise is short lived after a beautiful transgender arrives at their bungalow revealing secrets that baffle them. Unfortunately the lives of the 4 girls become a nightmare along with that of the transgender. Did Arya arrest the main perpetrator behind all the crimes? What dangers did the Transgender bring to the girls? Did they survive the deadly situation they were pushed into? What price did Arya pay to win?

About the author:

Arvind lives in the beautiful city of Pondicherry with his mother, wife and daughter.

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Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Transitions And Beyond by Inderjit Kaur

Transitions And Beyond

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Life is not static. It is changing at every step. We are transformed every year, at every turn, at every phase. It can be for good or for bad but it happens. It is the law of nature. Life can’t stop.

“Transitions and Beyond” is book 4 of “A Living Series” written by Inderjit Kaur. The author herself has been a victim of domestic violence and came out stronger and triumphant. The book is divided in 3 modules.

1. The Change: It tells about the process of transformation. How to think positively and using crisis to our advantage.

2. Intervention (understanding the depth): this tells about detecting stressors, coping mechanism and eliminating it.

3. Revive and Renewal: It is about rekindling, reforming, reconstructing, restructuring life. Living for more by making a place for oneself, helping others.

This book tell about that every change is beginning of a transformation. This is the stepping stone for being better. We can use tough circumstances for our benefit and become better persons. It tells bout coping strategies to deal with change no matter how difficult or unpleasant it is. The process of healing begins with forgiving others. It helps to make life simple. We should not others control us and be firm, determined and unapologetic. Life is unpredictable and may spring many nasty surprises and we should be ready to deal with it.

Overall a very good self-help book which can help all to deal with transformations in a positive way.

Where to buy:


Transitions and Beyond helps us recalibrate our focus to align with our long-term objectives and goals thus making problems much easier to deal with and restoring one's confidence in life. It promises to renew and reform a disordered life so that one can live a complete life with all stagnation removed. One becomes a true adventurer, who now sees life's miniscule complications as challenges and can begin to transition.

Transitions are the phases that help one grow through adversities transforming one into an individual who will love challenges and convert them into opportunities for a magnificent tomorrow. They are related to psychological and situational parameters and both are equally important to optimize and to manifest a simple tool of transformation into the realm of personal developments to achieve balance in every core area of life.

Transitions and Beyond thus leads us to believe in life and produce a defining path that will reveal who we are and who we are meant to be.

About the author

Inderjit Kaur is an author, motivator with a powerful voice of spreading positive words through her writings. A highly influential blogger and inspirational guide who with her tag line ‘Keep smiling, keep shining’, has brewed up with the original concept of living through her books of A living series.

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Just me, the Sink & the Pot by Sudesna Ghosh

Just me, the Sink & the PotJust me, the Sink & the Pot by Sudesna Ghosh
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Sudesna Ghosh brings a funny tale of the angst of a plump teenager. Why should thin people especially girls have all the fun and attention? There is always a complex of inferiority in the fat girls. Is it justified or is it because of the false image of the beauty drilled into our minds by popular culture. The beautiful girl has perfect figure of 36-24-36.

Pamela is an 18 year old teenager who is fat. She has a heart of gold and she is grappling with growing up issues of a fatso girl. She has her family, friends (virtual too in teddies and other toys) and her crush. Nor she fit in with the thin girl gang and neither she wants to. She has a fat friend Krish who tries to fit in. she somehow loses weight and then stops hanging out with Pamela. She gets into relations ship with a fat boy but feels that a bad idea. So she dumps him. This is a story how she feels about her weight issues and aftermath.

The tale is sweet, relatable, fast paced and interesting. It kept me hooked. It finishes it in 3 hours. The treatment is humorous and funny. Some interesting passages:

1. We huge girls need our own magazine. One with no articles about romance, sex, love and all of those other things that did not exist in our lives. I suggested that to an editor or two who never got back to me. I wrote to them saying ‘your current magazine does not appeal to girls who wear plus sizes.’

2. When I was 14, I wanted to be a dietician but during the first semester of high school, a classmate helpfully pointed out that people wouldn’t want advice from a fat dietician. “Why would people even listen to somebody who’s so fat?” Thank you for that, Sona.

3. “I think we are getting too serious.” I would never forget the look on his face. I felt relief after I broke the bond. Two fat people trying to date was obviously a bad decision. Extremely bad if you ask me. We were like two huge pumpkins trying to celebrate Halloween. Although my teeth are not as weird as those carved ones.

The book has some issues too. It is told from a first person POV and most of the time it is a monologue. It has very few dialogues and plot is almost non-existent. The woes of a fat person becomes too tedious after a certain point. There is hyperbole in the treatment and Pamela has almost neurotic obsession with her weight. I wish she could relax and have a life.

This is a book for teenagers and they will like it. I give it 3/5 stars.

Where to buy:



Meet Pamela, an overweight girl who's looking back at her school days. From longing for a Valentine to dealing with a sibling who hates her, Pamela has a lot to deal with. She even has a special bunch of friends at home who she can turn to - but they aren't the kind of friends you'd expect. Life sucks when you're fat. Can Pamela ever be happy?

About the author:

Sudesna or Sue is the author of short stories, two nonfiction books, and now, a fiction work called Just me, the Sink & the Pot. When she isn't writing or reading, she's busy being mommy to her adopted cats.

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Rafflesia: The Banished Princess by Gautam

The book is provided by Arudha Club in exchange for a genuine review.
Rafflesia: The Banished PrincessRafflesia: The Banished Princess by Gautam
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Life is real and fantasy is not. But in case of mental illness like depression there is tendency to escape. When the reality becomes too harsh to face person withdraws in a fantastic world. This does not solve the problem but helps to keep the sanity.

Apruva Sharma aka Appu is a shy, timid, introvert and depressed person. He has his own reasons like his wife Jharna. She married him for a brief period under duress and pressure of her parents. She can’t stand him and wants to dissolve the marriage. Appufather Abir and mother Trina raised him with love and care. Abirplays Violin and so does Appu. Vikram is an Army captain and is floored by Abir Violin recital. They become friends and Vikram is posted to their town. Vikramvisits them with his wife Amla and son Rahul. This is the start of a lifelong friendship of Appu and Rahul. Rahul is unlike Appu and they become like brothers. Then Appu moves to Netherlands and start his job there. He has relatives Jeet and his wife Sujata there. Misha is Appu’srakhi sister and she is having the same story of marital discord as Appu. Nothing much happens after that and it’s a prod.

The story is tedious, boring and protracted. It is sad and depressing. Most of the characters are sad God knows why. Amla doesn’t smile. Misha is angry is sad. So is many other motley characters. There are so many of them I lost track. Appu is most depressed and idiotic as expected from hero of a depressing novel.

The story moves between his childhood and present in alternate chapters. This breaks the flow but then it is writer’s prerogative how to keep the chronology and how to tell the story.

The story of Raffelesia comes in the late and it had no connection with his story whatsoever. At least I can’t see the connection. Maybe there is one.

Where to buy:


The curtains draw up. Lights are dimmed. The musical is about to begin. As the beautiful princess descends on stage, the mythical creatures from her kingdom come alive. Flickers of brilliant coloursblaze across as mesmerizing music pulsates from one corner of the theatre to the other. A fairy tale is about to unfold

As young children, we often come across things that stay in our hearts forever. For Appu, it is a fairy tale about a beautiful princess. He lives with her in a world filled with the magical creatures from her kingdom until the real world beckons. A reluctant Appu steps into it as a striking young man and struggles to find his place.

What follows is an evocative tale of love and loss, friendship and betrayal, as the story travels through the snow-peaked mountains of Arunachal to the golden deserts of Jaisalmer, the tulip gardens of
Holland to the lush greens of Kerala. Does Appu find what he had set out for? The answer lies in Rafflesia — The Banished Princess because in her story, lay his!"

About the author:

A B-School graduate, Gautam is a business analyst by profession. Considers the laptop as among his best friends and nurses a secret desire to turn an entrepreneur someday.

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Sunday, 2 July 2017

Ishq Mein Shahar Hona by Ravish Kumar

इश्क में शहर होना / Ishq Mein Sheher Honaइश्क में शहर होना / Ishq Mein Sheher Hona by Ravish Kumar
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I am a fan of Ravish Kumar of NDTV prime time fame.

I bought this book from Amazon purely based on his name.

These are called laprek i.e. Laghu prem Katha. One page stories set in Delhi.

I read the stories and didn't like them much. They have no plot except some names of Delhi's localities.

Maybe i am not able to understand the context or the hidden message.

Still didn't work for me.


Laprek (Short Love Story) Is a highly ambitious, experimental Nano format of story writing. Originated at digital platform of Facebook, the famous face of TV news, anchor Ravish Kumar has started writing micro fiction in a limited space of Facebook and twitter. The politics of our times figures as Metaphor in the loving exchange between characters. Laprek is a story of Love in cities. It is a story of Cities in love.

रेम हम सबको बेहतर शहरी बनाता है। हम शहर के हर अनजान कोनों का सम्मान करने लगते हैं। उन कोनों में ज़िंदगी भर देते हैं... आप तभी एक शहर को नए सिरे से खोजते हैं जब प्रेम में होते हैं... और प्रेम में होना सिर्फ हाथ थामने का बहाना ढूँढना नहीं होता। दो लोगों के उस स्पेस में बहुत कुछ टकराता रहता है। 'लप्रेक' उसी कशिश और टकराहट की पैदाइश है।

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The Secret of Being Together by Tsafy Zur, Amos Zur

The Secret of Being TogetherThe Secret of Being Together by Tsafy Zur
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Marriage is an institution almost as old as the civilization. It is the bedrock of the society and smallest unit of it. The couple take wedding vow before. “To have and to hold from this day forward, for better or worse, in sickness and in health, for richer or poorer, until death do us part.” Then why there are cases of divorce and the marital discord? Does people fall out of love, become infidel, become enemies and decide to separate from each other. This has disastrous consequence for them and children. It is also bad for society. So can something be done to reverse this?

Amos and Tsafy Tzur are marriage counseling couple. Their approach is friendly and they learn as the counsel. The book has many new insights as reproduced below:

1. We came across words that appeared over and over: Journey. Consciousness. Unconsciousness. Choice. Past. Present. Future. Dream. Only in the course of time did we realize to what extent these words represent our, “I believe,” within our therapeutic work with couples.

2. We chose to conclude the session by relating to another one of Renee’s statements: “I just don’t have any more strength to keep on going, I’m depressed. “Depression,” we said, “is not the right state to be in to make decisions that imply drastic changes. It is advisable first to relieve the depression, to go back a few steps and think things through, and only then can you make a sound decision. Depression is like a drop of ink that colors an entire glass of water. It stains life black and it prevents us from acknowledging the fact that there are other colors as well.”

3. “From our experience, we’ve seen that when a couple understands and ascribes to the idea that the relationship is the one who comes to therapy, it constitutes a leap forward in their journey. It is a stage when the partners stop arguing, struggling, accusing each other, or fighting about who is right. Instead of this, they mobilize themselves toward saving and nurturing the relationship that they both want.”

4. “In times of doubt, there is a tendency to simultaneously ‘press the gas pedal as well as the brake pedal,’ meaning drawing closer to one another and once again growing apart.

5. Quite often, we have noticed that when we liberate people from the need to know, and we suggest that they listen rather than think, they are suddenly able to hear things that they wouldn’t have thought of at all a minute or two before.

6. We’ve heard such words from many other couples: “A man will give love to get sex, and a woman will give sex to get love. Sherry wouldn’t have sex because she wasn’t getting any love, and Dylan wouldn’t give love because he wasn’t getting any sex. They were trapped in a vicious circle that had entailed years of estrangement, distancing, and a sense of loneliness for both of them. The dispute between sex and intimacy was the main issue they had chosen to discuss. They stood on opposite sides, and they were engaged in a war—the war of the sexes—the battle of sexuality versus intimacy.

The book is very good for couples whose marriage is under rough weather. They may gain a new perspective about the marriage. The book give some god tips about solving the discords and seeing things from others perspective.

Still the book becomes theoretical many a times. Also I feel therapy is a process where human interaction is required and it can’t be done by reading a book. Still the book can be a good starting point.

Recommendation and rating:

I would recommend it to couples whose marriage is going tough a tough time. I give the book 3/ 5 stars.

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It’s time to address your problems as a couple.
Learn about a unique type of couples’ therapy as you embark on a fascinating journey through the world of couplehood. Become more familiar with your own relationship, improving and enriching it, as you find answers to the questions that have been troubling you. Take your relationship to a higher and brighter place.
Peek into the journeys of other couples
Each chapter describes the work of a different couple grappling with its own problems: in the sexual arena, demons of the past that threaten to overwhelm them, emotional intimacy, and addiction. You will be made to feel as if you are sitting in the treatment room with them, accompanying them on their journey, while simultaneously “meeting” and “treating” yourselves. Peek into the journeys of other couples, together with your partner, and then look inward at your own shared experiences.
Be guided by the eclectic approach of top professionals
On the Israeli bestseller list and enjoying critical acclaim from professionals in the field of couples’ counseling, the authors of The Secret of Being Together specialize in combining the conscious, sub-conscious, imagination, images, hypnoses, creation, energy, and intuition – as well as the principles of Buddhism and psychology – in their therapy work.

From the author:

What has been our journey in recent years?
In the course of the last few years, we found ourselves learning martial arts in China and trying to learn the secret of the Tao. We found ourselves in Japan, observing those learning the art of archery and learning from them how to let go, how to cease gripping―how 'simple' the most difficult thing in the world can be. We met Dr. Raichura in India, clarifying for ourselves the difference between spiritualism and psychotherapy. We experienced the meaning of energy therapy in Sedona, Arizona, and in the south of France, we learned with Thich Nhat Hanh, a Buddhist monk who believes in loving speech, deep listening, and right action. Indeed, we went on a marvelous journey that affected our relationship on the one hand and our work with couples on the other.
When we closed our eyes as we first started writing this book, the following words appeared to us: journey, consciousness, choice, past, present, future, dream. These words did not lose their meaning, but as we began writing the epilogue and closed our eyes once again, additional words appeared to us, words that indubitably did not exist at the time of writing the book, words that now constitute an inseparable part of any couple journey on which we embark: body-soul-spirit, energy, intuition, faith, mindfulness, unconsciousness, the subconscious, and supra-mental consciousness. Nowadays all constitute an inseparable part of every couple journey on which we set out and an inseparable part of our core beliefs. These words help us combine psychotherapy and spirituality. These words push us toward decrypting and understanding the secret of the relationship of every couple.

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2036 the Proof by Zvi Speiser

The nectar is a fantasy or reality? Is there life on other planets separate from earth? Will life be easier after advances in human knowledge in science? Future is unknown but can we make a guess about what will happen 20 years henceforth.

The story starts with a break-in in a lab and murder of guard. Professor Tom is working on a longevity drug in his research. His assistant Lise finds some geometrical patterns in the petri dish which can’t be explained. Similarly in astronomy field there are some surprising finds leasing to assault on a accomplished scientist. The police detective Rick, a journalist Will and his ex-girlfriend find a pattern in the break-ins, murders, assaults on scattered locations. Is there a link in all this?

In the year 2036 the more the things changed the more they remain same. Scientific knowledge has grown by leaps and bounds. The life sciences is finding a drug which can prolong human life and keep it in prime shape. All of the major pharmaceutical manufacturers had been at it for many years. Medication and self-care kits to enhance longevity, which was already increasing even with no specific intervention, is being devised. SETI is also making progress. Hubble telescope is a thing of past and there are many more times powerful telescopes which can see in the farthest corners of galaxy.

The book is having science at its core. I will reproduce one passage below:

“Newton’s equations of motion accurately described observations on Earth and in the solar system. Einstein’s theory of relativity predicted different results than Newton’s equations, but only at speeds approaching the speed of light. The predictions of the theory of relativity and its observational verification required sophisticated measuring equipment. However, for all intents and purposes, for motion at speeds significantly below the speed of light, Newton’s equations provided plenty of accuracy, and were still in use . Yet they did not seem to apply to the phenomena on STA331047B and STA333654B. The red giants adjacent to these stars were still at their peak, and contained massive amounts of gas, in contrast to the leading theory, which had been verified many times.”

The story moves at a brisk pace and the suspense is unrelenting. The identity of villains is known but the thrill is in chase. The book has some interesting premise which leads an exciting climax.



Recommendation and rating:

I would recommend it to those who like to read a sci-fi fantasy book. I give the book 3.5/ 5 stars.

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Will the most profound secret of the human race, seeded millions of years ago, finally be discovered?

Can Heller and Thorne figure out why scientists keep getting involved in accidents?

What do a huge asteroid rushing into earth, human DNA going crazy in a lab, exploding stars and an ancient sect have in common? All have been ingeniously woven together in this riveting science fiction thriller. Join Chicago police Detective Rick Heller and investigative journalist Will Thorne as they try to figure out why scientists connected to these discoveries are almost killed and a security guard is murdered.

Can the US president marshal covert scientific knowledge to safeguard the world?

When Will Thorne discovers a mysterious link among the asteroid, the DNA and the exploding stars, US President Emily White tries to use this top-secret tinder box, revealing the discovery of humanity’s deepest secret, for a peaceful message to the human race. Her initiative ultimately results in aggressive religious riots that threaten human security throughout the world.

Can an ancient, secret sect be the key to human salvation?

In 586 BCE, soldiers of the Sect of the Guardians gave their lives to secure the hiding place of the Ark of the Covenant, which they had removed from the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. What is the ancient secret, more than 3,300 years old, that the Guardians are ordered to hide at any cost?

From the author:

Be curious. Ask questions. It is permissible to challenge common knowledge, truths, beliefs, and their origins, even those accepted by the majority. You will often discover how hollow they are, to what extent they do not hold up to the slightest investigation simply because most people grew up thinking small and never thought to examine these ideas. You will be surprised to discover that the foundations of human civilization are so rickety. You will also be surprised at the degree to which people refuse to have a serious discussion out of an inexplicable fear of treating ideas objectively and of putting their beliefs to the test of science.

The Four Patriots by Sumit Agarwal

The Four PatriotsThe Four Patriots by Sumit Agarwal
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Is India a world power? No. Then can India become world power? This book have some fantastic ideas to make India a world power.

Varun, Salman, Raghav and Aditya are four persons from different walks of life who have the same dream. Varun, an NRI software engineer; Salman, CEO of Coffee Moments; Raghav, a virtuous politician and Aditya, an altruistic businessman. The first part of book gives the background stories of these four persons and second half gives details of their thrilling journey.

The book is very idealistic and fantastic in the theme. Ideas of author are good and can work in an idealistic setting. These is a lot of corruption and resulting frustration with the current condition of India. People are fed up with this and want change. The book shows us a short cut where everything is set right in a short span of time.

Book has some good ideas like having election every two years so that manipulation game ends. Recording every act of corruption and use of media against the vested interests is good idea.

Still the book is casteist and misogynistic. The very first chapter talks of ending reservation without understanding its implications. The book is very harsh on women. They should sit at home if the husband don’t allow. It says it is ok for the hubby to smash computers and mistreat his wife.

Recommendation and rating:

I would recommend it to those who like to read an urban fantasy, upper caste misogynistic, right wing book. I give the book 3/ 5 stars.

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Have you ever fallen victim to the system? Felt humiliated and helpless? Have you fought back?
Meet four such patriots: Varun, an NRI software engineer; Salman, CEO of Coffee Moments; Raghav, a virtuous politician and Aditya, an altruistic businessman.
Fate brings these four lives together at a crossroads, pushing these unlikely heroes out of their comfort zones to fight a seemingly unstoppable evil force which wants to hold our country captive. The four companions, who have always had each other’s back, will now come face-to-face with the biggest challenge of their lives—a labyrinthine plot rife with perilous twists and wicked turns. With the nation’s future at stake, will they be able to destroy the Chakravyuh intricately laid down by the enemies of India? Will they come out of it alive?
A story about friendship, faith and courage, replete with romance and patriotism, The Four Patriots is a racy, contemporary thriller sure to give you goose bumps. Pick this book if you do not believe ‘is desh ka kuch nahin ho sakta’; and if you think all is not lost, this is a must-read!

About the author:

A graduate from IIT Kanpur, Sumit Agarwal is a successful businessman. He is also a music composer, lyricist, singer, actor and writer. His music videos can be viewed on his YouTube channel, or on his website www.sumitagarwal.net.
Sumit runs an NGO, Prerna (www.prernaa.org). Among its many social welfare initiatives, the NGO has adopted ten government primary schools, in order to facilitate quality education. He is also the founder of Kasauti, a consortium of NGOs formed to aid clean and answerable politics.

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