Friday, 29 September 2017

Lean In To Relationships

About the Book:
Doubt has pivoted many a relationship across the centuries. Whether it is Othello suspicious of Desdemona or through the rise of paranoia as a trope in twentieth century writings. While paranoia naturally suggests the vulnerability of individual mind to social rhetoric, it is also the space for deep interrogation of the individual that renders him/her to paranoia. This novel presents that doubt has the potential to be a space of liberation.

Madeeha works in Jordan to rehabilitate Syrian refugees. Zehen, a political analyst from India, meets her in the US during their social impact program. He is intrigued and charmed by her, and falls deeply in love. But the world political climate, with its accompanying cultural narratives about terror and pain, infects Zehen’s mind. Zehen begins to suspect Madeeha as a possible mujahid. Will he find his truth?

Fear doesn’t devastate; it stirs the inner pot. It is a tender love story that triumphs heartbreaks and sets the foundation of deep lasting future relationships - a delightful emancipation from social intrigues and cultural constraints.

Read an Excerpt:

Zehen was experiencing sweet joy in his heart. Memories bustled in the head.

When did he first see her? Zehen searched his head madly. Orientation session? Corridor to the classroom? However, he tried, he couldn’t pinpoint the moment. A whirr of images, of moments, yet-to-be collaged. And a heart that already had a narrative, waiting to be inset.

We imagine that all romantic stories will have a sigh-worthy romantic beginning. But beginnings are when the heart awakens, when the soul remembers. A presence stills and emerges from the shadows of time.

His first memory was when she introduced herself in the class. They had gathered at Presidium University for a one-year course on Social Impact Leadership. Outside, the white fringe tree was laden with its grape-like fruits. The pine, oak and spruce waited for winter to tell the world how unchangeable they were. And the old Redwood stood proud like the institution itself. Inside, in the warm classroom, students from various cultures across the world had gathered. Icebreaker session was on and the usual round of introductions.

Introduction is a ritual. A cumbersome ritual. How does one reduce the tapestry of one’s entire existence, the colors, and the many weaves into a single palatable thread?

The Book is Free on Amazon on 29th & 30th September. Grab it here: Amazon


I published my first book in 2015 and my second book in early 2016. I was single at the time and using dating apps to meet other single people. I met a girl in mid-2016 who took fancy to my dating profile, especially that I am an author. After a couple of meetings, She demanded that I write about her. I jokingly told her that I am a Phoenix writer, i.e., I fall in love, get dumped, and write about my failed relationship. She broke-up with me, and still invariably pings whether I am including ‘her and our relationship’ in my upcoming book(s).


The genesis of this book came about while I was on a cross-country train ride in the US. I met Mark who had been a successful marketing professional with considerable international marketing experience. He had travelled to all of Asia and understood the regional peculiarities.
He was later diagnosed with lung cancer. By the time, it was detected, it was stage 3. He was put under radiation and intensive chemotherapy. He went in for three other opinions. All of them agreed that the cancer was aggressive and spreading fast. He searched for the latest treatments and sought to enter clinical trials. The process lasted for two years.

In the meantime, the cancer advanced. The doctors said the cancer was incurable and he didn’t have long to live. It took him weeks of denial to come around to the truth – he didn’t have long to live.

He returned home from a long walk one evening and asked himself a crucial question: “If I am going to die, then I might as well die straight away. What is point of waiting for death to show up?”

That evening he ate well, watched a movie with his girlfriend, poured himself a rare scotch and sat at his study. It was time. He wrote out his letter – love and wishes to his family, loved ones and friends, his last wishes about funeral, information on his will, and a general note thanking all. He placed it in an envelope. He planned to kill himself early morning. He finished his scotch, brushed and went to bed.

In the middle of night, he woke up to a noise. The light was on in the study and he could hear sniffles. He walked cautiously up and there in the study, his girlfriend was holding his suicide letter and crying. He watched her as her body crumpled and sink into chair. Her face contorted in agony. In her face, he saw what was the consequence of his action. The penny dropped.

I paled and listened in horror. Mark continued, “I realized that our life is never ours. We are nothing but a bundle of emotions for the people who love us and the people we love. The meaning of life is to optimize for the happiness of such people. There’s nothing more to living.
That day on, I have been living for maximizing the happiness of my loved ones”

That’s how I stumbled on lean in to relationships; it has become my life philosophy.

About the Author 

I was born into poverty. At the time of my birth, my parents shared a one -room hut with six other family members in one of the poorest neighborhoods of Delhi.

It was a hot day in the month of March 1995. I was in standard 4th and had an examination the following day. As was regular in that locality, we didn't have electricity that day. I couldn't study or sleep properly. One of the watershed moments happened when I came back from school the next day. We had an inverter installed at home. I knew we couldn't afford an inverter. But my dad was always convinced that the way out of poverty for our family is through education. 

Despite an interest in creative writing, I chose to study a subject that society values more – Finance.  Later, I got into one of the top colleges for finance in the country. My first salary out of college (in 2007, when I was 20 years old) was higher than that of my dad's salary at the time.

When I was 24 years old, I had everything that makes one happy – loving parents, great partner, close-knit group of friends, and career path that exceeded every goal. Yet, I wasn’t happy. I wasn’t sad either; but it never felt like my life. I had carefully and meticulously built that life though. Contextually, it was the safe thing to do.

Following year though, I had to deal with the loss of my 7 year old relationship and of my 5 year old job. My identity was crushed. My biggest lesson was that you can fail at what you don't want, and what you consider safe; you might as well take a chance at what you truly want.
Next year, I got my ‘ideal’ job but walked away from it. Failure had taught me to be more ambitious and audacious. I had reached a point in my life where I wanted my work to have more meaning; and to stand for something more important than myself.

I started a political consulting company to maneuver social ascendance of marginalized communities by equalizing access to political capital.  I primarily did topical research for MPs for their debates in the parliament and on TV shows.  Partial project list includes:

1.   Providing 108 rape survivors with medical, legal, financial, and social support over six months through one of my client's NGO
2.   Getting amendments passed in the communal violence bill that tackle systemic bias towards Muslims
3.   Helping three social entrepreneurs raise a combined total of INR 43 lakhs from their MP for community initiatives

Along with running my own company, I focused on my passion for writing and traveling as well.  I solo travelled to all seven wonders of the world, and did two-cross country trips by train in India and in the US.  I have also written and published three fiction novels.

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Magic & Survival (From Siberia with Love #4) by Ilana Cohen

Magic & Survival (From Siberia with Love #4)Magic & Survival by Ilana Cohen
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book is part IV of a series. This is called (something) and survival series. This novel is Magic and Survival (part IV).

Alex is a scientist also. He is working in top university in Russia and as always there is no dearth of beautiful woman. HE meets Julia, his future wife there. He wore suit twice and one occasion was his wedding. Coincidentally Edith son’s name is also Alex. He is busy I his own life. Her daughter Ruth is working for Army and living with his boyfriend. So that leaves Edith alone. So she gives Alex ultimatum. Come to me fully or end it. What will he do and how will Julia react?

The two air hostesses give useful tips to Alex to woo woman. Here are these six rules in brief;

1. Never chase woman.
2. Not interested, keep her away and vice versa.
3. Always choose woman older than you.
4. To get rid look her down.
5. Avoid pregnancy.
6. Never give her any presents.

To know more about these rules read the book.

Again the book has no character development. Alex character is inconsistent. I thought Ilana will explain but no. Their business end badly. And the climax is sudden and a lot is left unexplained.

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Charm & Survival (book III) by Ilana Cohen

Charm & SurvivalCharm & Survival by Ilana Cohen
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book is part III of a series. This is called (something) and survival series. This novel is Charm and Survival (part III).

Alex meets with an accident on a way to his another lover. Edith takes care of him. She rues the fact but she craves the incredible sex with him. Alex says that Russian men cannot be monogamous and he is capable of satisfying more than one women sexually. Edith wants him totally but has to accept that he will go back to Julia. She is not happy with the arrangement but cannot say no to incredible sex. Alex tells her the stories from Siberia.

The pace of book is erratic. It moves back and forth between Israel and Siberia. Alex tells so many stories. They have no connection and it seems that they are of different persons. Alex has multiple personality disorder it seems. No details of business dealings are given.

Book is long and protracted and has no plot whatsoever. It read like a documentary on Siberia. There is zero character development and Alex character is totally hay wire.

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Saturday, 23 September 2017

Mystery & Survival (From Siberia with Love Book 2) by Ilana Cohen

Mystery & Survival (From Siberia with Love Book 2)Mystery & Survival by Ilana Cohen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book is part II of a series. This is called (something) and survival series. This novel is Mystery and Survival (part II).

Edith is a widow who is living with her mother in law and two kids. She starts affair with Alex and they have passionate sex. But is it a good idea to be a business partner of your extramarital lover? Alex pitches her a business proposal. He says that Siberian wood of top quality and they can sell it here and get commission. She laps up the proposal and they start the business. Alex’s wife Julia and Edith becomes partner in the firm. Story moves in the flash back and we get t know about difficult child hood of Alex. He is not very bright but was hardworking and survived harsh Siberia. He gets a degree also and have sex with air hostesses.

Some witty one liner are:
1. Israeli tax authority was much more forgiving of self employed people than it was for salried employees.
2. Behind every successful career woman, there is a man who is not her husband.

One interesting revelation of the book is that Julia knows about the affair and accepts it. She doesn’t see Edith as a competition.

The pace of book is better than the first one. Still pace is slow. I have a feeling that the business dealings are heading for a bitter end. We will find out in the book 3 hopefully.

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From Siberia With Love: A Women's Fiction Novel by Ilana Cohen

From Siberia With Love: A Women's Fiction NovelFrom Siberia With Love: A Women's Fiction Novel by Ilana Cohen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I am getting books from Israel and find that they have different flavour. They are unlike Indian or American books. This book is part I of a series. This is called (something) and survival series. This novel is Joy and Survival (part I).

Edith is a widow who is living with her mother in law and two kids. He yearns for male company which is evident from the fact that she feels attracted for married men. First it is Dr Janusz Zuriel who is older than her. Then after 10 years she meets Alex. He emigrated from Siberia and is a hunk. They start and affair have passionate sex.

One passage from the book which I liked:

“An affair with a married man is much like Swarovski jewellery. It is like a dream—beautiful, shiny, and pleasing to the heart of a woman. But eventually, it turns out to be unreal. Edith fell in love with the renowned doctor, a man filled with charisma. It was the first time she’d fallen in love outside of her marriage, and she didn’t do a single thing to stop it. The two became close friends and sought ways to spend time together.”

The book has its moments but they are few and far between. The story is dull. The pace is snail’s. Still it gave knowledge about Siberia.

“There is no such thing as an ugly woman. However, there is such a thing as not enough vodka,” was the motto of the Russian soldiers, the great liberators of Eastern Europe.
Two months of summer in Siberia are the equivalent of four months of summer in another place, where the natural order of nights and days takes place. After two months of negligible nights, the weather rapidly changes. Frost covers the greenery. The grass and shrubbery freeze overnight and are preserved beneath a layer of ice, fresh and green, just like frozen foods kept cooked or fresh in the freezer.

The motives of Edith are clear. I have sympathy with her and can understand why she entered into affair with married man. By the way Alex doesn’t seem too reliable either. Still she loves him and loves the sex. I feel she is entitled for fun in life and her life continues even after her husband’s death. I somehow liked the book despite slow pace. I will continue with the series. More reviews once I finish more books of the series.

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The Royal Roommate by P.G. Van

The Royal RoommateThe Royal Roommate by P.G. Van
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Life of royalty is not always a bed of roses. We find that they get everything easy. They are born with a silver spoon in mouth and live comfortably till death. But is it the case?

Amy is a happy go lucky girl living peacefully and pursuing her law degree. Her life takes a 180 degree turn on the fateful day when she helps a badly injured stranger. The stranger is a fugitive of another country. In come dashing Sid who pies on Amy due to this action of hers. He moves in as her roommate and falls in love with her the attraction is mutual and they start making out passionately. Then Sid finds out that Amy is royalty.

The book is essentially a romance of Mills and Boon variety. Some element of action and conspiracy is thrown in but central motif is romance. Chemistry between Sid and Amy is great and attraction is electric.

Some issues are apparent. The way he spies on Amy is reprehensible with total disregard to her privacy. Sid along with only one main helper takes on the enemy army. The story in last few chapters is rushed for no particular reason. It could have very well ended at their wedding and they lived happily ever after.

I give the book 3/ 5 stars.

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रूह से – रूह तक लेखक विनीत बंसल

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

मोहब्बत क्या है? ये पाने का नाम है या चुपचाप दर्द झेलने का? सच्चा प्यार किस्से कहानियो मे ही होता है. कुछ ऐसा ही वर्णन इस पुस्तक मे है.

नील एक इंजिनियरिंग कॉलेज मे प्रवेश लेता है. पहुचते ही वो एक दबंग अमीर जादे की जान बचा लेता है. रणवीर उसे अपना छोटा भाई बना लेता है. नील उसके परिवार के सदस्य की तरह हो जाता है. जैसा की कहानियो मे होता है नील को अपनी सहपाठी अदिति से प्यार हो जाता है. परंतु एक खूबसूरत मॉडेल जैसी लड़की जिया स्थिति को जटिल कर देती है. जीया, नील को प्यार करती है और रणवीर जीया को. इस सब के चलते रणवीर शराबी हो जाता है और नील व अदिति के जीवन मे भूकंप आ जाता है.

कहानी मे जिस प्रकार के किरदार है , वो काफ़ी पुराने अंदाज के है. ऐसा ७० के दशक के मूवीज़ मे होता था. एक बेहद शरीफ हीरो. प्यार मे पागल हेरोइने.एक दोस्त जो कालांतर मे विलन बन जाता है. तथा अंत मे एक पागल सुंदरी. और निखिल के रूप मे एक वफ़ादार मित्र.

कहानी मे कुछ नयापन नही है. ये सपाट चलती है तथा अंत मे प्रिडिक्टबल होने के कारण नीरस बन जाती है. कहानी इतनी नाटकीय है की आर्टिफिशियल लगती है.

इस कहानी मे इस प्रकार का प्यार है जैसा पुराने किस्से कहानियो मे होता था.

मैं इस उपन्यास को ३/ ५ स्टार्स देता हूँ.

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Sunday, 17 September 2017

The Colours of Passion by Sourabh Mukherjee

The Colours of Passion: Unravelling Dark Secrets behind the LimelightThe Colours of Passion: Unravelling Dark Secrets behind the Limelight by Sourabh Mukherjee
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A good murder mystery is a page turner. There are many writers who excel in this genre. Yet it is very difficult to keep the identity of real culprit hidden till end. Many red herrings are to be planted and it is a cat and mouse game between author and the reader.

In the very first scene Tollywood’s (Bangla film industry) heartthrob Hiya Sen is brutally murdered. The identity of killers is no secret and they are apprehended. She recently married Manav Chauhan a business tycoon. The case is not as simple as it appears, so it is given to ACP Agni Mitra and inspector Arya. The marriage of Hiya and Manav took place after he broke up with a spoilt brat of a rich dad. There are many unanswered questions. Can Agni find out the truth?

This is the second book of Sourabh Mukherjee which I read. First one was “In the shadows of death”. I liked both. The qualities of good murder mystery as told in first para are available in this book. The investigator is intelligent, observant and persistent. Agni doesn’t come under pressure and gets to the bottom of this murky tale.

I give the book 4/ 5 stars.

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The Mahabharata Code by Karthik K.B. Rao

The Mahabharata CodeThe Mahabharata Code by Karthik K.B. Rao
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“...the secret of the Great Stories is that they have no secrets. The Great Stories are the ones you have heard and want to hear again. The ones you can enter anywhere and inhabit comfortably. They don’t deceive you with thrills and trick endings. They don’t surprise you with the unforeseen. They are as familiar as the house you live in. Or the smell of your lover’s skin. You know how they end, yet you listen as though you don’t. In the way that although you know that one day you will die, you live as though you won’t. In the Great Stories you know who lives, who dies, who finds love, who doesn’t. And yet you want to know again.

That is their mystery and their magic.”
― Arundhati Roy, The God of Small Things

I am tempted to open the review with these words. Mahabharata is a great book. It inspired countless authors to retell it in myriad ways. Everyone has their own interpretation. Yet we are not tired of reading it. The reason is told above.

The story is set in a far off planet. Narayan Rao, a scientist from NASA goes to a far off planet. There he meets a mystery man Vyasa. They try to recreate the great epic there. As expected Pandavas and Kauravas hate each other and come face to face in a war. Krishna is also there to guide.

The story is well written and a lot of research is done by Karthik. The Chapter of “Not required Indian” deals with the theme of caste. Srishti has some theory about it being based on deeds and not birth. They discuss it at great length in the context of Ramayan and Mahabharat. In these epics the lower castes were stopped from learning and that shows that it is based on birth.

Chapter 20 “The revelation” gives insight about the God Program. I cannot tell much as it will be spoiler.

The book is not a simple retelling of Mahabharata. The scale is large and the myths are explained in a scientific way. The dogmas of caste, superstations and blind faith are questioned. It made me think and reflect. The book is humorous and intelligent.

I give the book 4/ 5 stars.

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The Hidden Spark: Ignite The Passion For Your Amazing Life by Vikas Trivedi, SMITA AGARWAL

The Hidden Spark: Ignite The Passion For Your Amazing LifeThe Hidden Spark: Ignite The Passion For Your Amazing Life by Vikas Trivedi
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

All of us want success. The world is running after success. But very few maybe 5% of world population is successful in true sense of the word. All other are just running in a rat race. It seems they are plain lucky. Or is there some formula to success?

This book tells us some time tested methods to achieve success and happiness. The book gives techniques for success and happiness. There are many approaches to this and each chapter gives a different one. These are interconnected and part of a whole. The noteworthy ones are given below:

1. The law of attraction: What we think, positive or negative, we attract.
2. The law of you: There is no problem in the world where answers are not known to your inner soul.
3. The law of echo: This is the power of spoken word.
4. Karma: Karma is a force. It has repercussions good and bad both.
5. Switch words: These are words to trigger subconscious mind.
6. Imagination therapy: It means imagining the thing you want in your life in your own beautiful world, so that you can inhabit in another world.
The book basically teaches positive thinking. It has been proven by psychologist that this thing work sometimes. Habits play an important part in our success as told in the chapter “Remove your mental Blockages”. Everyone knows of Pavlov’s dog and conditioning. Habits good and bad can make or break us. The experiment of pouring cold water on monkeys shows that negative thinking is equally powerful and can lead to inertia and ultimately doom. Visualisation plays an important role in the overall scheme of things.

There are many stories of people who benefited from these techniques and given throughout the book. If they can be successful so can anybody else.

Although the concept is nothing new and taught by countless persons from Norman Vincent Peale, Shiv Khera, Deepak Chopra, Rhonda Bryne, Paulo Coelho among many others. The author tries to give so many things in a single book. There are some printing issues and many a times there is no space between the words.

I give the book 3.5/ 5 stars.

P.S.: A word of caution. Positive thinking is good but it has limitations which is proven beyond doubt. So the techniques given in the book should be used with eyes open.

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Thursday, 14 September 2017

Mona Lisa's Secret by Phil Philips

Mona Lisa's SecretMona Lisa's Secret by Phil Philips
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Mons Lisa by Michael Angelo is the most famous painting of the world. What if the painting in the Louvre, Paris is fake.

Joey great grandfather stole the original Mona Lisa. His girlfriend Marie knows Pierre the curator of Louvre. She advises him to return the original to Paris. They fix the return with him on one condition that they return it with after a press conference. It will clear Joey’s family name. But they are double crossed by Pierre once they reach there.

It is claimed that fans of Dan Brown's, da Vinci code will love Phil Philips Mona Lisa's Secret. The story is good initially. But it is stretched too much. The plot is wafer thin. Nothing much happens and the motivations of key characters are childish. So is the tactics employed by Joey and Pierre. Pierre sidekicks though ex-military are all morons. The twist which came (in shape of a hidden code in the paining) was a case of too little too late.

I give the book 3/ 5 stars.

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Sunday, 10 September 2017

Finding The Angel by Rubina Ramesh

Finding The AngelFinding The Angel by Rubina Ramesh

The love story of a prince charming and a pretty girl next door is intriguing. As this is a modern day romance prince charming comes in a private jet and not on horse. Though he rides a horse.

Faberge the angel is a rare diamond. It is property of Aryan Ranuat the prince. Shefali works for an auction house and is called by Gitanjali Devi to catalogue the artefacts in the fort. Gitanjali Devi is friend of Kalpana who brought up Shefali. Shefali comes to fort is enamoured by Aryan’s charms. They come close briefly and then the unthinkable happens. Angel is stolen and by chance Shefali leaves fort the same time. She does not inform anyone. Aryan is furious and thinks that she did it. He goes to Bombay after her and confronts her. She denies everything of course but finds Aryan irresistable. They share a uneasy romance and what happens next? Will they recover Angel and unite or go apart?

Now a days there is a trend of showing broken, psychologically damaged characters. The best part about this book is that characters are normal human beings. Although Aryan has some trust issues due to the trapping of his father by a beautiful seductress, he is still normal. He is just cautious and rightly so. He is rich and successful and the world is full of gold diggers. He is bold, courageous, arrogant, haughty, considerate and romantic deep down. He is hesitant to commit despite his obvious love (lust is part of that) for Shefali.

Shefali is an orphan raised by Kalpana. She is dedicated to his job and highly cautious. She feels indebted to Kalpana and when the scandal threatens the firm she panics. She goes along bullying of Aryan for two pronged reasons: her love and prestige of Kalpana. She is very good at her job and that is why the bad guys feels threatened when she enters the fort.

The supporting cast is good. Gitanjali Devi is typical queen. She is magnanimous, pragmatic and caring. Her daughter and son in law are playing their part.

The romance is first rate. Rubina brought out the romantic feelings of Shefali beautifully. I am not a girl but am pretty sure that is how a young girl in love feels. Though Aryan emotions are not dealt in detail. The mystery of missing Angel and fake artefacts is not hard to decipher. But then it is a romance and not mystery.

I give the book 5/ 5 stars.

P.S. Writing a book is a tedious job and labour of love. Views in the review are personal and with full respect to the hard work put in by the author. Please like/ comment/ mark helpful the review if you feel so.

Where to buy:

All She wanted was love...
Shefali is a die-hard romantic. Having lost her parents at a very tender age, she is in search of a place which she can call home. Her passion for Art lands her a job as an art curator to the famous artifacts of the Ranaut Dynasty. When she meets the scion, Aryan Ranaut, she feels that her dream might come true until…

All He wanted was to trust…
Living the life of a modern day Prince is no easy task for the young and dashing Aryan Ranaut. Having lost his father to a rapacious woman, Aryan has severe trust issues. But upon meeting Shefali, he feels he could let down his guard. Until…

All They need is to find The Angel…
Just as Aryan realizes his love for Shefali, one of the most precious artifacts, The Angel, goes missing from the Ranaut collection. All fingers point towards Shefali—more so because she leaves the palace without telling anyone on the very night of the theft.

Finding the Angel is a story where duty clashes with love and lack of trust overrides passion. Under these circumstances, can The Angel bring the star-crossed lovers together?

About 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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Saturday, 9 September 2017

Brahmahatya by Rajiv Mittal

Bramahatya is composed of two words meaning killing a priest (Brahman+ Hatya). Hinduism has four main Varnas (loosely translated castes) and Brahmins i.e. priests are at top of it. The act of killing a Brahman is considered utmost vile and punishment is condemnation to hell till eternity.

Ravi is an obedient son working in Dubai and his father is in India. He tries to put him in GMR, an old age home but due to one Dr Chari his father dies. Dr Chari is a Brahman and Ravi vows revenge. He enters the old age home in disguise of his father and helped by Bhawna. Bhawna is an employee of GMR and has a very sick daughter. She is alone as his husband left her due to sickness of the daughter. Will he be able to take revenge?

The book is meant for upper caste readers. Almost all main characters are depressed. So naturally the story is depressing. It is slow, boring and has no pace. Nothing happens till the end. Even the romance angle between the two is not developed.

There are many sholkas (Sanskrit verses) used. First these are written in roman and then translated into English. These slow the pace.

The plight of old is brought out well. Many old persons are living alone in India and their wards live abroad. This is a real problem and author did well to bring out this problem.

I give this book 2.5/ 5 stars.

P.S. Writing a book is a tedious job and labour of love. Views in the review are personal and with full respect to the hard work put in by the author. Please like/ comment/ mark helpful the review if you feel so. 

Thursday, 7 September 2017

The Blue House in Bishop by Sunanda J. Chatterjee

The Blue House in BishopThe Blue House in Bishop by Sunanda J. Chatterjee
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Book is a double bonanza. It has romance and suspense (say in 70: 30 ratio). There is the genre called cozy mystery. This book can be called cozy romantic mystery.

There are four main characters. Alisha is an Indian lady cop who has a broken heart. Sunil is a doctor who is also having his secrets. Duke is ex-military who, is retired hurt. And Jenny is a mysterious lady who claims to be wife of Sunil’s friend Todd. Alisha was in love with his senior who ditched her for a politician’s daughter. She resigns from the force. To top it she lost his brother to a drug overdose and she hates drug dealers from bottom of her heart. Duke is distraught due to a failed mission and adultery of his wife. Sunil’s mother has cancer and forces him to marry before she dies. So she arranges marriage of Sunil and Alisha. Both don’t want to marry, but it gives them a good escape. She comes with him to Bishop, a prosaic town. Duke is living with Sunil and then Jenny also joins. Who is she? What she has to hide?

The book moves at a slow but steady pace. Sunil and Alisha shares a platonic camaraderie. Instant sparks fly between Alisha and Duke. Though romance is subdued and never blossoms fully. When Jenny enters the scene element of suspense and mystery is added.

Each character has his own pains and insecurities. Alisha feels she is responsible for everyone else pain. She holds herself back and never able to commit fully to love as she is not able to trust men. Duke is damaged physically and emotionally. Duke feels the pain of betrayal by his wife and pain of not being able to save an innocent life. Sunil is not comfortable with Alisha as he loves someone else. He is desperate to make friends and approval of others. That is why he keeps sheltering people in his home. He is lonely and sad. Jenny is sacred to death.

There are few blemishes too. The pace is steady but slow. Nothing much happens till very late in the book. Also the motivation of each character is not fully clear. I explained the insecurities above but that doesn’t justify the slow pacing. Two parallel tracks of romance and thrill don’t gel properly. Almost all action takes place in the blue house. The romance portion is better scripted and the thrill part is weaker. FBI involvement, drug dealers and politician nexus seems forced and underdeveloped.

Keeping in view the pros and cons I give the book 3.5/ 5 stars.

P.S. Writing a book is a tedious job and labour of love. Views in the review are personal and with full respect to the hard work put in by the author. Please like/ comment/ mark helpful the review if you feel so.

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Alisha has left the Indian Police Force with a broken heart, her wish to bring criminals to justice, unfulfilled. When she agrees to be a friend's 'pretend' fiancée and travels to Bishop, California, she has no idea the decision will transform her life.

Haunted by his failed mission and failed marriage, Duke Wilcox has left the Special Forces, and an accident leaves him recovering in his friend's house in Bishop.

Alisha falls hopelessly in love with Duke, whose troubled past prevents him from opening his heart, especially in the presence of their mutual friend.

But when a mysterious woman appears with a baby, Alisha's cop instinct kicks in. Is this woman who she claims to be? Why is the FBI after her? And how is she involved with a Colombian Drug lord?

A story of loyalty, camaraderie, and love, The Blue House in Bishop is a romantic suspense that brings four strangers together in a quest for self-discovery and justice.
About Author

Freelance author, blogger, and ex-Indian Air Force physician Sunanda Joshi Chatterjee completed her graduate studies in Los Angeles, where she is a practicing pathologist. While medicine is her profession, writing is her passion. When she’s not at the microscope making diagnoses, she loves to write fiction. Her life experiences have taught her that no matter how different people are, their desires, fears, and challenges remain the same.

Her themes include romantic sagas, family dramas, immigrant experience, women’s issues, medicine, and spirituality. She loves extraordinary love stories and heartwarming tales of duty and passion. Her short stories have appeared in and

She grew up in Bhilai, India, and lives in Arcadia, California with her husband and two wonderful children. In her free time, she paints, reads, sings, goes on long walks, and binge-watches TV crime dramas.

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