He Fixed The Match, She Fixed Him

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Blurb: Shreya – I’m a highly qualified Delhi girl earning an enviable salary. My parents are having a tough time finding a suitable groom for me. However, recently they have a proposal from this very interesting guy from Mumbai. I almost get mesmerised when he starts talking to me. I think I like him very much.

Kunal – I’m owner of a textile company in Mumbai. My Mom wants me to get married. Again. She has recently suggested a suitable girl from Delhi. What my Mom doesn’t know is that I’ve met Shreya before once in my life and I’ve been looking for her ever since. I have a vendetta to settle.
The author takes you along on a journey via roads of revenge, agony, remorse, attraction, titillation, tantalisation and romance. Do Shreya and Kunal make it, or do they fall prey to their past?

About the author: Shikha Kumar has a B-Tech degree in Computer Science from Bharati Vidyapeeth, Delhi. Professionally she’s as a Manager with Tata Consultancy Services. She has travelled to, and worked in different countries. She enjoys travelling, reading, writing and watching movies. This is her first attempt to present her writing abilities to the world.

Review: This is Shikha Kumar’s debut novel and after reading it I must say that she has done justice to the romantic genre and I did not feel it was her debut. The way she has unfolded the story has given a sense of satisfaction that what happened in the novel was the right. This is an interesting romantic tale of a married couple, who are forced into marriage almost reluctantly. Shreya is a working independent professional; Kunal on the other hand is being pushed for marriage who has a bitter past. Kunal’s mother finds Shreya’s match unaware that Kunal already knows Shreya, she is happy that Kunal has agreed to marry Shreya. They get married where Shreya doesn’t get a chance to see Kunal’s personally and all she knows is by his voice. Shreya feels helpless when she sees Kunal on the wedding day and she determines to fix her husband and their marriage, deciding not to give up. Managing home and office efficiently, she woos Kunal off his feet. It is a story of romantic genre where intense hatred accompanied with revenge completely transforms into love that is indefinable and selfless. The characters avoid love due to their pasts and this avoidance is the reason for Shreya and Kunal coming as close to each other as if they were born one. The characters in the novel are portrayed in a simple manner and understanding of the story is a cakewalk. I appreciate the use of language in the novel; reader will hook to this novel till it ends because of the plainness of the language used along with the use of some Hindi phrases.  Author Shikha has put in elements of a block buster novel – strong story with strong characters, twists running a thrilling chill, sweet smile, and a plot that you will easily relate, a guiding instinct that keeps the characters going without causing any boredom. I recommend this story to all. I finished in one day and night’s reading.

The book was received as part of Reviewers Programme on The Tales Pensieve

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Antique Forgery

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Blurb: Magic, forgery, betrayal, and fabulous jewels surround Alicia as she struggles to find the reason for her friend’s death.

Spotlight:  This second book in the series takes the reader further into the life of Alicia Trent and her friends. Magic, forgery, betrayal, and fabulous jewels surround Alicia as she struggles to find the reason for her friend’s death.

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Excerpt:

We were nearly halfway up the stairs when I heard Lawrence groan. I turned to see what had happened. He was deathly white, and while I watched, he sank down on the closest step. He was sweating heavily and clutching his stomach. He didn’t seem coherent enough to answer any questions, so I ducked into my room and called for an ambulance. They only took about ten minutes to arrive, but it was horrible to wait. Lawrence was obviously in great pain, but couldn’t tell me what was wrong.

The ride to the hospital took an eternity. They wouldn’t let me ride in the ambulance, and I was so afraid of what would happen before he arrived. I was shaking and behind the wheel of a car was the last place I should have been, but as the ambulance tore through the streets with the siren blaring, I was right behind them.

I ran from the parking lot into the emergency room just in time to see them take Lawrence through a set of swinging doors where I couldn’t follow. I slumped into a chair, and for the next two hours I sat in a waiting room with dull green walls and hard metal chairs. I never moved while I waited. My mind was busy begging Lawrence to hold on.

Since I was the only one waiting, when I saw an exhausted-looking man dressed in scrubs walk into the room, I took a deep breath and hurried to his side.

He said, “Are you the relative who brought Lawrence Hall in tonight?”

Afraid they wouldn’t tell me anything if I confessed to not being a relative, I just nodded.

“Mr. Hall is a very sick man. He’s been poisoned, and we think he must have eaten poisonous mushrooms. Our tests indicate they were probably green-sporedlepiota.”

At this point I wanted to scream at him to just tell me his condition. He could explain the details after I knew how Lawrence was.

However, he wasn’t finished explaining. “This particular mushroom doesn’t normally cause death, but among its other symptoms it can dangerously lower blood pressure. Mr. Hall must be on some type of medication that has the same effect, or at least exacerbated the effect of the mushroom, because we nearly lost him. It’s a good thing you got him here when you did. We have him stabilized now, and he should make a full recovery.”

I barely heard anything the man said except the last statement. Lawrence was going to be all right! My knees weakened with relief and I sank into the nearest chair.

He continued, “He’s awake, and we need to monitor him closely for a while. We want to keep him tonight and tomorrow for observation, but he can probably go home after that. If you want to see him, you can visit for a short time, but first, can you tell me what type of medication he’s taking? He was still pretty confused when I talked to him and wasn’t able to tell me.”

“I don’t know the exact medication. Lawrence is bi-polar, so it has to be something for that. I’ll see if I can find out the name for you.”

I got the room number and was practically running in my need to see for myself that he was alive and recovering. I burst into the room, nearly knocking over a nurse on her way out. She cautioned me the patient needed rest and, with a frown in my direction, left the room. I pulled a chair up next to the bed and took Lawrence’s hand. “You look so much better already. You have some color back.”

He said, “You look terrible. You can relax. I’m going to be fine. I was a little worried in the beginning because the confusion felt the way some of my episodes used to begin. The confusion is gone now, and I really am fine. It’s left me very tired, but they don’t want me to sleep yet. Tell me exactly what happened. I’m sure the gory details will help keep me awake. The last thing I remember is starting up the stairs, and then brief moments in the ambulance.”

I wanted to answer in the same matter-of-fact way he’d asked the question. I tried, but before I could begin, tears were running down my face and I couldn’t find my voice. I didn’t sob or howl. Strangely, I didn’t make any noise at all. I just stared at Lawrence, horrified because he might have died trying to help me. All the while the silent tears kept coming.

He said, “Ali, we can’t have this. I’ve seen you go through some horrible times, but I’ve never seen you cry. There’s no need for you to be so upset. I promise you I will be out of here tomorrow, and all will be well. Even the doctor says so.”

I gulped a few times trying to find my voice. It didn’t sound good, but I managed to say, “I couldn’t bear it if anything happened to you. When you get out of here, you’re going right back to Scottsdale! I should never have involved you in any of this.”

“Whoa there, girl! In the first place, I’m a grown man and you can’t involve me in anything I don’t choose to be involved in. In the second place, you and your crazy mixed-up life are the main thing keeping me from getting old and bored. Bad things happen sometimes, but none of this is your fault. Now dry those tears and tell me how I got here.”

I hiccuped a few times but got myself under control. “Okay, I’m not trying to take the blame for what happened, but I was so scared. It seems you were poisoned. I wasn’t in much shape to listen to the doctor, but it was some kind of mushroom. There were mushrooms in the food we ate at supper, but we both ate those. Someone targeted you specifically. At the moment, I have no idea why they did it, but I don’t think whoever did this was trying to kill you. The doctor said the symptoms were severe but not normally fatal. The problem seemed to be a reaction between the poison and your medication. Whoever did this couldn’t have known that you take anything, or at least not that your medicine would react with the mushrooms. The doctor asked me to find out the name of your prescription.”

“I vaguely remember him asking me, but I was pretty confused then and couldn’t remember. It’s Geodon. They tried dozens before, but nothing worked until this came along. I’m one of the lucky ones, because it not only keeps the problem in check, but I don’t suffer from any severe side effects. This reaction with poison mushrooms is something I certainly never expected. I should have told you ages ago in case of a relapse or some bizarre circumstances like these.”

“I’ll let the doctor know the name of the medicine. I don’t know if your medication lowers your blood pressure, but it dropped dangerously low. That’s what had the doctors worried.”

“I don’t know either, but the doctors will figure it out. I understand I have to be in here until tomorrow evening, even though I tried to talk them into letting me go sooner. You need to promise me you won’t do anything the least bit dangerous until I get back. One day isn’t going to make any difference. Whoever did this may have planned it to separate us for some reason. So promise me you’ll be careful and not spend time alone.”

The frowning nurse came back and warned me I needed to leave. Visiting hours were over and the patient needed rest.

I said, “Don’t worry about me. I promise I will take every precaution until you’re out of here. I’ll be back tomorrow afternoon and will drive you to the house when they release you. Just get well!”

Outside the room, Detective Wilton was waiting for me.

About the Author:


From living off the grid in the Arizona desert, Eileen has moved to the woods of upstate New York. She has authored a standalone adventure novel called Desert Shadow. She is also the author of Alicia Trent Series. The Black Cane : Dowager Diaries Book 1 is her latest release.

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Review: This is the Second book in the Alicia Trent Mystery Series. I completely cherished the first book, Antique Magic and so I was totally pushed up to read this second episode. I am glad that Antique Forgery has handled to live up to my prospects just like the first book. The writing style of the author has remained the simple yet likeable in this book too. It’s with the everyday common language that Eileen Harris writes and this book is no exception. I felt comfortable right from the beginning. The mystery in this book is so simple and certainly did not see the twist coming. In the first book Antique Magic, a prediction was made by the clock that Alicia would be the one to discover her friend’s dead body. So, Antique forgery takes off with Alicia worried about the forecast while preparing to go assess the jewellery collection that Janice and Arthur Darnell had inherited. Janice, a friend of her mother, has been a constant in Alicia’s life while growing up – one who has been there for her and her mother through thick and thin. So, when Alicia discovers her friend, Kendra’s lifeless body in the Darnell’s living room, her worst fears came right. Aiming to get justice for her friend’s death and she tries to piece together the clues that she can find, while more bodies are dropping around her and secrets are unveiled. In this instalment, Alicia stands the chance to lose those who are closest to her as she continues on to find out the truth. The characters are sensible and credible. The author’s concentration to detail helps the reader sense the ambience of looming hazard and the feeling that something in that old mansion is not on the up and up. From the staff to the relatives of the deceased, no one is beyond doubt as events are exposed. Difficult relations are defined as the story unfurled and there are plenty of secrets to keep readers guessing as to who is behind the strange advances.
 

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Antique Magic

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Blurb: How did the deceased owner of the old house know so much about Ali Trent, the antique dealer hired to appraise her hoarded treasures? And can she stay alive long enough to solve the mysteries of murder and magic before becoming the next victim?

About the author: From living off the grid in the Arizona desert, Eileen has moved to the woods of upstate New York. She has authored a standalone adventure novel called Desert Shadow. She is also the author of Alicia Trent Series. The Black Cane: Dowager Diaries Book 1 is her latest release.

Review: The story is about, Alicia Trent a co-owner of an antique store that specializes in high-end items of all kinds who was made to order after the death of a wealthy widow to sort through a disorderly compilation gathered over the years. Alicia agrees to stay at the mansion organizing the collection and entertaining bids from collectors. After few eccentric episodes she determines to find out whether the widow was actually murdered, if so, why, and who may want her dead as well. Eileen’s story-telling capability is fine. She manages to draw you in and feel involved with the characters. Alicia is a modern girl who believes in science, rather than in magic. Thus, reading about it through Alicia’s narration makes it much easier to believe in the magic represented in the story. Also, Alicia is such a strong and practical girl that it makes you feel like cheering for her all the way through. Antique Magic by Eileen Harris, is one of the most enjoyable mysteries I’ve read in quite a while. All the characters are interesting and believable, intriguing plot, and the story a page-turner with twists and turns. If you like vagueness and are zealous about antiques, you’ll probably enjoy this book, even though there aren’t enough details about the antiques, details that a collector would have certainly enjoyed. I liked reading this book, a lot of manoeuvre and an interesting spread of characters that left me question who was good and who was bad. I was astonished by “bad guy” of this book. It was definitely not someone I was expected but did guess the “why” or how this person was attached in to the relations as more information was given away. I think this is going to be an exhilarating series. I can’t wait to find out what circumstances Alicia gets into subsequently.

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Nowhere To Goa: Bhang Lassis, Rickshaws, and Holy Cows

7836864The author, Doug E. Jones, sent me a copy of this book in exchange for my review. Doug E. Jones holds a degree in English Literature and has lived and worked in a number of countries. He worked as a writer for the television show “Charmed.” Nowhere To Goa: Bhang Lassis, Rickshaws, and Holy Cows! is his first novel. For more information about the Doug E. Jones and his work, visit his website. You can connect with him on GoodreadsFacebook and @Freshguy88. Doug E. Jones graduated from UCLA with a degree in English Literature and a minor in Creative Writing. He has worked overseas in Australia, Japan, and Costa Rica and traveled extensively in Thailand, Nepal, and India where his novel takes place.

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Nowhere To Goa is a travel adventure novel that takes off when Scott, a studious sophomore at Northwestern University, flies halfway around the world to bring home his troublesome twin brother who has just been released from jail in India after a run-in with the law; something to do with a bhang lassi, a rickshaw, and a holy cow! But when his brother proves hard to reel in, Scott’s three day jaunt turns into an epic journey, taking him from the islands of Thailand to the mountains of Nepal, from India’s Pushkar Camel Fair to the sacred Ganges River, and ultimately to the balmy beaches lining the Arabian Sea, where the story reaches its climatic finish at one of Goa’s infamous Full Moon Parties. In trying to find his brother, Scott loses himself in the pursuit of knowledge, purpose, and love as he hitches a hedonistic ride on South East Asia’s backpacker scene and the quest for the endless summer that has him questioning everything he has-and hasn’t learned.

This book has everything you wish. Travel adventures, emotions and humor. Nowhere To Goa: Bhang Lassis, Rickshaws, and Holy Cows! is funny, insightful and poignant. Scott is accustomed to the weight of expectation and responsibility. He and his parents have been living as a unit apart from his twin, Mike. Scott almost seems to view himself as a trainer to an animal he loves dearly, but knows will one day bite him. Mike’s been the only really unpredictable element in Scott’s life and while Scott loves him dearly, he’s more a responsibility than a unified part of Scott’s life. Mention of Mike is not welcomed with joy because his name coming up, always means something has gone horribly awry. When Scott arrives in India and starts looking for Mike, he finds that things are perhaps worse for his brother than he thought, and the need to locate his brother is more urgent than previously suspected. Mike seems to be on his own pursuit of sex, and drugs and rock-and-roll. Scott tells us early on, after discovering that his brother had headed for the Himalayas, that he rarely lost his temper, but when he loses his temper its almost always because of his brother who he sees as an impulse driven hedonist…and as someone who needs saving. There is no one on this planet that knows more of the answers than a 19-year-old. It is in the transformative moments as Scott experiences in Nowhere To Goa: Bhang Lassis, Rickshaws, and Holy Cows! that he comes to realize how little he truly knows. Throughout the course of his adventure, Scott is reading Breakfast of Champions: A Novel by Kurt Vonnegut and keeping a journal of his thoughts. This particular Vonnegut novel runs a heavy theme in the story is probably one of the most brilliant pieces of meta-fiction ever written. If you have not read this book, it’s one of my favorites of Vonnegut’s work and I urge you to run out and pick it up today.

Nowhere To Goa: Bhang Lassis, Rickshaws, and Holy Cows! is a very relaxed novel. Told in Scott’s voice, the flow is easy and relaxed. Per, a man met on the plane, acts as a bit of a common-sense guide to a character thrown into a culture. After Scott loses a ton of money in a case of mistaken identity in exchange for a cup of chai and a hand job, Per helps Scott make sense of why Mike might go where he’s headed. He also acts in a sense as a travel mentor to the younger man. I really liked Nowhere To Goa: Bhang Lassis, Rickshaws, and Holy Cows!. I found the novel to be personable, engaging, expertly written and wholly engrossing. I recommend this for anyone who likes travel novels, coming of age stories or just generally good fiction.

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Amsterdam: A History of the World’s Most Liberal City

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Blurb: Amsterdam is not just any city. Despite its relative size it has stood alongside its larger cousins – Paris, London, Berlin – and has influenced the modern world to a degree that few other cities have. Sweeping across the city’s colourful thousand year history, Amsterdam will bring the place to life: its sights and smells; its politics and people. Concentrating on two significant periods – the late 1500s to the mid 1600s and then from the Second World War to the present, Russell Shorto’s masterful biography looks at Amsterdam’s central preoccupations. Just as fin-de-siecle Vienna was the birthplace of psychoanalysis, seventeenth century Amsterdam was the wellspring of liberalism, and today it is still a city that takes individual freedom very seriously. A wonderfully evocative book that takes Amsterdam’s dramatic past and present and populates it with a whole host of colourful characters, Amsterdam is the definitive book on this great city.

Book Description: This is the first ‘biography’ of the city of Amsterdam – in the same vein as Peter Ackroyd’s London. ‘The story of a great city that has shaped the soul of the world. Masterful reporting, vivid history – the past and present are equally alive in this book’ James Gleick, author of The Information: a History, a Theory, a Flood ‘Shorto’s fine portraits of individuals are in the Amsterdam tradition, and he has an Amsterdammer’s feel for this backwater town that remains the world’s laboratory of liberalism’ Financial Times. In this ever-surprising and effortlessly erudite portrait, Russell Shorto traces the idiosyncratic evolution of Amsterdam and examines its role as the font of liberalism. Weaving in his own experiences of his adopted home, he delivers a delightful and intellectually engaging story of the city from the building of the first canals in the 1300s through the brutal struggle for Dutch independence and its golden age as the capital of a vast empire, to its complex present in which its cherished ideals are being questioned anew. ‘An often brilliant – and always enjoyable – investigation of liberalism’s Dutch roots. Shorto is once again revealed as a passionate and persuasive historian of culture and ideas’ Joseph O’Neill, author of Netherland

About the author: Russell Shorto is an American author, historian and journalist, best known for his book on the Dutch origins of New York City, The Island at the  Center of the World.His most recent work, published in October 2013, is Amsterdam: A History of the World’s Most Liberal City, which tells the story of the city from its origins, through its Golden Age, to the present day. On September 8, 2009, Shorto received a Dutch knighthood in the Order of Orange-Nassau for strengthening the relationship between the Netherlands and the United States through his publications and as Director of the John Adams Institute.

Review: This book’s story of how Amsterdam became an ascendant port city leads naturally into accounts of the Dutch East India Company’s thriving global trade and the city’s development of an early stock exchange as an offshoot of its new wealth. There is a chronology of the Netherlands’ rulers and military commanders, such as William the Silent. There is the 80-year-war with Spain, and the burst of growth that followed. Throughout its history, Amsterdam has had to constantly fight off its more powerful neighbors. After the Spanish and Portuguese came the English and the French (in 1806 Napoleon installed his brother Louis as King of Holland) and, in the final occupation, the Nazis. Throughout Shorto’s account we see the Amsterdammers struggling with these invaders and arguing among themselves as to what might be the best way of dealing with them. In addition, they have to deal with the usual social, economic and political problems that everyone has. But as they struggle they steadfastly maintain and defend their notions of religious tolerance, liberal immigration (with 178 nationalities represented, the city was recently named the most ethnically diverse in the world) and intellectual exchange.  The liberal tradition continues unabated to the present. Amsterdam women were among the first to champion sexual freedom, e.g. the story of Aletta Jacobs leading the fight for birth-control devices and women’s suffrage; and Hirsi Ali, a Muslim immigrant from Somalia, who became a member of the Dutch parliament and has led the fight against the sexism of radical Islam. Shorto explains “She insisted that the commitment to reason and individual freedom that Amsterdam had fostered is more vital than ever as a weapon against religious superstition.” By the twentieth century, Shorto notes the rise of unions in Amsterdam. The culture of the city had devolved into a capitalist mecca, but its capitalism had also a “social path”: thus it was incumbent on those who had the means to provide a safety net to protect the less fortunate. In other words, the capitalists joined the commitment to social welfare, a commitment tied to the 17th century when the people who ran things (i.e. who were principals in the VOC) created orphanages, homes for the elderly, and neighborhoods in which rich and poor weren’t segregated. The battle with the sea, Shorto feels, caused people to feel that the land was their own, regardless of their financial achievements. That land was not owned by the church, or the king; it was theirs, by right of the picks and shovels and human labor that had been expended to claim it. Shorto ultimately concludes that Amsterdam, despite its spectacular history, is a relatively “poky” place in today’s era of global expansion. “It is small in population,” he writes. “In terms of geographic area you could tuck the whole of it into a corner of Shanghai or Karachi and it probably wouldn’t be noticed. It has no skyscrapers. But the advantage of a modest skyline is the seemingly limitless horizon.”

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Ramayana : The Game Of Life Book 2 : Shattered Dreams

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About the author: Shubha Vilas, a spiritual seeker and a motivational speaker, holds a degree in engineering and law with specialization in Patent Law. His leadership seminars are popular with top-level management in corporate houses. He also helps individuals deal with modern-life situations by applying the teachings of the Bhagavad Gita, Ramayana and other dharmic traditions.

Blurb: Shattered Dreams is the sequel to the national bestseller, Rise of the Sun Prince, in the new spiritual and motivational series Ramayana – The Game of Life. Twelve joyful years have passed in Ayodhya since the wedding of Rama and Sita at the end of Book 1. Now, in Shattered Dreams, Shubha Vilas narrates the riveting drama of Rama’s exile. Through tales of Rama’s unwavering and enigmatic persona, the book teaches us how to handle reversals positively; through Bharata’s actions, it teaches us to handle temptation; and through Sita’s courage, to explore beyond our comfort zone. This complicated family drama provides deep insights on how human relationships work and how they fail. With Valmiki’s Ramayana as its guiding light, Shattered Dreams deftly entwines poetic beauty from the Kamba Ramayana and Ramacharitramanas, as well as folk philosophy from the Loka Pramana tales, to demonstrate how the ancient epic holds immediate relevance to modern life. Experience the ancient saga of the Ramayana like never before.

Review: “Shattered Dreams” is the second in the series of Ramayana-The Game of Life by Shubha Vilas. This book like the previous version has tales from Valmiki’s Ramayana, the Kamban with dash of folklore which is what makes it worthy of the mythology famished reader. I am not a huge fan of this genre but I don’t mind exploring by reading. The story this time is about Rama’s planned coronation, subsequent banishment to the forest and Bharata’s efforts to bring him back.  The romance part of Rama and Sita is also quite very well depicted. Just like the previous (part one) this story has also been embellished and narrated with a fervour that keeps the reader enthusiastic. The story takes off with Dasharatha’s foreboding of evil which prods him towards a hasty decision to coronate prince Rama to be the ruler of Ayodhya. There is jubilation in the city with this news, the evil Manthara plots scheme to displace Rama as the crown prince and appoint Bharata. This sparks off a chain of proceedings that shape the destiny of many lives and kingdoms thereafter. All the characters in the story Dasaratha, Kausalya, Sumitra, Kaikeyi, Lakshmana, Bharatha, Shatrugna, Urmila, Manthara, Sumanthra, Guha, Anasuya, Vasistha and have innumerable things to teach us. We all have heard and read about Ramayana, but what makes this book different is the detailing and the elucidation which contributes to initial our own viewpoint about the epic. The stories how people earned their names, situations that rose and what made people behave the way they did is what the book presents. The only thing which troubled me, while reading this book are the portions of footnotes and explanations (but they make for excellent reading to understand the fundamental meaning behind each of the stories in the Ramayana) which made me miss the flow of the story.  The same thing happened with me while reading the first part and now it repeated but keeping the interest in the story I tried to cope up with the confusion part and finished the book. I would only advise this for people who are interested in looking at Ramayana as our story. To keep a reader of the modern times hooked to the story like this is not easy.  Many incidents in the story are linked to various life lessons that it is meant to communicate and the author has coherently construed diverse aspects with equivalence and examples. Lessons of five management mantras towards effective leadership, solutions to success, and the six anarthas to conquer make for interesting reading as do the notes on understanding ideal behaviour.

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The Rise of the Setting Sun- Story of an Ordinary Indian

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About the author: Prof. Suvasish Mukhopadhyay is a faculty of Civil Engineering in an Engineering College of Pune. He has more than twenty four years of teaching experience. Writing and love for English literature are his hobbies from which he couldn’t separate himself. Understanding the students’ Psychology and human psychology are his inherent qualities which helped this technical person to author books on self-help genre and motivation. He is associated with big bodies like YASHADA, NITTTR, CWPRS, NCCTC and NWA.  Prof. Mukhopadhyay delivered innumerable lectures to different corporate houses like TCS, MIDC, CMC Ltd and various institutes. He is in the panel of experts of many universities, Government Organizations and private organizations. His books received reviews from eminent journals and news papers. The book entitled Motivating School Kids is a national best seller of VIVA BOOKS.

Blurb: Eight hours a day, 40 hours a week, 2,000 hours a year and top of it a hefty package which will let you pay for that Tissot watches, platinum jewelry, and classy S-class Mercedes but what if it wouldn’t paint a smile on your face and leave you feeling content at the end of the day. Would you like to spend next 25 years of your life doing something that does not excite you? This book is nothing but the candid story of an ordinary engineering student Animesh who is frustrated with the wrong vocation imposed on him by his family. It captures the struggles, tears, emotions, stress, problems and issues faced by the protagonist himself. The book beautifully covers different phases of Animesh’s life from childhood to manhood. Animesh being a scholar placed in a wrong vocation. It talks of Animesh’s quest for teaching and how he dares to take the road less travelled instead of the well – beaten path. In all of this Asmita, the wife of Animesh had to struggle enormously for his stubborn nature. With this book, the author wants to guide the generations to come and awaken the dormant talent within them which is in deep slumber due to lack of counseling.

Review: “The Rise of the Setting Sun” is a story of an ordinary engineering student named Animesh. The book centres on selection of his wrong professional subject, civil engineering, of which he is uncared of. It further talks about the misguidance he gets, his struggle, emotions, stress, tears, fears, insecurities. The joys and happiness of the protagonist comes only at the climax of the story. The life of Animesh is just that of a run of the mill Indian’s life burdened with middle class requirements.  Having nothing to do except to study, Animesh turns into a brilliant student from an academically dire performer. I found this book to be gloomy and large. The first half of the book talks about Animesh’s life which details his kicks and qualms. The language, arrangement in the book gives us a creep glance into the testing and troubles of what a normal person goes through in very usual state of affairs like he experiences. Animesh describes his life as hell with an under the weather mother, who loses her life to dearth, a father wedged working as a clerk with his unfilled desires to join the civil services, and a brother brought up by his maternal family always hanging around as an aggressive thwart to Animesh. Nonetheless, the comfort he finds in books is incredible, that trades in his future making him academically strong. The twist comes in Animesh’s life when he realises that learning is a useless hunt unless the outlay in that guides to a money minting job. That’s how Animesh yields to the charms of engineering without any actual love towards the subject. It is only in the conclusion when finally he receives what he wants – his choice of subject and a quandary with it. The book gives a message of what to do and what not do in your life. Sometimes I felt as if I was reading a self-help book on motivation, but the way the author handled the subject it made it into fiction without making the reader bored. The book covered all the phases of the protagonist’s life from childhood to manhood in an honest and open way.  Easy to read, with many sentiments, I would suggest this book to all readers for an honest heart story.

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Blood Monarch

BLOODMONARCHCOVER (2)Blurb: A king’s duty never ends, even when his kingdom changes. Vladimir Dracula is one of the most famous and misunderstood figures in all of history. One thing is true, he is a king, and he is a vampire. He is the true king and enforcer of the vampire race. Feared by all of his own kind, he is perhaps the most lethal of the Black Dragon God’s mortal born servants. At the same time, he personifies sex. None can resist his charms, save one.  Vax King is the Chosen of Hecate, the Heir of Mjolnir, and has no plans on a mate. When he’s called on to enter Fae lands, he’s surprised to find the legendary vampire there. Looking to aid the beautiful Fae, Anaya, and her soul mate, Galen, Vax must enter a world of sex of violence with only Vlad to accompany him. Here, there can be no denial, no hesitation. Only truth….and dominance. A war is brewing in the Fae lands, as the fallen angels rise to lay claim to the power of their goddess, Verlaine and topple their higher brethren. Older than most, Vlad must accustom himself to having a soul mate, and use all his legendary power to stop the forces of darkness long believed to be controlled by him. A new kingdom is the prize, and none knows better than the famed Dracula that the secret to power lies in the blood.

6449809About the Author: Drako resides in his hometown of St. Louis, Missouri, which you may notice is part of the setting of this series. When he isn’t writing, he’s busy editing for other authors, reviewing books, working, going to college, and spending time with his friends and two nieces. He blogs often and is very active on Facebook while trying to readjust to activity on twitter. His subject matter varies as he likes to talk about more than just his writing. You can check out his posts at his website, drakosden.weebly.com

Author Links: Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/drakosden, Twitter: https://twitter.com/drakosden

 

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Excerpt: It took quite a while, but Anaya managed to lead them to a town that had not been destroyed. Galen suggested they rest for the night, a welcomed suggestion by all. The Fae world was old fashioned in some ways but modern in others. Magic powered the land, giving them amenities such as running water and lights. However their monetary system was still based on gold and silver, leaving it to Anaya and Galen to negotiate and pay for rooms at the inn. They took only two rooms, one for the ladies and one for the men.

“I think we should have made Vlad sleep outside,” Vax muttered to Galen.

“Don’t worry, I don’t plan on doing much sleeping anyway,” Vlad told him.

“I’m going to pretend I don’t know what that means.”

Galen sighed. “So long as he’s not doing it in our room, I don’t much care what or who he does.”

Vlad smirked. “You’re too much of a tight ass, and I don’t mean that in a good way. Besides, why would I use our room unless my friend Vax here has decided to be a little more adventurous?”

Vax scowled. “Gods I hate you.”

“Only because you want me, which is perfectly natural.”

Vax didn’t really have much of a comeback so he flipped him off, prompting the vampire to laugh.

“Anytime you’re ready, I’d be happy to.”

Vax walked away. Galen shook his head at Vlad.

“I’m having trouble deciphering if you’re legitimately interested in the boy or messing around with him because that’s just who you are.”

Vlad shrugged. “I pursue anyone I’m attracted to. He’s an attractive enough male for me to pursue, and it makes it so much more interesting that he won’t give in.”

“So he’s a game to you?” Galen asked.

“Everyone is a game to me,” Vlad answered. “That doesn’t mean I’d hurt him. I don’t make it my business to break hearts if I can avoid it.”

“I’ll never understand you creatures that feed on blood. You all seem to have that in common.”

“It’s not our dietary habits that bind us. You angels simply place yourself above everyone else. The rest of us realize that certain urges are natural and we go with it. I’ve been alive for over ten thousand years. I don’t have the urge to settle down yet. If it ever happens, I’ll deal with it.”

Galen’s eyes grew significantly brighter as he looked at Vlad. “You should probably start adjusting to the idea of settling down, vampire. You will be soon.”

Vlad cocked his head to the side. “I sense energy flowing around you far more strongly. You see my mate?”

Galen’s eyes dimmed. “Yes, I do. Your mate is in this realm. It’s up to you to figure out who it is and how to make it happen.”

Vlad grunted. “Yeah, I’ll get right on it. Meanwhile, maybe you should get to work on your own mate. Poor girl is clearly ready to go to a certain level with you that you won’t go to.”

Galen’s face reddened. “I’m simply being cautious.”

“No, you’re being a little bitch,” Vlad shot back. “You know she is your soul mate. It’s not in dispute. The gods told you she is yours. All you have to do is claim her.”

“I don’t deny she’s my mate. I just…” Galen stopped, lost for words.

“Yep, you’re just being a bitch. That’s what you wanted to say.” Vlad smirked. “Face it, you’ve got to make the move now. Even soul mates don’t wait forever. The gods never said soul mates have to end up together or that they can’t love someone else. Look at your patron.”

Vlad walked off, leaving Galen to his thoughts.

 

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Book Links:

  1. https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/24266788-blood-monarch
  2. https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/506571
  3. http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00ROSEU4I
  4. https://itunes.apple.com/au/book/blood-monarch-dragon-hunters/id955295062?mt=11
  5. http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/blood-monarch-drako/1121005136?ean=2940046494303

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Character Descriptions

Vladimir Dracula

AKA: Vlad, Vlad the Impaler, Dracula

Height: 6’10”

Weight: 315 pounds

Hair: shoulder length, brown

Origin: a human follower of Jarel, the Black Dragon god. He was caught in the crossfire of Jarel’s disagreement with a demon god and the result changed him into one of the first vampires.

More info: contrary to popular belief, he has never sired another vampire. The entire race descends from the married couple, Vacker and Deidre. He has functioned as the final enforcer of the race since its creation. He is lethal in battle, being one of those fortunate enough to have had Jarel’s favor in mortal life first. He is also extremely sexual, with an appeal that draws others to him. He should not be confused with the prince who became known as Vlad the Impaler. He’s far older and earned the name in a far different manner.

Vax

Height: 6’4”

Weight: 220 pounds

Hair: long, red

Origin: a mortal born witch, servant to Hecate, the patron goddess of witches. He was chosen by the goddess himself to wield the legendary hammer Mjolnir to expel Lucifer from the mortal world.

More info: Vax originally had a bit of a self-confidence issue. Because he’s mortal born, he is not used to the strength and power gifted to him by the goddess. He’s a quick learner, and in fact, had a bit of conflict with Vlad in his first story. He’s the first person to resist Vlad’s charm when the vampire is really pouring it on.

Anaya

Height: 5’3”

Hair: long, red

Origin: an orphaned Fae, she comes into contact with Brandon during his mortal life and the two have a son, Theo, who eventually becomes one of the Three Fates. She is actually the daughter of the Fae queen and the very first angel, Apollyon.

More info: Anaya was captured due to her softer and trusting nature in the second book, and the reasons are complicated. Her ties to the father of her child as well as her soul mate, in addition to her parentage, made her a target. But she’s certainly come into her own and is no damsel in distress

 Galen

Height: 6’6”

Weight: 258 pounds

Eyes: blue

Hair: long, black

Origin: a warrior angel created by an ancient goddess, he has only known war and duty and has not adjusted to the idea of having a soul mate

More info: Galen has loyalty that cannot be questioned, even falling from grace to aid in the fall of Lucifer. He’s powerful and ruthless in battle, but unfamiliar with the concept of love. It’s taken him a long time to accept Anaya.

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The Many Lives of Ruby Iyer

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About the author: A near life experience told Laxmi Hariharan to write. She never stopped. Laxmi is the creator of Ruby Iyer, and the Amazon bestselling, eLit Gold winner The Destiny of Shaitan (Bombay Chronicles, 1). She has been a journalist with The Independent and a global marketer with NBCU and MTV. Laxmi also blogs for Huffington Post, among others. London is where she writes. Bombay is what fires her imagination.

Blurb: A YA thriller, with strong dystopian undertones and a kickass protagonist, taking you on a white knuckle ride through a disintegrating Bombay City. A girl desperate to rescue her best friend. A cop willing to do anything to save the city he serves. A delusional doctor bent on annihilation. When Ruby Iyer’s best friend is kidnapped by the despotic Dr Kamini Braganza, she will do anything to rescue him. Anything, including taking the help of the reticent Vikram Roy, a mysterious cop-turned-rogue on a mission to save Bombay. The city needs all the help it can get, and these two are the only thing standing between its total destruction by Dr Braganza’s teen army. As Bombay falls apart around them, will Ruby be able to save her friend and the city? Will she finally discover her place in a city where she has never managed to fit in? And what about her growing feelings for Vikram?

Review: The blurb of the book talks about a young girl, Ruby Iyer, who fights the evils of the world to save her best friend and the city of Bombay, but it is also about the same girl Ruby Iyer fighting her inner conflicts and demons. I liked this book for the background being Bombay ( my second favorite city in India), The city I know not well but well. streets, bus stops, railway stations, malls, five star hotels, skyscrapers and the slums, everything has been described well by Ruby. novel gives you a fresh perspective of the rich and the elite, highlighting the dark side of the sophisticated and posh inhabitants. The city of Bombay gets into the weight of violent destruction, Ruby gets on a mission and finds friend in a scoundrel enforcement officer, Vikram Roy, who has caught her interest on many different levels. The length and nature, the characters have been exaggerated, written in a stereotype method. The story was a page turner, such as from  kidnapping of Ruby’s best friend, to her own association in a terror plot that’s all the more scary because it is the terror within, the darkest appearance of young torment that we can envisage. For me this Young Adult fiction is a worrying genre. It crosses imprecisely shapeless pieces of work, from badly-written trash to some good fantasy. While I appreciate the exceptionality of this story, I also know myself enough to know when a book just isn’t for me.

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Three Faced Coin

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About the author: Bhalindra Singh is a banker turned management consultant turned author. He has completed his B.Com from Punjab University. Post that, he has done his MBA from IIM Indore in 2008. He has also played professional cricket for over 6 years. He is happily married to Aditi and has a daughter, Seerat.

Blurb: “We are moving back to India” Leaving a highly successful corporate career, Zubien convinces his wife Mehak to move back to India where he could concentrate on his long awaited dream of becoming an author. They move to a town near Dehradun chosen for its serenity. However, the house they buy has a history of its own. A few days after moving in, Mehak hears some noise from the attic. And soon, they realize that the noise was only the first of their worries! Zubien and Mehak meet Adeeb and in a chain of events, their anticipation of a tranquil life is shot to pieces! What makes Zubien resort to even shooting Adeeb, a person he has barely known for a few weeks? What secrets has Adeeb been holding with him? Is he the person he says he is? Or is there something more to him than meets the eye? Can one person be at two different places at the same time? Does déjà vu exist?

Review: Unfortunately this book has all the qualities of a bad book. There is careless editing, lack of a hard story and comparatively deprived setting up of the diverse plot points in the story. As the blurb states, the book begins with a relatively well-settled couple Zubien and Mehak deciding to move back to India from the US, with Zubien deciding to author a novel. They settle down in a small sleepy town Welham near Dehradun when their troubles begin. They stumble upon Adeeb, a mysterious man who has made the attic of their neighboring house his home and learn his sad story. A Three Faced Coin lets your mind race exploring endless possibilities but in a boring way (atleast for me). The story has paranormal activities and parallel universes and strange happenings. Zubien and Mehak find themselves in the midst of a full-fledged mystery waiting to be uncovered, but not before they run into the strangest of people and equally mystifying coincidences.  Though I appreciate the author for a relatively unique storyline but I found few things very longwinded and go into needless details such as poker games, cricket matches and gambling. The author completely lost my interest with this which was very unconvincing for me. I wished I could miss this book but I had to read it to know how it ended. Not a must read sort of, can be given a miss.

The book was received as part of Reviewers Programme on The Tales Pensieve.

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