Seeking Redemption by Madhu Vajpayee

cdf0c-sekking2bredemption2bI received Seeking Redemption by Dr. Madhu Vajpayee as a review copy from BookR3vi3ws and would like to thank Debdatta for the same. The book is the story of Dr Meera Mishra, a girl who stands for truth inspite of oppositions.

The Blurb (from Goodreads):

Story of a girl Meera, who is unwittingly drawn into a conflict from where she finds it difficult to emerge unscathed. It’s her journey from being a simple, medical graduate belonging to a middle class family to the uncharted territories of corruption and caste-based politics. Her path is crossed by two men, both compelling yet completely contrasting characters, who are going to change her life forever. If it is Aman Sharma who can challenge her ideals, defy her resolves and make her the person she finally becomes, it is Abhay Bharti’s sublime love which enables her to go through the vicissitudes of life. It’s also the story of her loss as well as triumph against her own demons to find her true self.

The story:

The book starts with an epilogue where Meera is standing outside the court waiting for the proceedings to begin. And then the whole story is in flashback starting from Meera’s convocation.

Meera, the daughter of GK Mishra, a school teacher and Ahalya Mishra, has just completed her MBBS and is preparing for the convocation when she is approached by a senior who wants to befriend her. After much persuasion, she agrees. This boy is Aman Sharma, MD medicine. She stats preparing for her PG exams and does not get through and applies for residency which she does not get because of her friendship with Aman. In comes Abhay Bharti, an IAS officer in the Ministry of Health, who helps her whenever she needs it.

My take:

The author has put a lot of topics in the perspective in the form of this book.The characters are lifelike and somewhere I could feel some of authors experiences coming to the fore. The language is simple and the editing needs more attention. The story is fast paced and the book can be finished in a short span of 2 hours.

Book Source: Bookr3vi3ws

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Spotlight: Michael’s Mystery by Linze Brandon



*** BOOK  TOUR ***
 

It was time for the Lords of the High Council to step in when the Grandmaster of Kryane is accused of murdering his own people. They had little choice but to prevent the collapse of the whole magicians order, so they sent Michael to investigate the allegations.

The people of the desert planet were an enigma, but none more than Andesine, the healer assigned to assist Michael. Why did she report the Grandmaster? Was she involved, or was there something more sinister going on?

The more people they interrogated the more they suspected that nothing was as it seemed. Not the murders, nor the Grandmasters’ motive as everyone thought.

Unable to resist the growing attraction between them, Michael and Andesine learn that they had to trust each other with their own secrets, and risking any future they might have.

Time and again the High Lords had to step in to prevent chaos on Kryane, but time was running out for Michael and Andesine. They had to get a new Grandmaster in place before the Kryane Order collapsed completely. And they had to find the who the true culprit was.

Fortunate to escape an attack from this monster once, they were risking the lives of many others in the process. Before the High Lords could formulate a plan, Michael and Andesine were captured, leaving the High Lords helpless to prevent it.

Kidnapped and imprisoned, Andesine was confronted with the realisation that if they were to survive their ordeal, it was up to her and her long suppressed powers. But as a healer she saved lives, would she be able to destroy the monster before he forces her to unleash her power to destroy the future of mankind?

About the Author:

Teaching herself to read before she went to school, it was the start of her life long love affair with books. Trained as an engineer, Linzé has worked as an export consultant and is presently a project manager. Although she still loves to read, she also enjoys counted stitch embroidery, archery, tai chi, fly fishing, painting, her husband’s medal winning photographs and watching Manchester United play.

She counts both novels and short stories to her publishing credit. Her fourth novel, Waiting for Adrian, is planned for publication early in 2016. Her story, The Vernal Equinox, was a finalist in a sci-fi flash-fiction competition in 2015.

Linzé Brandon lives in Pretoria, South Africa, with her engineer husband and German Shepherds who are convinced that the world revolves only around them.

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Encounters by Sumana Khan

Encounters 
by 
Sumana Khan 
Blurb 
Someone Is Always Waiting 
 
Watch It 
 
EXCERPT FROM THE NOVELETTE “THE STORYTELLER” IN ENCOUNTERS COLLECTION
 
I stare at the cement bench covered in pigeon shit and spot the dim outline of the granite slab embedded in the backrest. Years ago, when the bench was new, the granite slab was a shiny black mirror inscribed with the words ‘Dedicated to the courageous people of Thirukadal’. Four cyclones and many pigeons later, the words have disappeared. The place is so choked with weeds that the bench appears to rest on the thorny plants. Behind me, beyond a muddy track, the Bay of Bengal hisses and sighs in a treacherous language.
I look up at the sky, as if to decode the time. My watch says it is half past seven in the morning, but the sky, clotted with grey clouds, remains secretive. It could be evening as far as the heavens are concerned. A depressing form of rain is assured; the kind that only occurs in this eastern coast of South India—skies that sob continuously for forty-eight hours, increasing humidity, mosquitoes and the stench of choked drains, damp walls and wet clothes. I wonder if the sky had been just as morose on the morning of 26 December, 2004.
I tie a handkerchief around my face, covering my nose and mouth, and hack away at the weeds. Swarms of mosquitoes and flies rise in a static buzz and hover over my head like a satanic dark halo. It takes me an hour to clear a small area around the bench. The sky starts its weeping just as I scrub the bench with a coconut husk and Vim detergent powder.
After half an hour, the granite slab gleams into existence once again. I’ve got my memorial ritual paraphernalia in a Food World plastic bag. I bring out a strand of jasmine that I loop around the granite slab, its fragrance weak in the rain. I crouch under my umbrella that won’t open fully and light a couple of incense sticks. I’ve forgotten to bring the incense holder, so I stick the smouldering incense into a banana that was to be my breakfast. I place it on the bench in front of the granite slab and hold the umbrella over it. I close my eyes in an attempt to pray. All I can think of is the angry allergic rash that’s spreading on my legs and hands thanks to the weeds and that the incense smells like a cheap aftershave.
I give up and sit on the bench, still holding the umbrella over the incense. The rain stings my skin like the rash. The hard, wet seat numbs my thighs instantly and a dull arthritic pain blooms in my knees and lower back. I squirm, shifting my weight from one butt cheek to the other. I wait, just as I’ve waited in vain for the last seven years, for the storyteller to show up. The incense is all ash now. I may as well eat the banana and tell you the story of how I met this mysterious man.
About The Author 
Sumana Khan was born and raised in Bangalore and currently lives in the UK. She is a blogger and a student. Her debut novel was The Revenge of Kaivalya.
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Goodreads Book Giveaway

Encounters - Someone's Always Waiting by Sumana Khan

Encounters – Someone’s Always Waiting

by Sumana Khan

Giveaway ends December 11, 2015.

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at Goodreads.

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Spotlight: Seeking Redemption by Madhu Vajpayee

Book Blurb:

Story of a girl Meera, who is unwittingly drawn into a conflict from where she finds it difficult to emerge unscathed. It’s her journey from being a simple, medical graduate belonging to a middle class family to the uncharted territories of corruption and caste based politics. Her path is crossed by the two men, both compelling yet completely contrasting characters, who are forever going to change her life. If it is Aman who can challenge her ideals and defy her resolves, and makes her the person she finally becomes, it is Abhay’s sublime love which enables her to go through the vicissitudes of life. It’s also the story of her loss as well as triumph against her own demons to find her true self.







Buy a Copy from AmazonAbout the Author:
Dr.Madhu Vajpayee- the writer was born somewhere in those hospital corridors where she has spent the last two decades of her life. Witnessing life at such close quarters pushed her to capture its enigma in her words and slowly it became her passion. After writing several scientific papers and chapters in books, this book is her first step in literary world.
Having done her graduation, MBBS from King Georges Medical University (KGMU), Lucknow she went ahead to pursue her post-graduation, MD from AIIMS, New Delhi. She was a consultant at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi having been associated with management of patients living with HIV/AIDS. She is now settled in Melbourne, Australia with her family, where she is devoting most of her time to writing, the passion that she couldn’t pursue earlier because of the demands of medical profession and commitment it requires.

When not creating stories, Madhu enjoys reading and travelling.Reviews for the Book:

It was a perfect book and can motivate one. ~ Nidhi Author on Goodreads



Wonder full book.Clearly highlights the current problems faced in India as a result of reservation! ~ Nikhil Dave on Goodreads



It is one of the amazing fiction I have read in the near past. Highly recommended. Cocktail of Corruption, politics and love. ~ Akshay_Tripathi on Amazon



What Madhu does well with this story is to highlight many factors that need change. She brings out facets like reservation. She talks about the more rigid mindset of an Indian family ~ Vinay Leo @ Booworm’s Musings

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Spotlight: Shanti and the Magic Mandala by F.T.Carmago

About the Book:









Shanti and the Magic Mandala is an adventure in which fantasy and reality are mingled. The book tells the story of six teenagers, from different religious and cultural origins and different parts of the world, who are mystically recruited to form two groups – one in the Northern Hemisphere, and one in the Southern. They eventually gather in Peru, and through a single alliance, begin a frantic chase for the sacred object that can stop the black magician’s final plan.



Read an Excerpt:



Shanti was the first to smell the smoke. She paused in her frantic packing. “Do you smell something burning?”

“Yes, I do,” Lelê said, worried.

It was getting noticeably hotter in the room. “Look, there’s smoke coming in under the door!” Antônio cried. Black smoke was slowly seeping beneath the door and into the room. Lelê ran to the window.

“The door won’t open,” Shanti said, struggling with the lock.

“Neither will the window.” Lelê was close to tears.

“Let me try, Shanti.” Antônio grasped the doorknob, applying his strength to it. Even as he fought with the lock, the smoke and the heat were rising.”

“They did it. We’re stuck in here,” Helena said, coughing.

Antônio hammered on the wall. “Nasir! Itai! Tadao! Help us!”

“They want to kill us,” Lelê cried, shaking with fear.

Looking intently at Helena, her voice ringing with determination, Shanti declared, “But we’re not going to let them succeed!”

“Get away from the door,” Antônio said, kicking at it.

Hearing Antônio’s call for help, Nasir and Itai had rushed to the door, only to find it locked. Tadao tried the window. “It won’t open,” he said, fearful. “The window’s locked.”

“We can’t get out. What’s happening?” Nasir said, with an edge of panic.

“It’s black magic,” Itai said, trying to help Nasir break down the door.

Just then, an image of the book came into his mind. He ran over to his backpack, still on top of his bed and upended it shaking everything out.

Suddenly there was a loud noise, like an explosion — the door swung open. Flames and gouts of heavy, black smoke poured into the room. The whole hallway was on fire.

Tadao pushed at the window again, but it defied his efforts to open it.

Itai reached for his book. It was illuminated once again. He stood up and held the book with both hands, opening it. A bright light shone forth from the page it had opened on and he saw another name, formed with three Hebrew letters. Seitel, another of the 72 names of God. Itai knew that the Angel Seitel was able to create a protective shield. He closed his eyes, forming an urgent prayer, reaching out to connect with the angel, shutting out the mayhem around him for a few moments. Opening his eyes he gazed at the three letters from right to left for a few more precious seconds. Then he closed the book, replaced everything else in the backpack and hoisted it on his back. He picked up the book, holding it in his right hand. “Grab your backpacks and follow me.”

Nasir stared at him with an expression that clearly showed concern for his sanity “Itai?”

“Follow me,” Itai repeated with certainty.

“What? What do you mean?” Tadao almost shouted.

Nasir took his backpack and positioned himself behind Itai. “May Allah protect us!”

Watching Nasir, Tadao did the same. Itai took the closed book in both hands, pointing it towards the fire, as they approached the door. The book emitted an increasingly intense light. Gradually, a large shield began to form, surrounding the three boys.

“Wow! It’s a light vehicle, a merkaba!” Nasir said, reverently, his gaze locked on the intense white light of the forming shield.

“Incredible!” Tadao said, forming his own silent prayer, Thank you, Lord Buddha.

Steadfastly Itai moved towards the door now engulfed by large flames. He advanced out of the room, into the hallway, the light shield in front of him, and as he moved, he created a clear path, the shield pushing away the flames, heat and smoke. He stopped in front of Shanti’s bedroom door. The wood was charred and blackened and the ancient lock had popped free, leaving the door swinging brokenly. Their friends had crowded at the back of the room, near the window, trying to get away from the thick, choking smoke. “Grab your backpacks! Get behind Nasir and Tadao!” Itai shouted.

“We’re coming!” Antônio said, grabbing his backpack and walking swiftly towards the door.

Lord Ganesha, please open those paths, Shanti prayed, putting all of her faith into the prayer.

Within moments, the three were in place. The light shield began to grow sideways, eventually forming a large cube of light, protecting all of them. They crossed the hall, safe from the flames. As they went down the stairs, they heard the roof collapsing behind them. The reception area had been completely destroyed by fire, but again they passed through the devastation completely shielded from the heat and flames. They reached the door leading to the outside. Itai wasted no time in pulling it open and they poured out of the burning building.

As soon as the last one of them stepped onto the street, the old pension began to collapse, turning into a huge bonfire.

 

 

About the Author:

F. T. Camargo is an Italian Brazilian living in Sao Paulo, Brazil. An award winning architect and author, he also studied Arts and Media and has a post degree in Economics and MBA in e-commerce. He is a vegetarian because of his love for all animals and has been deeply involved in causes for their protection and freedom. He is a world traveler adventurer, outdoor sports lover, speaks 4 languages and has published a travel book “Rio, Maravilha!”

For many years he has been practicing yoga and meditation and studying the Kabbalah. His exploration of spiritual teachings motivated a commitment to self-development which in turn created a new path and goal in life. Shanti and the Magic Mandala was born from his inner journey.


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Awards & Recognition for the Book:

– Winner of 2014 London Book Festival in the category “Young Adult”.

– 2014 Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards: Bronze Medal at “Young Adult Fiction – Spirituality” category

– 2014 New England Book Festival in Boston:  Honorable Mention in the category “Young Adult”.

– Winner of 2015 Paris Book Festival in the category “Young Adult”.

– Winner of 2015 International Book Awards in the category “Fiction / Young Adult”.

– Winner of 2015 New York Book Festival in the category “Young Adult”.

– 2015 Los Angeles Book Festival – Runner-up in the category “Young Adult”.

– 2015 San Francisco Book Festival – Runner-up in the category “Young Adult”.

– 2015 DIY Book Festival in Los Angeles: Honorable Mention in the category “Young Adult”.


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A Thousand Unspoken Words By Paulami Duttagupta

 

A Thousand Unspoken Words 
By 
Paulami Duttagupta 
Publisher: Readomania 

Blurb 

A hero, a person who displays great courage for the greater good, can also fall. But what happens to a fallen hero? A Thousand Unspoken Words is the unique journey of a hero who falls.
The champion of the underdogs, the writer who uses the nom de plume Musafir is famous in Kolkata. His incisive criticism of the injustices around him earn him many enemies but he holds his ideals above all else. Scathing attacks at his books and a night of hide and seek from political goons leads Musafir unto a path he never liked, faraway from his ideals. He runs away and chooses the comforts of money over the travails of following one’s ideals. The hero falls.
But Tilottama, passionate fan’s hopes don’t. When he comes back after many years, emotions, love and lust take charge and an affair brews. Will she bring back her hero? Will he rise again? Or will the thousand untold words, the many stories of the ideal writer be lost forever?
Buy @
 
Excerpt
 
Wahan kaun hai tera, Musafir jaayega kaha’, the retro radio show played the SD Burman classic. Tilottama looked at her radio once and tears blurred her vision.
 
‘O Sachin karta this song reminds me of him.’
Tilotamma quickly wiped her eyes and turned the radio off. The day had been taxing enough. She needed to unwind, get Musafir out of her mind. How crazy could some people get? He had just written a fictional piece. How could fiction humiliate a government in power with an absolute majority? Wasn’t this a democracy? How could the supporters of a faith or political party get all insecure and burn his books?
The object of Tilottama’s despair, Musafir, was a writer supposedly based out of Kolkata. He wrote books at irregular intervals, and hid behind the veil of anonymity. His pieces were mostly social commentaries and satires on the state of Bengal. They were all fictional but had come under severe criticism in the past few months. Little paperbacks in funny covers, his books were available in old, rambling, bookstores across the city. Some were also available with the book vendors on the footpaths of the city.
When the news of the pulping of Musafir’s books had reached her a couple of days ago, Tilottama hadn’t thought things would go beyond a protest or two. The people of the city wouldn’t let go of things without a sign of protest. They got agitated at trivial things like who was included in a cricket team, and burned effigies and tyres in protest. They took out processions for Vietnam and Gaza. They could protest against him; but there would also be scores who would come out for her Musafir. They did when Firaz was hounded for his paintings of Goddesses.
‘And when they come out in large numbers, these goons will realize what it feels like standing before a civil society. They just can’t stifle Musafir’, she had confidently told her friends. What she did not realize was Musafir wasn’t exactly popular with the masses. His works were mostly literary and catered to niche readers. Her admiration for him had made her assume he was more popular than he really was.
Things had happened much faster than expected and spiralled out of control. Musafir’s printing press was vandalized and set on fire. Even as she and other Musafir fans watched, his books were dumped into that raging fire; words and hopes lost. The hundred odd fans tried to put up a bravefight, sang songs of freedom and stood with placards. But nothing worked. A couple of local channels had tried to stand by them in solidarity. The protest ended as a camera was smashed by the hoodlums on the road. People started fleeing fearing more violence.
 
‘They would kill us if they could’, Tilottama angrily spat out. ‘We were just so outnumbered. These were organized cadres. Yes, they were. Their bosses just can’t pretend to be innocent.’
A handful of policemen stood by pretending as if nothing was happening. The printing press was in one of the dingier parts of North Kolkata. It mainly did odd jobs like printing leaflets and bills, a few little magazines etc. and would print Musafir’s books on the sly. That is where he gave shape to his voice. The place was reportedly registered in the name of a man long dead, and people were left guessing who Musafir was. Some said the owner was a refugee who was avenging years of discontent. Some said his son was murdered by members of the ruling party. Some said he was just a frustrated man using the medium to lend himself a voice. To some other the entire idea was amusing and fascinating.
 
Tilottama grimaced and wiped her face clean. She was cutting a very sorry picture indeed, covered in grime andtears. All she could think of was her Musafir. She fought back her tears wondering what could have happened to her hero. For the past couple of years a strong wind of incumbency was blowing and Musafir’s voice had become stronger. Everything came under Musafir’s attack; from Dhaniajhapi to the burning of monks, the ban on English in government run schools, the apathy in the use of computers and much more. However, recently he had become vocal against all forms of religious appeasement and challenged the special religious laws. He had also set the stage against land acquisition bills, mismanaged industrialization plans and pre-election harangues. Musafir wrote as many books as possible bringing the discrepancies to light. And that is what brought about his downfall.
Tilottama sat on her bed and hugged her knees to her chest and went over the events of the day. She bit back the memory of the man who had asked her to let go of her placard, but that face would just not fade. 
 
‘What had he called himself,’ she wondered, ‘Ayushmaan . . .no Riddhimaan.’
 
He was a photographer! How dispassionate could he be?He had watched the carnage, merrily taken snaps and asked her to throw away her placard. If even the press did not come out in support of Musafir, then who would? Weren’t both of them fighting to make the pen immortal? Why was the media silent now; because Musafir didn’t have international backing, or corporate sponsors? She was upset that Poltu had shamelessly praised the man. Riddhimaan and the likes of him would give importance to writers only if they had a South Block or Writers’ Building backing.
 
‘I wish this government goes down. They will go down. I promise you Musafir they will,’ she told herself.
The loud banging of her window pane broke her reverie. The rains had lashed Kolkata with all their fury that evening. 
 
‘Even Mother Nature is angry. Drown the city, drown all of us. Since we have nowhere to go and hide our shame,’ Tilottama said aloud.
 
She continued to rant as she shut the window. She had hurt her finger in the process. Then she walked into her bedroom looking for the first aid box. As she cleaned the cut, the antiseptic made her skin burn and her thoughts drifted to Musafir. There was no way to divert her mind. Maybe reading Musafir would help, or maybe writing. Musafir always said he wrote to look for answers. Maybe she could do that too. But nothing gave her peace; maybe she was obsessed with the writer. The gag on Musafir was beginning to become a personal loss to her.
 
About Paulami Duttagupta 
Paulami DuttaGupta is a novelist and screen writer. She shuttles between Kolkata and Shillong. She has worked as a radio artist, copy writer, journalist and a television analyst at various stages of her life, having been associated with AIR Shillong, The Times of India—Guwahati Shillong Plus, ETV Bangla, The Shillong Times, Akash Bangla and Sony Aath.As an author, her short stories have appeared in various anthologies and literary magazines. A Thousand Unspoken Words is her fourth book. Paulami also writes on politics, social issues and cinema. Her articles have appeared in Swarajya, The Forthright and NElive.
Paulami is associated with cinema and her first film, Ri-Homeland of Uncertainty received the National Award for the Best Khasi Film. Her second film Onaatah—Of the Earth is at post production stage and will release in 2016. She is currently working on her third screenplay. A short film tentatively titled ‘Patjhar’ is also in the pipeline.
Paulami is a complete foodie and is almost obsessed with watching one film every day. She also loves reading—political and social commentaries are her favourite genre. Literature classics and books on cricket are also a part of her library, apart from a huge collection of romances. Jane Austen’s fictional character Mr. Darcy is her lifelong companion. She is an ardent fan of Rahul Dravid and has been following all news about him for almost twenty years now.
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Lost in London by Aditi Chopra

I received Lost in London by Aditi Chopra as a prize for the Tornado Giveaway 2. It is a story set in the London, San Diego, US, France and Italy.

The Blurb (from Goodreads):

Rahul, a young and charming consultant who works in San Diego, California, goes on a business trip to London where he meets beautiful Priya. They feel an instant attraction towards each other; However, Priya being shy and un-trusting, holds back her emotions when Rahul returns to San Diego. Rahul also finds himself getting attracted to Mona, a co-worker in his office. As the story progresses, Rahul is torn between his feelings for Priya as well as Mona.

As we follow the two love stories, we wait for the inevitable reckoning to be made between love and true love. Lost in London is an exploration of finding and recognizing true love.

The story:

Rahul Verma, 32, moved from Mumbai 6 years ago and now works in San Diego. He is sent on a project assignment to London, where he stays as a paying guest of an Indian family, Priya Singh’s family.

Priya, 28, had moved to London from Delhi, five years ago after her parents’ divorce and now works in HSBC as a manager. She and Rahul become friends and a few days before Rahul is to go back, they go sightseeing where she finds that her feels for him go deeper.

Rahul goes back, and starts finding his co-worker, Mona, attractive. He is sent back to London for more meetings and interactions. He realizes that he is also attracted to Priya. So, confused Rahul does not know where he should anchor and the help comes in the form of his ex-girlfriend who is now married and stays in Dubai.

My take:

A nice and simple story. Short and sweet, one that can be completed in a single sitting. I liked the story and the character of Priya. Rahul is a confused soul, but when the author goes into his childhood, I could understand why he was so confused. The places have been described beautifully and I had no problems in visualizing them. A good debut in fiction from an author of Non-fiction.

Book Source: Author as a part of the Tornado giveaway 2