Shiva by Subhadra Sengupta

Shiva-SDL645723489-1-77c39.jpgI received the book Shiva by Subhadra Sengupta Illustrated by Tapas Guha as a review copy from the publisher Rupa Publications:

The Blurb:

Shiva really is an amazing god. He can become a glowing pillar of pure light and he can also turn himself into a terrible demon. He is beautiful and ugly, kind and terrible, all at the same time!

In this book, read three stories from Shiva’s adventure-filled life. Find out the tale behind the origin of the river Ganga, and what role Shiva had to play in it; how the shivalingam avatar of Shiva came about; and how Shiva destroyed three demons with one arrow. Beautifully retold by Subhadra Sen Gupta and accompanied with Tapas Guha’s magnificent illustrations, this book will be loved by every child.

My take:

The blurb says it all. The book has three short stories of Lord Shiva written an easily understandable language using simple words for children to read. The illustrations are beautiful.

It is one book which would make an ideal gift for children. The book can be read as a read aloud book also.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of the book from the publisher in return for my honest review. I have NOT received any monetary compensation for the same.

 

The Prince’s Stubborn Bride by Devika Fernando

royal-romance-book-2_2_orig.jpgThe Prince’s Stubborn Bride by Devika Fernando is the second book in the Royal Romance Series and can be read as a stand-alone. I received the book as a review copy from the author.

The other books in the series are:

Book 1 – THE PRINCE’S SPECIAL BRIDE (the story of Marie & Christian)

Book 3 – THE PRINCE’S SURPRISE BRIDE (the story of Jessica & Erik)

Book 4 – THE PRINCE’S SECRET BRIDE (the story of Susan & Theo)

Book 5 – THE PRINCE’S SINCERE BRIDE (the story of Selene & Marco)

Book 6 – THE PRINCE’S SEDUCTIVE BRIDE (the story of Miriam & Tarik)

The blurb:

Princess Olivia has just lost her husband. She is all alone in a foreign kingdom in desperate need of a ruler who can make it prosper again. Prince Sebastian is the only one who can help her prevent an uprising – but he has a reputation for being a loner and a rebel. Can she trust him when it seems that everyone else has a hidden agenda?

Prince Sebastian of Visteria once vowed to stay away from all royal obligations, but there’s no way he’ll leave his brother’s young widow in the claws of scheming ministers fighting to bring the monarchy to its downfall and ruin the people’s future. What he hasn’t counted on is the instant attraction sparking between the two of them.

Is a happy ending possible for these two royals who are too blind to realize they’re made for each other?

The story:

Princess Olivia is married to the Crown Prince of Visteria, and three months after the wedding, he husband dies in a car accident. The King and Queen are mere puppets and the elder prince, Sebastian, has given up his rights to the throne. And to top it all, she is being asked to marry Sebastian, as they feel that only a male ruler can save the kingdom. Olivia refuses and so does Sebastian. She takes decisions, Sebastian supports her openly.

What next? Does she get the support of her people? Is she able to rule the kingdom single handedly? Does she succumb to the mutual attraction between her and Sebastian?

Read on……………

My take:

The simple plot has been written beautifully in a simple language with an excellent flow. The characters have been beautifully etched and their feelings have been beautifully described. The scenes have been beautifully described and could be actually visualized. The book is unputdownable from the word go.

Having not read the first book of the series, I did not feel lost one bit. Planning to read the other books of the series soon, the first one as soon as possible and the rest as soon as they are released.

Disclaimer: I received a free e-copy of the book from the author in return for my honest review. I have NOT received any monetary compensation for the same.

A Song of Many Rivers by Ruskin Bond

91kjsRcfkoL.jpgA Song of Many Rivers by Ruskin Bond is a collection of twelve short stories by Ruskin Bond published by Rupa Publications. I received the book from the publisher and would like to thank them for the sam.

The Blurb:

Between the boy and the river was a mountain. The thickly forested mountain hid the river, but I knew it was there and what it looked like…I had heard of it, of the fish in its waters, of its rocks and currents and waterfalls, and it only remained for me to touch the water and know it personally.

The snowy Himalayas, where the Bhagirathi, the Mandakini and so many others arise, the towns and villages that lie by their banks, the legends and stories that are as immortal as these waters, all come alive in A Song of Many Rivers. Prepare to get swept away by the tales and narratives about these beautiful, majestic and beloved rivers in this collection of some of Ruskin Bond’s most compelling river stories.

My take:

The author has narrated stories about rivers and some stories of people living near them. The stories have been written in simple English and are easy to understand.

 

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of the book from the publisher in return for my honest review. I have NOT received any monetary compensation for the same.

My father is a Hero by Nishant Kaushik

415+IkLnZsL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgHow far does a parent go for the wellbeing of a child, to see a smile on his child’s face? Sells his ancestral home? relocates to a new place? Gets the child admitted into a prestigious school? …..

My Father is a Hero by Nishant Kaushik is about a single father Vaibhav and his daughter Nisha. I received this book from Writers Melon for a review.

The blurb:

Vaibhav Kulkarni has had few accomplishments worth boasting about in his modest life and career. Yet, his happy universe lies intact in the love and pride his ten-year-old daughter inspires in him. Nisha Kulkarni justifies every reason to be the favourite child of Pune’s premier school-be it her academic brilliance, her exceptional facility with music, or simply her unassuming charm. With his daughter showing promising signs of a stellar success story, Vaibhav has made peace with own unrequited dreams of the past. But when the girl mysteriously starts losing mojo and spirals into despair and seclusion, Vaibhav faces the toughest test of his life as single father – to reclaim his child’s trust and happiness. What distance will a middle-class man with limited means go to show his daughter the merit in believing in a dream? Read this gripping tale of love, courage, and of the emergence of an ordinary man as an extraordinary hero.

The story:

Thirty five year old Vaibhav Kulkarni is a single father, whose wife, Varsha left him, when their daughter was a baby, for her ambitions. They moved to the suburbs of Pune four years ago after selling his ancestral land in Akola, because he wanted Nisha to study in a good school and also because she had fallen in love with the city.

Now, Nisha is ten, tops in her class, is an excellent singer, the apple of her teachers’ eye and her father’s pride. She idolizes pop star Rihanna. Bali is her friend and the only support she has in her class.

Bhandari is his only friend in the city, the one who helps him and understands him. Vaibhav has a large and pure heart. He works as a systems administrator in an IT Company and is bullied by his colleagues. Even though they belong to middle class, he tries to keep his daughter happy.

On her eleventh birthday, Nisha’s friends come for her birthday party. They have a lot of fun. But on the next day, Nisha starts behaving strangely, her marks are not up to the mark, she does not want to sing, she does not want to attend classes. She even answers her father in monosyllables, and is not the chirpy girl anymore.

Vaibhav wants to bring the smile back and leaves no stone unturned to do so.

My take:

The cover is beautiful, a father and his little girl walking with their backs to us. The characters have been developed well. They are realistic and are like people we meet in our real life. The emotional bond between the father and daughter has been described beautifully. The author has described the struggles a middle class single parent has to go through to keep his child happy within his means and sometimes even more than them. He has also described the feelings of a girl in a school where she is made to feel that she does not belong. Their feelings for each other have been well developed. Even characters like Bhandari, Vaibhav’s friend and Bali, Nisha’s friend have been described well.

The story is nice, about the love between a father and his daughter. How he wants to ensure a smile on her face and how she tries to keep him happy. The story has been narrated well. Language is simple and the book is fast paced. The book made me laugh, it made me cry.

There are no details of Varsha except a few lines here and there, I would have loved it if Varsha and Nisha came face to face. The book ended too soon, the ends were still left to be tied up, like how does he pay off the credit card? What happens to his daughter’s result? What about her friends? What about his job?

It is must read for everyone, parents to understand their kids, children to understand the sacrifices their parents make and teachers to understand their students.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of the book from the Writers Melon in return for my honest review. I have NOT received any monetary compensation for the same.

Operation Superstar by Yamini Pustake Bhalerao

operation_superstar_300_rgb_1482469720_380x570.jpgOperation Superstar by Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a sixty two page book which can be read on the phone using the Juggernaut app.

The Blurb:

Bollywood superstar Junaid Kapoor is in deep trouble. Ex-wife Neha is not happy with the alimony settlement. She is threatening to release photographs of JK with his mystery lover.

The story:

Junaid Kapoor, a Bollywood superstar, approaches Laundry Girl, Indira, a detective because his recently divorced wife Neha wants 200 crore rupees alimony and he wants help. Neha is blackmailing Junaid saying that she has some photographs of his, which she would leak to the social media in case he does not comply with her wish.

So, Laundry girl, whose pet peeve is dealing with Bollywood superstars, gets on the job with Bhavesh, her only partner in crime in the past three years.

My Take:

The book is a quick read and can be finished in one sitting. The descriptions can be picturised like a movie, scene after scene. The language is simple and the story moves pretty fast.  Loved the book.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of the book from the publisher in return for my honest review. I have NOT received any monetary compensation for the same.

Buying linkhttps://www.juggernaut.in/books/fe31e68bf0594d73ab2294381d82f78d

 

Switch E Roo by Kiran Manral

switcheroo_300_rgb_1481105964_270x405.jpgSwitch E Roo by Kiran Manral is a 24 paged book available on Juggernaut Books.

The blurb:

Dimple Bhalla finds a stranger in the mirror. She believes someone has stolen her body and replaced it with another

The story:

Devyani Bhalla, Dimple to her friends, is a mother of two, takes care of her body to maintain its youthfulness.

She gets up one morning, looks at herself in the mirror, only to find her body replaced by a much older person’s body and she gets a shock.

She goes and visits a counsellor, Dr Shahani, only to be told to come back after a week as the session time had ended and think about why she feels it’s not her body.

She examines the events of the previous day and finds…..

My take:

The story is short and revolves around one character, Mrs Bhalla. The descriptions are detailed and could be easily visualized. The plot is different and the language is simple and the story moves fast. The end left me ….

Loved the story, it is a must read and can be finished in fifteen minutes fast.

The best part is that it can be read on the smartphone using the Juggernaut App.

 

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of the book from the publisher in return for my honest review. I have NOT received any monetary compensation for the same.

 

Book buying link:  review: https://www.juggernaut.in/books/d83543d30e724eaf98c48d1c1859841f

Soulless by M.V.Kasi

4582c-11_8_soullessSoulless by M.V.Kasi is the third book in the Matches made in Hell Series. I received the book as a gift from the author.

The blurb:

They say when you take revenge you lose a part of your soul.

But Sia hadn’t felt her soul in a very long time. She only knew the soul-crushing fear and helplessness. Especially during the nights, when she fought an invisible enemy that terrorized her during the nightmares.

Her days weren’t any better either. She spent most of them trying to desperately gain control of her life while battling her various fears and addictions.

She was only twenty three, but she had resigned herself to live the rest of her life that way. Fearing the unknown.

Until it all changed one day.

Now she knew. She knew that the monster from her nightmares was real. And also that her soul had been ripped apart from her.

The memories had brought in fear, rage and pain, along with a strong craving for a swift payback.

But revenge was a dish best served cold. And it required a complete absence of emotion.
So now?

Now she plotted. And she schemed. She prepared herself in every possible way to hunt and destroy her enemy.

But every mission, however well planned can go awry. Sometimes it’s because even though one can be soulless, there is always the heart. A very weak and desperate heart that was being stolen by a man.

A man who was like a bright spark of vivid colors in her otherwise dark and dreary life.
A man…who was only supposed to be collateral damage.

The story:

Sia Sampath was adopted by her aunt when she was nine years old and came to the US. She and her aunt were not close, her aunt being a better boss and a mentor than a caring guardian. Most of the time, she gave her aunt a tough time, changed various schools during childhood. Se had received therapy for her addictions since she was nine and even attempted suicides ever since she was thirteen. She has been having nightmares since her childhood, like ‘there-is-someone-scary-in-my-room’, ‘I-am-dying’.

Despite her addictions, she still managed to get a business degree at a prestigious Ivy League University and interned at the company her aunt had built into a corporation over the years. She had met Anjali in Boston, shared an apartment with her in undergrad school where they had both been business majors and they got along well in their college days.

Eight months ago, twenty three year old Sia came to Hyderabad from Boston to open a branch of Blush Enterprises, her aunt’s company, and looks for Anjali, with whom she lost touch after she went to rehab and Anjali left the country. Now they are working together and have a decent relationship, maintaining a respectable distance.

She goes looking for her teacher in her old school- the only person who believed in her- the only person who made her feel safe- only to find her gone. She still has the nightmares and gets up shouting and sweating. She hates having flashbacks and spends most of her days trying to battle her fears and addictions. Memories brought in fear, rage and pain alongwith a strong craving for a swift payback, so she plots, schemes, and prepares herself to hunt and destroy her enemy.

Dr Patel is her treating doctor, the only person who had seen her at her worst, was responsible for some of her recovery and had helped her get rid of all her addictions when she was 21.  He had given her the option of fighting her demons and that day was the turning point in her life and she came up with her own set of rules and took control of the situation. Even Dr Patel does not know about her personal mission.

Ajay Manthena, 25, a self-made man, an orphan like her, a survivor with no living biological family, grew up in an orphanage before being adopted. His company, Manthena Corp, is growing rapidly. Harsha and Jyotika are his best friends. They know each other since they were 12 when Harsha’s father had adopted him and Jyotika wanted to marry Ajay ever since she was fifteen. He connects well with her and they have the same life aspirations and work well together.

Sia wants someone who was not just defined by what they have achieved, but how they have survived. Ajay fits the bill. She wants her child to inherit these genes from him but does not want the baby to inherit her genes. She meets Ajay, they get on well together, he knows she comes with a baggage and suddenly she leaves him. He decides to marry Jyotika after the rejection.

Moving according to plan, she gets pregnant with Ajay’s child and receives news with dread and relief. Relief, because her plan is working and dread, because she does not know whether she can take care of a baby. She feels guilty for using him. He is sweet, funny, passionate and fearless and brings some normalcy into her life.

She tells him about the baby, when he is on the verge to get engaged to Jyotika. He wants his baby, proposes marriage to her. He wants a formal ceremony, with a wedding album and a wedding video, because wants people who mean a lot to him to see him happy and settled.  And she is marrying for convenience. He threatens her that their marriage would be made in hell.

She wants to explain but she can’t. She wants to become someone nicer. She wants to be normal. She wants normalcy. She craves a soul-mate who would look beyond the damaged person and love her for who she was.

What does she get? Read on……………

My take:

The plot is interesting the characters are well developed. The story is fast paced and moves back and forth between the past and present but not even once did I feel lost. The language flows and so does the story. The book is unputdownable and moves from page to page. The descriptions are detailed and the scenes can be easily visualized.

The ending left me wanting for more, I am looking forward to reading the sequel of this book, ‘Ruthless’.

Disclaimer: I received a free e-copy of the book from the author in return for my honest review. I have NOT received any monetary compensation for the same.

Interview with the author: M.V.Kasi

MV Kasi lives in Hyderabad, India with her husband and son.
 By day, she works for a 60627-mv2bkasisoftware company. By night, she gives in to her fascination to explore the human psychology and the various facets of life in her writing. She has particular fascination with successful people who are not considered ‘normal’ by society’s standards.

Her love for reading has led her to start writing on her own. She likes to add depth to her characters and explore their psychological motivations. Due to the nature of topics and plots, she does not shy away from writing about sexuality or violence. Despite covering some heavy topics, she likes to infuse humor into her writing.

Thank you, Manya for this interview.

You have a regular day job and a more difficult night job. How do you manage both working and writing?

Surprisingly, I don’t find it that difficult to write. Because I’m one of those people who are compulsive planners. 🙂 I have always been that way since my childhood. I always plan ahead for the entire week, setting my other priorities first, and then put away a few hours to do what I enjoy as one of my hobbies—writing.

During the day, I use my free moments to think about the plot, or make notes for my story, or research about something I’m currently writing. And during the weeknights, since I don’t watch much television, I usually have about three hours to spare. I use that time to write.

But no matter what, I write only when I enjoy doing it. And if my mind is not on writing, in spite of all my planning, I do something else.

How did you think of writing books which deal with human psychology?

I think every book deals with human psychology one way or the other. They only vary in level of depths they are explored.

I have always been fascinated by stories where seemingly normal people do some extraordinary things. What made them do that? Why did they choose to do that? Those kinds of questions made me go through several articles to dig deeper into the human psyche.

In two of my books, I’ve written about abuse survivors. One of them had suffered domestic violence and the other of child sexual abuse. And since the survivors’ behavioral patterns are not very obvious, I had to do a lot of research. After my research, I could finally understand their choices and also empathize with them. But if I hadn’t known what I had learnt from the research, I would have judged them along with most other people. That very fact inspired me to put out stories about people who are judged without being given a proper chance to explain.

Is it a difficult genre to write?

As a broader definition of genre, my stories fall under Contemporary Romance. But as a niche, I had unknowingly chosen to write about the underdogs of our society. Bullies, the oppressed, addicts, workaholics, etc. It is challenging to write about them. Because not everyone wants to read about such people or feel that they can’t be redeemed. So as a writer, I need to weave a convincing story to get the readers to understand them, and then actively cheer for them to find their happily ever after.

Have you ever suffered from writer’s block?

Luckily, I haven’t so far. I’m relatively new, and my mind keeps churning out stories and plots faster than I can actually type them. 🙂 And another possible reason might be because I don’t consider myself a writer. I know I don’t have to write. I write because I want to and I absolutely love doing it. I treat it as my hobby. A hobby that I’m currently obsessed with. I know that once I begin to treat it as my job, I might not enjoy doing it as much.

What kinds of books do you read? Who is your favourite author and what is your favourite genre? Has any author influenced your writing?

I mostly read fiction. And in fiction I prefer romance genre that runs through sub genres such as historical, paranormal, sci fi, fantasy, contemporary and thrillers, etc. I can’t name just one author as my favorite because I’m a huge fan of many.

My first introduction to adult fiction was through a book by Sidney Sheldon called If Tomorrow Comes. And my first romance novel was Kingdom of Dreams by Judith McNaught. Since then, I have been an avid reader. These days I read a lot of books written by several indie authors who write amazing stories that are sometimes mind boggling and awe inspiring.

My writing has been inspired by what I liked about the thousands of books I’ve read over the years. But having said that, most of my friends and family members who’ve read my books, have told me that they recognize my voice in my stories. Which thankfully means that I’m staying true to my original self without trying to emulate someone else.

What is the next project that you are working on? When is the next book scheduled for release?

I’m currently working on a book titled Ruthless. It is the second part of the series Soulless. Ruthless provides more insight and the back-story to the lead characters of Soulless, along with a hopefully satisfactory conclusion.

Ruthless is currently scheduled for release in early 2017.

Any word of wisdom for aspiring authors?

I’m not established enough to give out advices. 🙂 But if helps, then I would like to say—don’t be afraid to be true to your heart. If you are passionate about writing something that is not the norm or within the guidelines, you should still go ahead. Always test your boundaries, experiment with new ideas while also being open-minded enough to learn from your mistakes.

 

Social media links of MV Kasi for readers to follow:4582c-11_8_soulless

Author Page URL: http://www.amazon.com/author/mvkasi

Facebook Profile: https://www.facebook.com/mvkasi

Goodreads profile: https://www.goodreads.com/mvkasi

Twitter: author_mvkasi

 

Coming Back Home by Anuradha Prasad

img-20161202-wa0020Coming Back Home by Anuradha Prasad is the second book by the author. I was fortunate enough to have been one of the initial readers and reviewer of both her books.

The blurb:

Arpita is on top of the world! After all she was the fresh face of Ponds India and had snubbed the casting couch of Bollywood to land a Leading role in the small screen’s most popular channel. Life never looked more beautiful!

Riku is a small town man with handsome looks and big-time Bollywood dreams. He has no ethics and is raring to make it at any cost! Unable to bag big movies as a main lead he ends up accepting a romantic role opposite Arpita on small screen. Betrayed by her own innocence, she finds herself abandoned by her dream man and cannot fathom which is more painful? Whether her failed relationship or her vanishing career!

Riku makes it to the dizzying heights of stardom after leaving her.

Beaten and broken Arpita has to make it again to even exist in a ruthless industry that only celebrates success. It is a savage ordeal even to have a roof over her head and two square meals!

What will happen to her now? Will god punish her forever for making one wrong choice? Will she die in poverty alone? Or fulfill the dreams that she had set out for?

One person must trust her to give her a chance. One opportunity must appear to raise her again! Coming Back Home – will carry you through a roller – coaster ride, yet keep you well grounded for inspiration.

The story:

A small town girl meets a small town boy on the sets of a television in Film City Goregaon Mumbai.

Arpita, the daughter of a middle class family, is the winner of a beauty paegent in her city and has bagged a role in as a lead in a television serial.

Raghu belongs to a business family in Punjab. He wants to become and actor and his parents allow him to come to Mumbai because of Tinu, his friend, an assistant director with a production house. He does not have a place to stay in Mumbai and he lives with four other people in a chawl opposite at Dhobitalao. Tinu calls him for a role and Raghu becomes Riku Sharma.

They meet, she falls in love with him and he uses her. He dumps her and she loses everything, her home, her career and is back in a rented home.

What happens next…….

My take:

I loved her first book and I loved this one too.

The characters have been developed beautifully and are very realistic. Many of us have met an Arpita or a Raghu in our life. The plot is simple and has been written in a language which is easy to understand and the flow is such that the book is unputdownable. I finished it in three sittings flat. And to tell you the truth have read some portions of the book twice.

The descriptions are detailed that I could easily visualize the scenes, especially Arpita’s house and also the scene when Raghu comes masked.

Though it is a rags to riches story but I felt that there is a lesson to learn in the story, that we have something in us which would come up when the need arises. This story also teaches us to stay grounded to our roots.

 

The Perfect Murder by Ruskin Bond

51KG1LCYAtL.jpgI received The Perfect murder and other stories by Ruskin Bond as a review copy from the publisher, Rupa publications and I would like to them for the same. The book is a collection of eight stories by famous authors like Arthur Conan Doyle, Wilkie Collins, WW Jacobs and Edgar Allan Poe. There is one by Ruskin Bond.

The blurb:

In that dim corner of the cafe was planned the perfect murder. Paul had long since realized that the affair was not so easy of accomplishment as he had so airily suggested. For the thing must be done without violence, without clues, without trace.

Is the perfect murder ever possible? Find out, in this collection of stories where plenty of mysterious and strange crimes occur. Featuring some of the best writers of this genre, from Arthur Conan Doyle and Wilkie Collins to Edgar Allen Poe and Ruskin Bond, these stories will keep the reader hooked as they try to guess the motives, alibis and identity of the murderer. Baffling and exciting, this book is for those who enjoy pitting brains against some of the most accomplished writers of mystery stories.

My take:

The book is ideal one to be read on a cold winter afternoon with a big mug of coffee.

Thank you Rupa for making us revisit the stories.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of the book from the publisher in return for my honest review. I have NOT received any monetary compensation for the same.