The Night Diary by Veera Hiranandani

unnamed.pngI received the book The Night Diary by Veera Hiranandani as a review copy from the publisher and would like to thank them for the same.

The blurb:

On the eve of her twelfth birthday, Nisha receives a journal —a place to record the thoughts she can never seem to say aloud as she starts to see the world though older eyes.

But it’s not just Nisha who is changing. She doesn’t even recognize her country anymore.

It’s 1947, and India, newly freed from British rule is being divided into two countries: Pakistan and India. Many people are killed crossing borders as tensions among Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, and others flare. Nisha doesn’t know which side she’s supposed to be on or why she has to choose. After losing her mother, who dies giving birth, she can’t imagine losing her homeland, too.

Mama was Muslim, but now she’s gone. Papa is Hindu, and says it’s no longer safe for them to stay in Pakistan. And so Nisha and her family become refuges and embark on a dangerous journey by train and by foot to reach their new home on the other side of the border.

Told through the letters Nisha writes to her mother in her journal, The Night Diary is a story of one of the most dramatic moments in history and of one girl’s search for home, her own identity, and a hopeful future.

My take:

The book has been told in diary format written daily by Nisha, a 12 year old, living in Mirpurkhas in undivided India in 1947. The partition of India is a gruesome aspect of Indian History where there were riots, discrimination and hatred all around.
Nisha, an innocent girl, lives with her twin brother, Amil, their father, grandmother and the cook, Kazi.

An introvert, Nisha enjoys cooking and is very close to the cook. When she comes to know of the partition, she is appalled. She is half Hindu half Muslim and her cook is Muslim. She is confused as to why people would hate each other based on religion and why a country would divide based on a conflict between two people. What ensues is a beautiful tale as Nisha moves across the border with her family leaving behind her cook who is like a father to her and the only home she has known. As she journeys across the border, she learns about her history and realizes her own courage.

The story was poignant and has been told beautifully. Veera Hiranandani masterfully captures one of the bloodiest parts of history. Nisha is a likable protagonist.
She is lost between two worlds and struggles to understand where she belongs. Her unflinching opinions are refreshing and her take on the partition rings true. It was a captivating story and hats off to Veera for narrating history in such an interesting way.

DISCLAIMER: This review has been written by my fourteen year old daughter who is a history buff- bookaholic- aspiring author.

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

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Unexpected love by PG Van

51Jt3w2AZOL.jpgUnexpected love by PG Van is a short, sweet and steamy romance (in the words of the author herself) which can be read in one sitting as an in between read.

The blurb:

A SHORT, SWEET & STEAMY LOVE STORY 

Piya went on a blind date after being set up by her best friend. She almost ran when she realized her date was set up in an adult club.

Rajeev was intrigued by her innocence and wanted to know more about her.
When they meet at a rather unusual place, sparks fly, hearts beat rapidly and they cannot deny the instant attraction.

The story:

Piya Mithra is convinced by her best friend since childhood, Jai, to go on a blind date with the guy he has chosen. She is reluctant and agrees to do so once at Jai’s insistence.

And then…..

My take:

It was short and steamy alright.

The author managed to develop the characters and present them in such a short book. The language is simple and the book is fast paced.

The twist at the end left me surprised.

A word of caution to all readers: the book has adult content.

~ Book Blitz ~ Storm From Taxila by Shreyas Bhave

~ Book Blitz ~
Storm From Taxila by Shreyas Bhave
15th to 17th August
 

About the Book:  

BHARATVARSHA, LAND OF THE ARYAS: 270 BC

Bindusar, the Samrat Chakravartin of all the Aryas, ruler of the Indian subcontinent, is dead. Chaos rules across the empire. The royal succession turns upon intrigue, dark coalitions, violence and death. The realm stands divided and civil war ensues.
In Vidishanagri: Asoka kills his brother’s Ashwamedha stallion and marches to Patliputra with his army. The ancient Brahminical order rises in his supports, awaiting his entry into the capital. Have they made the right choice?
In Taxila: The rightful heir, Sushem, raises an army to meet the challenge posed by his ambitious and gifted brother, Asoka. He prepares to march to the capital and seize the throne by force. Will history repeat itself; will Sushem achieve what his grandfather Chandragupta did 50 years ago?
In Junagarh: Guild Master Hardeo sets out on a private mission to acquire the great salt pans of Sindh. Will he succeed in his secret enterprise?
In Vidishanagri: Radhagupta travels to fulfill the task allotted to him by the Order. Kanakdatta, the Buddhist, stands up to stop him. Will Radhagupta fail in his mission?
The winds of war howl over the sub-continent, blowing every last person one way or the other. Blood will be spilled, secrets revealed and men ruined. History shall be made.
In Book II of the epic Asoka Trilogy, the storm approaches; the harbinger of death and destruction. When the dust finally settles, the great question will be answered: Who is the next Samrat of the holy Lands of the Aryas?


Book Links:

Goodreads * Amazon


 
Read an Excerpt:
 
The cloaked man stood before them, his hands folded, his back straight, looking them in the eye.
Sushem studied the man from head to toe. He looked harmless enough. He was much too old to be a spy or assassin. “You desired a meeting,” he said. “Well, you have one. Now speak.”
“Allow me to say that I am honoured to meet the young lion in person,” the man said, bowing. “I once had the honour of meeting the lion himself, in a similar tent in this same place, fifty years ago.”
The words took some moments to register in Sushem’s mind. When they did, he froze. “You claim to have met my grandfather?” he asked, surprise showing on his face.
“Indeed, My Lord. I met him when he was laying siege to Patliputra, just like you.”
“What is your name?” Sushem asked, sitting down and resting his chin on his clasped palms. This was getting interesting.
“I am one Dasharath, and I represent the Ancient Brahminical Order.” “For what purpose did you meet my grandfather, all those years ago?”
“To help him take the city, My Lord.”
The words of the fable resounded in Sushem’s head: Like a bolt of lightning he came to liberate us. “No one knows how my grandfather captured the city. It remains a mystery.”
“Not known to the common people perhaps,” Dasharath acknowledged. “But I represent the Ancient Brahminical Order.”
Sushem rubbed his chin thoughtfully. The role of the Order in his grandfather’s victory over the Nandas had been well documented by bards and scholars over the years. “So how did you help him take the city?” he asked.
“It was simple.” A smile crept across the lined face. “Patliputra is invincible, but only above ground. Below it is an entirely different story.”
“Is there a hidden way into the city?”
“Aye, My Lord.” There is a tunnel that joins the infamous underground maze of the Patliputra prisons. It starts not too far from where we stand.” “And you say you took my grandfather through that tunnel?”
“I did. I remember it as clearly as if it was yesterday. It was one of the proudest moments of my life.”
Sushem glanced at the Senapati, who wore a dubious expression. Looking back at Dashrath, he asked, “Do you have any proof?”
Dasharath slipped a hand into his cloak and drew out a roll of cloth. He unrolled it slowly, letting it fall to the ground. A small shining circlet of gold remained in his hand.
“The ring…” Sushem said, recognizing it instantly. “It is my grandfather’s fabled ring. He wore it when he captured the city and till the day he died.”
“Do you think this is the true ring, My Lord?” the Senapati asked, inspecting it suspiciously.
Sushem stared at the ring for some time. Then he nodded. “It is,” he said. ‘There is no other like it.” He leaned forward, his grey eyes looking straight into Dasharath’s brown ones. “Why are you telling me all this; showing me this ring?” “The Order wishes to welcome you to the city as it once welcomed your grandfather. We wish to see you take the city and oust the Pretender, your brother, who sits on the throne just as the Nandas once did.”
Sushem took a deep breath. “This tunnel you speak of… can you tell us where it is?”
Dasharath smiled. “I cannot tell you, My Lord, but I can show you.”
About the Author:
Shreyas is a 21 year old guy currently pursuing his B.Tech in Electrical Eng. from VNIT Nagpur. His love for history since his childhood prompted him to write his take on the story of Asoka who was one of the towering figures in the history of India, which has been taken up as ‘The Asoka Trilogy’ by Leadstart Publishing.
The first part of the trilogy called ‘The Prince of Patliputra’ has been published in January 2016 and garnered positive responses.
He is also presently working on several other manuscripts and completing the final year of his engineering Course.
Connect with the Author:

 

Bombay Heights by Adite Banerjie

51Xe1pBidIL._SY346_.jpgBombay Heights is the latest book by Adite Banerjie. A simple sweet romance with believable characters which leaves the reader with a smile is how I would like to sum up this book in one line.

The blurb:

A FEEL-GOOD ROMANTIC COMEDY

Small town girl Sanjana Kale wants a fresh start in Mumbai. A challenging job and some much needed distance from her ludicrously over-protective family could get her life under control.

Forced to team up with video game designer Ashwin Deo, who is too attractive for his own good, she finds life becoming a whole lot more complicated when he turns out to be her new neighbour. How can she maintain a professional distance with this charming troublemaker who believes in getting up close and personal?

To make matters worse, her ex tries to manipulate her loved ones to work his way back into her life. Hysterical siblings, a cantankerous client, an ex who will not take no for an answer, and a blow hot blow cold neighbour… Sanjana is sleepless in the City of Dreams! Can she do what Ashwin dares her to–create a few ripples even if it upsets her family?

The story:

Sanjana Kale, the youngest daughter of Dilip Kale, moved to Mumbai five years ago, from Nagpur, her hometown, after breaking up with her boyfriend, Chetan. She lives in Mumbai with her flat mate Pinky and works as an intern with the most reputed museologist in the Asia Pacific Region. Her aim is to apply for the UCLA Museology program and a recommendation would help her get a scholarship for the very expensive course. She is in touch with her father and sisters daily via skype and telephone.

For the new project, she has to partner with Ashwin Deo, a video game designer, and to make matters worse, he is her neighbor too. He has a cute dog, Dumbass. Their building is known as Bombay Heights.

She is not comfortable with him but, confrontation is not her thing, so she manages. And then there is Chetan, her ex, who wants to reunite.

My take:

Adite has done it again, A beautifully written book, Bombay Heights, has all the ingredients for a beautiful movie. Lovable and relatable characters. Believable story.
Detailed descriptions of scenes.

I loved the characters. The supporting characters, Pinky and even Dumbass have important roles to play in the story. The emotions have been described in detail and the conversations between the characters were believable.

 

~ Book Blitz ~ Storm From Taxila by Shreyas Bhave

~ Book Blitz ~
Storm From Taxila by Shreyas Bhave
15th to 17th August
 

About the Book:  

BHARATVARSHA,
LAND OF THE ARYAS: 270 BC

Bindusar,
the Samrat Chakravartin of all the
Aryas, ruler of the Indian subcontinent, is dead. Chaos rules across the
empire. The royal succession turns upon intrigue, dark coalitions, violence and
death. The realm stands divided and civil war ensues.
In
Vidishanagri: Asoka kills his brother’s Ashwamedha
stallion and marches to Patliputra with his army. The ancient Brahminical order
rises in his supports, awaiting his entry into the capital. Have they made the
right choice?
In
Taxila: The rightful heir, Sushem, raises an army to meet the challenge posed
by his ambitious and gifted brother, Asoka. He prepares to march to the capital
and seize the throne by force. Will history repeat itself; will Sushem achieve
what his grandfather Chandragupta did 50 years ago?
In
Junagarh: Guild Master Hardeo sets out on a private mission to acquire the
great salt pans of Sindh. Will he succeed in his secret enterprise?
In
Vidishanagri: Radhagupta travels to fulfill the task allotted to him by the
Order. Kanakdatta, the Buddhist, stands up to stop him. Will Radhagupta fail in
his mission?
The
winds of war howl over the sub-continent, blowing every last person one way or
the other. Blood will be spilled, secrets revealed and men ruined. History
shall be made.
In
Book II of the epic Asoka Trilogy,
the storm approaches; the harbinger of death and destruction. When the dust finally
settles, the great question will be answered: Who is the next Samrat of the holy Lands of the Aryas?



Book Links:

Goodreads * Amazon


 
Read an Excerpt:
 
Asoka
was sitting on the steps to the throne, fastening his knee-high boots when
Chanakya entered
the chamber in his wheeled chair, dressed not in his usual long robe, but a
cotton undershirt. Asoka did not look up but kept tightening the straps of his
boots with both hands. The burning torches dispelled the darkness that
blanketed everything outside.
As
Chanakya rolled forward, his shadow fell upon the throne. “Why are you in
armour, Prince?” he asked.
“I am
in armour because we are under siege,” Asoka said, finishing his task.
“We
have been under siege for a week,” Chanakya reminded him.
“But
tonight the enemy is hammering at our walls,” Asoka replied, pointing a thumb
over his shoulder.
“The
walls will hold Prince.”
“I do
not doubt that. It is I who cannot hold on any longer.”
Chanakya
wheeled nearer. “What do you mean?”
Asoka
got to his feet. “Order the Captain of the Guards to assemble his reserve force
at the stables.” “But why?” Chanakya asked, perplexed.
Asoka
looked down at him. “I plan to sally out,” he said coolly.
“I beg
your pardon, Prince, but why such a foolhardy action?”
“It is
military slang,” Asoka explained, looking around for his shield, “sallying
out
signifies a foray by the defenders, in the middle of the night, to
carry out a surprise raid on the besieger’s camp.”
“Well
you are not sallying out,” Chanakya said firmly.
“Why
do you say that, Prime Minister?”
“Isn’t
it obvious? It is dangerous!”
“Great
things cannot be achieved without facing danger, Prime Minister. You of all
people should know that.”
“Great
things!” Chanakya laughed mockingly. “What do you plan to achieve by sallying
out
, Prince?”
“Small
things in this case,” Asoka replied, reaching for his scabbard. “We have about
forty horses
in the stables, Prime Minister. I and some of the city guards will ride out
under the cover of night and raid Sushem’s camp. I am certain we will catch his
men totally unawares. If we are lucky, perhaps Maharaja Sushem will fall
to my sword.”
“And
if you are unlucky,” Chanakya said, “you may fall to his.”
Asoka
shrugged as he pulled out his sword and checked its sharp edge by moving a
finger over it. “I am not afraid of dying,” He said.
“You
do not need to do this, Prince,” Chanakya pleaded. “Everything is under
control.”
Asoka
pushed his sword back into the scabbard. “Everything will be under control once
I am done with this raid,” he said softly.
“Your
friend, Shiva of Avanti, comes with your army soon,” Chanakya said, following
Asoka in his chair. “He will attack Sushem from behind and force him to lift
the siege. That is the plan!”
“The
plan!” Asoka stopped and turned around. “Is that your plan? Is that what you
wish the people of Patliputra to say, that they were saved by others while their
leader hid in the palace?” “Even your grandfather, Chandragupta, was not afraid to hide,”
Chanakya said. “He knew that…”
“Stop!”
Asoka said, raising one hand. “Look well, Prime Minister! Look at who stands
before you! I am not my grandfather. I do not look like him. I do not think
like him. Nor do I speak like him. But I am sure about one thing. If he were in
my shoes today, he would do the same as I.”
“You
are making a mistake,” Chanakya told him. “You will regret it later.”
Asoka
sighed. “I regret not doing this on the first day of the siege.”
About the Author:
Shreyas is a 21 year old guy currently pursuing his B.Tech in Electrical Eng. from VNIT Nagpur. His love for history since his childhood prompted him to write his take on the story of Asoka who was one of the towering figures in the history of India, which has been taken up as ‘The Asoka Trilogy’ by Leadstart Publishing.
The first part of the trilogy called ‘The Prince of Patliputra’ has been published in January 2016 and garnered positive responses.
He is also presently working on several other manuscripts and completing the final year of his engineering Course.
Connect with the Author:

 

~ Book Blitz ~ Storm From Taxila by Shreyas Bhave

~ Book Blitz ~
Storm From Taxila by Shreyas Bhave
15th to 17th August
 

About the Book:  

BHARATVARSHA,
LAND OF THE ARYAS: 270 BC

Bindusar,
the Samrat Chakravartin of all the
Aryas, ruler of the Indian subcontinent, is dead. Chaos rules across the
empire. The royal succession turns upon intrigue, dark coalitions, violence and
death. The realm stands divided and civil war ensues.
In
Vidishanagri: Asoka kills his brother’s Ashwamedha
stallion and marches to Patliputra with his army. The ancient Brahminical order
rises in his supports, awaiting his entry into the capital. Have they made the
right choice?
In
Taxila: The rightful heir, Sushem, raises an army to meet the challenge posed
by his ambitious and gifted brother, Asoka. He prepares to march to the capital
and seize the throne by force. Will history repeat itself; will Sushem achieve
what his grandfather Chandragupta did 50 years ago?
In
Junagarh: Guild Master Hardeo sets out on a private mission to acquire the
great salt pans of Sindh. Will he succeed in his secret enterprise?
In
Vidishanagri: Radhagupta travels to fulfill the task allotted to him by the
Order. Kanakdatta, the Buddhist, stands up to stop him. Will Radhagupta fail in
his mission?
The
winds of war howl over the sub-continent, blowing every last person one way or
the other. Blood will be spilled, secrets revealed and men ruined. History
shall be made.
In
Book II of the epic Asoka Trilogy,
the storm approaches; the harbinger of death and destruction. When the dust finally
settles, the great question will be answered: Who is the next Samrat of the holy Lands of the Aryas?



Book Links:

Goodreads * Amazon


 
Read an Excerpt:
 

 

For
many centuries the holy books of the Aryas have preached everything from
eternal unity of one’s own kind to selfless service to one’s family and
society. But aeons after they were written, we still cannot practice what we
preach…
Our
lands lie fragmented, divided by everything from regionalism to tribal
sentiment and the petty selfishness of individual rulers. Our Rajas had fought
over everything from women, to land and pride; so much so that wars with their
neighbours has become a habit. And every time some powerful Arya rises above
these squabbles and seeks to unify our lands, he turns out to be an evil
monster rather than a rightful Samrat. Be it Jarasandha of yore or the
tyrannical Nandas of our times, those who have tried to unify our lands have
It is
not that the learned men of our society have accepted or become resigned to
this state of affairs. They have always attempted to stand against these evil
rulers. Be
it Lord Krishna of a thousand years ago, or I the
humble servitorof my people in these unsettled times.
My
name is Arya Chanakya, though I am known as Kautilya these days. Few are privy
to my past so take heed of what I say; then hold the words sealed within your
breast.
I was
born eight decades ago in the northwest of our subcontinent, where the Land of
the Aryas ends and those of foreigners like the Mlechhas and the Yavanas begin.
For my entire youth I strived for only two things – to accumulate knowledge of
our world; and unite our race as a single entity.
People
considered me foolish and stubborn. The Rajas laughed at my advice and
continued to fight meaningless wars for worthless reasons. For three decades of
my life my efforts were in vain as I tried and failed to instill the virtues of
unity and service in our rulers.
Then,
everything changed. I recognized my mistake. I had been counting on changing
the mindset of our people from within. What I should have realized long before
was that change of such proportions can only be brought about by a powerful
external force.
Fifty years ago, that powerful force arrived at the
boundaries of our Bharat, armed with insurmountable
power.
His name was Alexander, and he came from beyond the seven seas, from the lands
of the Greeks. His objective was simple – to conquer the whole wide world. And
our lands were next – the doorway to the far East.
The
Rajas of the northwest reacted as I had expected. They made deals with this
foreign foe in order to destroy the enemies of their own race. Even Raja Ambhi
of Taxila, did so. Only one man refused to succumb to Alexander. His name was
Puru, the mightiest Raja of the region.
But
even Puru’s might was no match for Alexander’s tactics and deceit. On the banks
of the holy Jhelum, everyone gasped with horror as Puru lost the battle to the
Greeks – everyone except me; I just smiled.
As Alexander spent time consolidating power in the northwest, I
travelled east to the greatest city of the known world – to Patliputra, ruled
by the Nandas. My plan was simple: to ask the Nanda Maharaja to take his army
northwest to defeat the Greeks. The people of the northwest were disgusted by
the unmanly conduct of their Rajas, almost all of whom had surrendered without
a fight. If The Nandas fought and won against the Greeks, the people of the
northwest would accept them as their saviours, thereby uniting the
subcontinent, north and south, east and west.
But my
plan had a serious flaw. While everyone knew the Nandas had the largest
standing army in the world, what few people beyond their borders knew was how they
used it. I discovered that the army was used to terrorize their subjects. The
Nandas were tyrannical kings who ruled with the force of an equally tyrannical
army. I witnessed and experienced their tyranny first hand. I was imprisoned
and tortured by Nanda lieutenants in Patliputra.
But I was rescued by an Ancient Brotherhood that had dwelled in
the tunnels below the city for five centuries. Since its founder, Maharaja
Ajatshatru, had laid down its mission, the brothers of the order had zealously
safeguarded the interests of the Arya race, secretly. They rescued me from
prison and inducted me into their ranks. They bestowed upon me their mission:
To bring down the evil Nandas from their thrones.
About the Author:
Shreyas is a 21 year old guy currently pursuing his B.Tech in Electrical Eng. from VNIT Nagpur. His love for history since his childhood prompted him to write his take on the story of Asoka who was one of the towering figures in the history of India, which has been taken up as ‘The Asoka Trilogy’ by Leadstart Publishing.
The first part of the trilogy called ‘The Prince of Patliputra’ has been published in January 2016 and garnered positive responses.
He is also presently working on several other manuscripts and completing the final year of his engineering Course.
Connect with the Author:

 

 

The Girl With A Secret Crush By Sudha Nair

517lwK5bOHL.jpgThe Girl With A Secret Crush By Sudha Nair is a feel good story by the author which I had recently borrowed from Kindle Unlimited. A short story, the book is only 32 pages long.

The blurb:

Twenty-nine-year-old Malini is single, a cat lover, and a proofreader with a secret crush.

Vikram Mathur is a bestselling author with more than a dozen books and a debilitating problem—the writer’s block.

What Malini wants more than anything is to meet Vikram, but he doesn’t even know she exists.

What if wishes were to come true! Read this short and sweet story to find out.

Will Malini get her heart’s desire?

Will Vikram be able to write his next bestseller?

The story:

Malini S Vaidyanathan, 29, a literature graduate, joined Jayco Publishing fresh out of college as a proof reader. In the eight years that she has worked here, she has proof read 14 books of Vikram Mathur, but has never met him. Even the bad pay and no promotion do not demotivate her. She has a secret crush on the writer as reads and re-reads his books. So one day, when her boss, Sagarika, is on a much deserved vacation, she gets a call from Vikram that he has a major writer’s block and needs to discuss the story problem of his latest book. Sagarika tells Malini to fill in as she is the one who knows his work the best.

But narcissistic, arrogant, cynical Vikram is not like the hero of his books and to top it all, he does not like anything she says.

My take:

A short story with well-developed characters. The story is fast paced, simple and sweet.
The author has described the emotions of the characters in details.

This may be the prequel to a novel in the offing, one can hope.