Sunday, 31 December 2017

Crumbs On The Stairs

This is a cute picture book by Karl. I have zero knowledge of Spanish. This story helped me learn a few Spanish words. Being an Indian, my kids loved the illustrations and of course the new words in a new language.

The plot revolves around the mystery of crumbs on the stairs and everywhere. For further details please do read the story.

Yes the writing is simple. And as a non-spanish speaker I loved the illustrations, the way the translation helped in my understanding. Like I said, my children loved it too. Spanish is neither our mother tongue nor the language we speak. The writings in this book definitely piqued our interest in the language and I will soon be probably enrolling myself for a 'Learn Spanish' course. The images are vibrant and I loved the way the pictures could 'speak out' to the reader.

The real protagonist of the story is the storyline itself. The characters and illustrations perfectly execute the same.

To sum up, this story is a must read for those who want to get a glimpse of the spanish language and for children to learn the art of being selfless through a short whodunit kind story.

P.S - Thank you Karl for yet another excellent story with amazing illustrations. This review is my honest opinion after reading the story.

Saturday, 30 December 2017

Shorts: Once Lost Lords

Once Lost Lords (Royal Scales Book 1) an Urban Fantasy book. The word count is approximately 106k.

  • Publication Date: January 12, 2016

Synopsis: 

Humanity hasn’t been alone for almost two thousand years. Elves, wolves, vampires, all joined together with mankind to eradicate the ‘darker’ races and maintained a tentative peace until modern times. Society adapted, everyone has rules that help keep the peace in this modern era. Yet, absolute genocide is impossible when talking about creatures beyond the pale. Some hid, some buried, other were re-purposed.

Some, like Jay Fields, pass for human with a little bit extra. His abilities didn’t belong to one of the major races, but any information was buried along with the long dead boogie men. All Jay cared about was those closest to him and a job that let him hit people. He used to be a bouncer at a bar, a part-time enforcer for a loan shark, and even a fight club champion. That was four years ago, before betrayal by someone close sent him packing.

Now he’s back and trying to recover a life he left behind. Questions of origin aren’t his only problems. His ex-girlfriend is a vampire. His part-time boss doesn’t think he’s up to snuff anymore. There’s a missing elf who might have some answers, and Jay’s best friend is caught up in something dangerous…

Links to book related/author related sites:

My personal blog - https://frustratedego.com/ - first 3 chapters of Once Lost Lords available here if you want to read a sample

Polar Bear Bowler

A cute and yet another amazing story by master crafter Karl. This is a picture book eithout sny words. It means no dialogue, no descriptions and beautiful illustrations.

This story is about a polar bear, his serendipity with penguins and bowling. You need to pick up this book to get into the interesting world of the protagonist.

After reading this story without words I realised that there was indeed truth in the old adage that a picture is worth more than a thousand words. Yes, this wordless story could be understood so much better. While turning the pages I realised that my mind was narrating a story alongside. The auditory imageries made me read effortlessly.  I wish this too gets remade into an animation.

The characters in this story are easily identifiable and for the who, how and where, you need to read the story. This story is about meeting new people, making friends, breaking the ice and learning to accept changes.

To sum up, a must-see-through story that is excellently illustrated and amazingly executed. The plot is child friendly and caters to every Peter Pan, the storyline has an underlying message and the narration is flawless. This is a picture book that you can spend hours skimming through.

P.S - Thank you Karl for yet another heart touching, amazing and excellent story. This review is my honest opinion after reading your story.

Shorts: Wicked Truths

Wicked Truths is a young adult paranormal adventure of about 100 pages. A synopsis of the book follows.

Synopsis
Death seems to follow seventeen year old Sadie Sanders everywhere she goes–literally. As a mediator to the dead, she must constantly face fighting demons and the occasional angry dead girl.
After a dangerous and almost deadly first year in Salem, Sadie's parents decided to send her away for the summer to visit her Aunt Morgan in the small town of Nicholasville, Kentucky. After uncovering a murder hidden for centuries, she embarked on a deadly mission to solve the crime while trying to enjoy her summer vacation.
Now back in Salem, Sadie has found another hidden secret in the wicked town. Secret underground tunnels are hidden under the streets of Salem, beckoning to those with wicked souls. When Sadie encounters a ghost named Laura roaming the streets of Salem, she and her friends Noah and Lucy must uncover the clues leading to Laura's death, which is made even more complicated by the fact that Laura has no memory about her life or death. To make matters worse, Sadie must also track down the person who has been sending her threatening messages in an effort to stop her mission for justice.
In Wicked Truths, the third instalment of the Wicked Cries series, Sadie learns that some secrets are meant to stay dead, for the truth, once it has been uncovered, may be wickeder than she could have ever imagined.

P.S - Synopsis courtesy EMSA Publishing

Friday, 29 December 2017

Human: Finding Myself In The Autism Spectrum

Some writings are so powerful that it is a shame to actually rate them. This book is worth more than 10 stars. 

Human is a real-life narration by the writer about his life as a sufferer of autism. The story is about the problems faced, the ordeals faced, his support system and of course, his journey of self discovery.

Hats off to Warren for writing straight from his heart. His narration is flawless. I know, there are few technical terms but I had no problem in understanding since I am trained in Psychology. Coming back to Warren's writing style, every description can easily be comprehended. He has written about his pain, his sufferings, his inspiration, his life journey. And this is not at all easy. Writing a memoir is difficult because of the emotions of the writer involved in it. And for a person going through such a challenging experience, writing about it is even more difficult. It takes a lot of courage to come out in the open and express this way.

The writing is all about facing challenges that life throws. The story teaches that if life throws lemons at you, make lemonade with it.  To be honest, I am actually short of words. I have read this story at least four times by now. Every time that I have read, I was compelled to put myself into the protagonist's shoes. Would I have emerged stronger like the hero? Would I have had such clarity of thought? Would I have coped up the way the writer did? Some questions to which I am unsure of my answers.

To sum up, this book is a definite must read for everybody. Life can throw up shocks but what really matters is facing them with a smile. An amazingly excellent or excellently amazing book, this is a one-of-a-kind straight from the heart story that gives a peek into the life of a person suffering from autism.

P.S - Thank you Booklover Catlady Publicity for giving me a story that would inspire me for life. This review is my honest opinion after reading the book.

Cover Reveal: The Vengeance Of Indra

~ Cover Reveal ~
The Vengeance of Indra 
(Vikramaditya Veergatha #3)
by Shatrujeet Nath


VENGEANCE IS A CAGE
FORGIVENESS IS FREEDOM

In their greed to possess the deadly Halahala, the devas and the asuras have employed every dirty trick against Vikramaditya and his Council of Nine. But the humans are still standing, bloodied but unbowed.
When the wily Shukracharya discovers the secret to breaking the Council’s strength and unity, he forges an unlikely alliance with his arch-enemy, Indra, to set a deceitful plan in motion.
As cracks emerge between the councilors and their king, ghosts from the past threaten to ruin Vikramaditya and Kalidasa’s friendship, signaling the beginning of an eclipse that will cast a long shadow over all that Vikramaditya holds dear. And into this shadow steps Indra, bearing an old grudge — and a devastating new weapon.
How much longer before the Guardians of the Halahala finally fall apart?

Other Books in the Series:
 
(Click on the Covers for more details)

About the Author:
Shatrujeet Nath is the creator of the runaway national bestseller series Vikramaditya Veergatha, a four-book mytho-fantasy arc which includes The Guardians of the Halahala, The Conspiracy at Meru and The Vengeance of Indra. Described as “a new face to Indian mythology” by DNA, Shatrujeet writes for movies and web shows as well. He is also the author of The Karachi Deception, an Indo-Pak spy thriller.



Wednesday, 27 December 2017

An Excerpt: Lean In To Relationships

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


Anecdote

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

———————-

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


About the Author 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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






Tuesday, 26 December 2017

The Best Dark Rain

Some stories leave you thinking long after you have read them. The Best Dark Rain is one such book. This post apocalyptic story brings out a tiny ray of hope that is hidden within. I know I sound crazy but then the truth is this story actually didnot turn out the way I expected.

I am not a fan of zombie stories or any other post apocalypse genre. Inspite of that this story made me cast aside my stereotypical thoughts with regards to such stories. Yes, there are zombies, the world is facing an era pist apocalypse. However, what sets tjis story apart from others in this genre is the storyline. Trust me when I say this, do read this book because the story is so different.

Marco has a unique style of writing. If I say that his writings shatter stereotypes then I will not be wrong in saying so. I must also compliment the narration. It is fast paced, smooth and definitely keeps the reader engaged. Every scene triggers off an imagery and I do wish this story gets converted into a motion picture so that it has a wider reach. And though I do not watch such movies due to the obvious fear of nightmares, this story would be an exception.

The protagonists have been well crafted snd the other characters amply justify their existence in this story. What is appealing is the fact that the story characters are as real as possible. The humans resemble people alive in the present world.

To sum up, this story is a must read. Please read it for the way the storyline flows, for the different treatment. This story celebrates love and friendship in a very different scenario. After reading thd story in one sitting I real8sed that these two universal bonds can exist in any situation. Also, when hope is given importance things turn out for the good. No wonder then that this is an excellently amazing or amazingly excellent story.

P.S - Thank you Marco for a story that changed my perspective. Rains wash away pain, help healing and mark a new beginning. The Best Dark Rain marks a new beginning. Maybe there will be a sequel!!! This review is my honest opinion after reading the story.

Mama Graciela's Secret

This is a story for kids and adults alike. It is a short picture story that can be finished in one reading.

The story revolves around a lady, her secret recipe for making fritos and her love for cats. What happens in the story is something you need the book to find out.

The writing is simple with a rustic flavour. The narrative is continuous  and has no breaks. Mayra's writing helps trigger imageries and wherever it is difficult to comprehend a colloquial word the illustrations help understanding.

The story has one main protagonist and an important group - 1000 cats. What endears a reader is the fact that she is an ardent animal lover, kind and generous, and is willing to do choose them above anything else.

One hitch I found was the fact that with so many cats around, her shanty still sold eatables. There was no mention of how hygiene was being maintained at her eatery while she prepared her eats. This being a children's book, had the onus of teaching the little readers the importance of hygienic preparation of food alongside love fod animals.  Thats the reason I had to reduce two stars. In fact, when I narrated this story to my daughters, my younger child asked me how come nobody complained of contaminated food. I seriously had no immediate answer.

To sum up, the story is worth a read, especially the illustrations. They are very attractive. Its like playing Where are the Cats. The story is really likeable and good for kids and adults alike.

P.S - Thank you B00kr3vi3w Tours for a good story. This review is my honest opinoin after reading the story.

Monday, 25 December 2017

Curva Peligrosa

I had loved Lily's first book Fling! because it inspired me to do something special for my mother. And I must admit, getting to know Curva helped me to get to know a person I have been neglecting for long - Myself.

The plot revolves around the vivacious, carefree yet mysterious Mexican woman Curva. She is a midwife, a potion brewer, a mother, a friend, a lover, but above all, she is a woman who has not forgotten her individuality. She has her own identity inspite of the multiple roles she essays. In today's world, we humans are so busy in pursuit of happiness in the form of success, money, career etc., that we have almost forgotten that happiness is within us. In order to be a part of the rat race, majority have started emulating others overlooking the 'real me' within themselves. This is what I felt was the subtle theme throughout the story.

Lily never ceases to amaze me. An awesome writing style that succeeds in conveying exact emotions that every character is undergoing in the chapter. The narration is smooth without jerks. The imageries are vibrant exactly like the protagonist. I honestly hope this story gets converted into a motion picture or a serial so that more and more people around the world can get inspired.

The characters are interesting but nobody can surpass Curva. She is strong, independent, has a mind of her own and is not perfect. Her imperfections make it easier to identify her with people in real life. And this is what makes Curva stand out amongst many of the protagonists I have read about. She has an aura about her that attracts people towards her but at the same time her magic makes people think twice.

To sum up, I loved this awesomely excellent story and more importantly Curva Peligrosa herself. I read this story twice and I am sure every time I am in need of a bit of inspiration, this will be my Go-To book. If you as a reader wish to reconnect with your inner self and are in search of inspiration, I am sure Curva Peligrosa would motivate you. This quirky story is a definite must read.

P.S - Lily is one author whose writings you should never miss. Each story is different, inspirational and very real. Loved it Lily. This is my honest opinion after reading it.

Sunday, 10 December 2017

40 Tips On Creative Writing

Dan's writings have always come into my life at a time when I was badly in need of an inspiration. Be it his first, Pieces Like Pottery or this one.

The book is a guide for every writer as well as those aspiring to write. What sets this book apart is the style of writing. There is a personal touch in every tip given. And, the tips, if followed to the T, would help improve not just the writing but life as well. For the what, how and why, you need to read the book.

Dan's writings have the power to make you think. The language is really simple but the meaning that every sentence conveys has a lot of depth. These 40 tips for creative writing can be taken for the writing process per se as well as for living life in a different manner as well. The tips help rake the reader's brain and mould him/ her to think divergently. Every chapter title is a life principle to live by if I may say so. Kudos to Dan for his amazing style. The writing takes the reader through a journey of introspection and healing. It makes one travel on the road to self-discovery and empowerment. This book is like a key to unlock your inner potential. The writing is not at all preachy. It is neither a book of Dos and Don'ts that are generally the flavour of such genre. The book aims to help out writers of books and lives to rediscover their passion.

Like I said, Dan's books have come into my life at a time when I lost my sense of purpose. His first book was a mirror that took me into my past and helped me heal. This book is a mirror that helped me look into my life and realise there is so much more to it. And not every book has the power to do so. Yes, though I read this book in one session, I had to read it again after a gap of few days. It was because I wanted to see if the second reading gave me a new perspective. True to my thought, it sure it.

To sum up, this amazingly excellent piece of writing is a definite must read for those writers who are facing a writer's block or are starting their journey into the world of writing. This is one of my recent reads that I am going to add to my personal library.

P.S - Thank you Dan for your set of tips that sure are going to stay with me for life. This review is my honest opinion after reading the book.

Thursday, 7 December 2017

A Certain Connection

This is a story for all romantics and believers of love.

The plot revolves around a woman and a man, the magic that sparks between them and what happens thereafter. Sounds like a quintessential love story right? Wrong. There are twists and turns which you will get to know when you read this story.

Zoey's writing has an ability to reach out and appeal to a person's heart. What I felt overshadowed an otherwise beautiful story was an overdose of physical interactions between the protagonists. Some places, the subtle element of romance got brushed aside. Also, I felt, again a personal opinion, that the ending was a bit rushed up. If there could have been a bit more details towards the end, the story's momentum would have continued. The narration was absolutely smooth with limited jerks due to scenes which could have been cut down a bit. I must admit, the imageries conjured up by my brain while I was reading were pretty vivid. And, this story has all the potential to become a movie that can be watched by fans of romance like me.

The characterisation was brilliant. In fact Zoey had paid attention to every single detail. I never felt any character was unwanted. However, I wish I could have read more about the emotional upheavals the protagonists went through more than their physical interactions.

To sum up, the story is really likeable and worth reading, especially if your genre is romance. The book does have lot of mature content so those of you who are not very comfortable with such scenes can easily skip them. It is the regular love story narrated with a difference and that is where Zoey succeeds in establishing 'A Certain Connection' with the readers.

P.S - A beautiful story well crafted, this romance would connect with all those who believe in the magic of love and love stories. This review is my honest opinion after reading the story.