Book Review ~ Queen of Mahishmathi by Anand Neelakantan



Queen of Mahishmathi
(Baahubali: Before the Beginning Book 3)

Anand Neelakantan
Format: Paperback
Publisher : Westland
ISBN-10 : 9389648726
ISBN-13 : 978-9389648720


Sivagami’s missteps have only deepened her determination to fulfil her father’s wish and stop the despicable activities at Gauriparvat. And so she battles on. Unknown to her, however, Maharaja Somadeva’s challengers have begun to close in on the king, and Sivagami finds herself suddenly at a disadvantage. With a player like Somadeva, though, the biggest mistake you can make is to not immediately checkmate and destroy. The game of chaturanga is not quite over.

As Sivagami takes on the kingdom’s enemies, guided by Somadeva, she finds in her own manoeuvres an echo of the man she has always detested. In her journey to becoming the queen of Mahishmathi, Sivagami must choose between love and ambition, principles and deviousness, selflessness and envy. What does she hold on to, what does she let go? A thrilling, breathless read, Queen of Mahishmathi is the third and final book in the Bāhubali: Before the Beginning series.


Have you ever encountered hairpin bends? Wondered how it would feel to be hanging from a cliff overhanging a gorge deep? If so, you will know what I mean when I say that this book is in every aspect a thriller that will see you on the edge of your seat. While the twists are sharp and sudden, the turns will see your eyes pop out in wonder.

Out on a mission noble, Sivagami the daughter of Bhoomipathi Devaraya who was a genius wrongly coined a traitor, finds herself torn between conflicting emotions, and adopting ways devious to fulfill her goal. The journey a tough one, sees her wade through the murky waters of palace politics with just her wit and determination to guide her. Stumbling, falling, and rising up she continues on the arduous ‘trek’ only to find new and more challenging obstacles block her way. Will she continue on the path she has set out on, or will she buckle under pressure?…Join Sivagami on her action packed journey in Anand Neelakantan’s Queen of Mahishmathi (Baahubali: Before the Beginning Book 3).

While the plot is interesting, the narrative is riveting leaving the reader in me looking forward for more. The imagery drawn up by the author is powerful enough to conjure up the scenes, the actions, and the characters right before one’s eyes. The cast of characters, a good measure, are well-developed and dexterously woven into the story.

Key Takeaways From The Story

 Inequality lights the fire of indignation which in turn is a ticking time bomb. If not addressed on time this ticking time bomb will cause havoc untold, havoc from whose ruins it is difficult if not impossible, to salvage the remnants and rebuild life once again.

 Never undermine your opponent. Even the ‘weakest link’ on the other side can turn the tide against you if he or she decides.

 Loyalty cannot be bought.

 Wars are not won by weapons and men alone. Wars are won by wit, determination, and long-term vision which entails provision for dealing with failures and turning the unexpected to one’s favour. To win a war Strategists, Planners, and Executors need to work in tandem

My Favourite Quotes From The Book

 “…The power of civilization is not in some obscure sacred texts or in the croaking of priests. It is in the power of knowledge, in the power of science and technology. ……”

 “…if you want your country to be truly great, believe in knowledge and not in the accident of birth.”


A wonderful read that will see you sail through page after page without a hitch ( read break).


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This review is a part of the Writersmelon Book Reviewing Programme . The thoughts, opinions & feelings expressed in the review are my own and have not been influenced by either the author or the publishing house in any manner

Jataka Tales ~A Reimagination – Editor Bijit Sinha




Reina Sagar, Asmee Dewan, Jayaditya Gupta
Shaarav Jhamb, Pragnya Gupta, Liubov Gorejko
Syona Brar, Lalit Kohli, Anika Malhotra
Jonathan Munluo, Lavanya Sharma, Bijit Sinha

Format: Kindle Edition
Publisher : Half Baked Beans


A weekend scriptwriting assignment for 5th Graders of The Ardee School, Gurugram sees four Jataka Tales re-imagined by eleven young creative minds, to produce a theatre book that is in every sense a reader’s delight. All four stories have one common element i.e. the Bodhisatta (Buddha before attaining enlightenment). People familiar with the Jataka Tales which is native to India, know it as a voluminous literature that has at its core stories involving the previous birth cycles of Gautama Buddha in both human and animal form. However, in whichever form he may be, he exhibits a virtue worth emulating.

Coming to the four stories re-imagined and presented by the young minds of The Ardee School, Gurugram it is interesting to note that in each of them there is this element of rejection albeit in different forms followed by the acceptance that leads to enlightenment for those around the rejected. Presented in fluid style these stories are not only a source of inspiration but a message to the world at large that what meets the eye may not always be the truth. The truth may be veiled waiting for the right time and the right place, and sometimes to understand it one may have to spend a lifetime. Packed with interesting twists and turns and in some cases, nail-biting action, the Jataka Tales edited by Bijit Sinha offers the readers food for thought. Characterization which is an integral part of any play/ story has been taken care of perfectly in each of these four stories making them ready for successful enactment on stage. While ‘The Bodhisatta and the Master Mariner’ sees a blind son being rejected only to make an appearance years later to make his parents proud and pave the way for the prosperity of his province and those surrounding it, ‘ The Bodhisatta and the Garuda King’ reveals the power of intelligence and how it can make even the seemingly weak win over an opponent without raising a hand.

‘The Bodhisatta and Prince Samvara’ is a tale of a prophecy gone wrong as a result of which a prince has to face rejection from his father throughout his life. However, time and tide take a mysterious turn, and what follows is a tale with a climax that I’m sure you would not have seen coming.

The fourth and final story in the book i.e. ‘The Bodhisatta and the Principal Blacksmith’ is a tale that touched my heart. Though the tale starts like any ordinary tale with a child being blamed for the death of his mother and having to face rejection from the only one he can call his dear and near, it slowly but steadily reveals a tale that is not only intriguing but touching too. Here again one comes face-to-face with the fact that outward appearances can be deceptive and that what meets the eye may not be true. It is also a tale of a son reclaiming his father’s honour.


Tales for all ages meant to regale the reader along with providing food for thought.


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This review is a part of the Half Baked Beans (HBB) Book Reviewing Programme . The thoughts, opinions & feelings expressed in the review are my own and have not been influenced by either the author or the publishing house in any manner

Book Review ~ Wild Card 3 : Never say Never by Asfiya Rahman





A story of grit and determination weaved in a fabric that seems fragile ‘Wild Card 3’ sees family relationships subjected to the test of time, doubt cloud faith, and the rebellious nature generally associated with adolescence find a voice. Protected since birth, Roshni Mehrotra, daughter of tennis champion Karan Mehrotra enters the portals of higher education believing that life there too would be a roller coaster ride like at school only to be disillusioned before long. However, the gritty one that she is, she is far from calling it quits. Instead, once the initial phase of exasperation wears off Roshni takes hold of herself, her emotions, and her life. There are only two things that stand between Roshni and her dreams – her wheelchair and an over-protective guardian, her dad Karan Mehrotra. Will Roshni be able to live her dreams, or will she wilt under the pressure of her disability?…Wild Card 3 is a battle between emotions and aspirations. Ultimately who wins is the big question.

Narrated in fluid language, Wild Card 3 is a short and sweet read. It is a fine sketch of a bundle of conflicting emotions that every teenager experiences at some point or the other in those years when both their physical and mental state undergo a sea change, a change which for many is akin to a challenge. The author must be complimented for her wonderful portrayal of the protagonist Roshni and her mental state.


A read that is bound to take one down memory lane and re-live the adolescent period, Wild Card 3 is a book for both the young and old alike. Not a drop of tear is shed nor a smile masked right from the beginning to the end.


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Cover Reveal The Wrath of Hellfires by Shatrujeet Nath



Patience is a Drawn Bow.
Rage, its Relentless Arrow.

Shukracharya’s plan to break the unity of Vikramaditya’s Council has borne bitter fruit. Friends have become sworn enemies, and brother has turned against brother, setting Avanti on the path to self-destruction.

Even as Vikramaditya prepares to counter a Huna invasion, a rebellion brews within Ujjayini, while a devious conspiracy is hatched to humiliate him. With Indra’s spies swarming the palace and Shukracharya making a bold bid to take the Halahala, the king is dangerously close to the brink of defeat.

Alone and abandoned by those dear to him, fighting to protect his wife and his people, trying his best to keep his promise to Shiva, will the Samrat rise one last time to defend his love, his city and his honour?

As the asura and deva forces muster in a final, desperate gamble to claim the Halahala, The Wrath of the Hellfires brings an explosive conclusion to Vikramaditya’s epic tale of action and adventure.

Other Books in the Series:

About the Author:

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

Book Review ~ Along Came A Spyder by Apeksha Rao




Paperback : 266 pages
Publisher : TreeShade Books
ISBN-10 : 9389237122
ISBN-13 : 978-9389237122


It’s in her blood… yet can she be one? Meet seventeen-year-old Samira a bubbly teen who has just one dream…to be a spy. She’s a natural-born spy, has been trained since she was a kid in the nuances of the game, yet suddenly she finds her dreams encounter rough weather. Will she make it to the spy ring? Will she be welcomed into the secret sisterhood – The Spyders?….Don’t hesitate, pick up this thrilling read, a read that’s bound to see you smile all the way.

Action-packed and racy, ‘Along Came A Spyder’ is a virtual tour of the spy world, a world that is both dangerous and rewarding at the same time, a world that sees wits clash with emotions, and where only the best can survive.

Evocative and engaging, ‘Along came a Spyder’ is not only high on suspense but is also laced with some good moments of humour which is a plus point in that it offers the reader a relaxed yet addictive read. While the characters are fleshed out well, the pace is racy as one would expect an espionage thriller to be. There is neither a moment of lull in the narrative nor is there an iota of doubt that the book has been crafted after thorough research. Each little detail has been taken care of, and there are no loose ends.

Waiting for the next in the series…for I’m sure the author already has one in mind.


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The thoughts, opinions & feelings expressed in the review are my own and have not been influenced by either the author or the publishing house in any manner

Book Review ~ The Passionate Princess by Sundari Venkatraman



The Passionate Princess: A Historical Romance
(The Princess Series Book 1)


Format : EBook ( Kindle Edition)
Publisher : Flaming Sun (Indie published)


Cupid strikes the very instant Princess Hemangini falls into Prince Devendra’s arms. It looks like destiny is in favour of weaving a ‘lived happily forever’ story when the two royal families of Mahendrapuri and Indrapuri happily give their consent to the young couple to tie the knot. However, things don’t turn out to be that simple once the wedding rituals are over. Devendra’s mother Queen Kanchana Devi has other plans for the couple. If that was not all fate plays spoilsport. Princess Hemangini feels deceived. Why?… That’s a secret that only a reading of the book will reveal.

Crafted well, the story starts on a note of intrigue. As one meanders down the path that Princess Hemangini and Prince Devendra tread from the day destiny throws them together one can’t help but smile. The twists, the turns, the mischief, and the crafty plotting by the Queen Mother as well as the intelligence of Princess Hemangini add spice to a story that is presented in the author’s unique style, a style that makes even a steamy romance seem simple and sweet, devoid of vulgarity. Vivid with imagery, the story as it unfolds transports the reader to the age of Rajahs and Maharajas and offers a chance to live the sequence of events through words woven with finesse into its fabric.


A short yet engrossing read, ‘The Passionate Princess’ sees the power of love and patience take a relationship that could go sour, to its logical end. The book ends on an interesting note.


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Spotlight ~ I Am The 10th by D.R.Downer





I Am The 10th
(Navruts series- Book 1)





Historical thriller





Based in modern times, ‘I Am The 10th’ is the
story of one of the oldest, and arguably the mightiest cults that originated during
the 3rd century BC in India.


Sarah, a happily married lady from New Delhi, India,
wakes up one fine morning in an unknown place. It’s not her home, not her city;
it’s not even her country.


What is she doing there? How did she reach there? Where is
her family?


Her search to all these questions takes her on a journey,
a long journey that had started way back in the 3rd century BC. She
finds out that everything she thought she knew about her- her marriage,
husband, family, home, India, even her name- was a lie.


Will she be able to find out the truth? More importantly,
will she be able to handle the truth if she finds it out?


Come and join Sarah on her journey that will take you to
300 BC, through the Mahabharata era, and back. Witness the biggest and the
deadliest battle ever in the history of mankind that could well spell the end
of humanity and the end of this world. Experience the might of the ancient
Shastras and Astras, like Naag Pash, Brahma Kavach, and Narayan Astra.





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Amazon UK

Amazon U.S.A and Rest of the world


About the author



R. Downer is a writer, author, editor, and a ghostwriter. He has penned more
than 39 books so far, 20 of which have been published under his own name, with
the rest being ghostwriting projects. Although he has written books in varied sub-genres,
his favorite genre is thriller and almost all his books have that as the main

After completing his B.E. (Mechanical) and MBA (Marketing), DD started his professional journey as an Executive in the Sales department of a UK based organization. Since then, he changed over and handled many roles and responsibilities in the Marketing and Customer Service departments across industries. Later, shifted over to Advertising and spent a good 11 years in the same. He finally found his true calling in writing and now spends hours glued to his laptop conjuring up fictional worlds, and wonders if his wife can sue him for cheating on her with his laptop.


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Spotlight~ Bound by The Marriage Contract by Dee James




(Double Trouble 1)

Dee James
Publication Date: Aug 3, 2020
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
Language: English
Genre: Romance

Ashwin was the ever-so-serious, alpha-male who thrived on the next deal, the next million. Surprises were not his thing, especially when they were of the bad kind. After two years of working with his efficient EA, why did he feel an uncanny attraction to her all of a sudden? Was he missing something in the whole picture?

Dia was the quintessential romantic who read, wrote, and thrived on romance. She had nothing to do with the corporate world or her sister’s boss – the sinful-looking Ashwin Kumar. Only, her twin has been missing and she needed to investigate the reason behind her twin’s vanishing act. She thought it would only be a matter of few days, and she could conveniently play her efficient twin. Unfortunately, she wasn’t prepared for the man who could as well one of her reel heros.

When Ashwin suggests a marriage of convenience, neither of them expect to fall in love. Or, did they? What about Anita? Will she find her missing sister?

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 About the Author

Dee James writes sweet, dreamy, romantic stories. A software professional by day, she wears her secret romance cape after work hours. Dee J loves to write about quirky, independent women and sinful-looking alpha men who find their own happily ever after. Her books feature a heavy dose of humor, drama, and love, of course! Apart from devouring all things romance, Dee J loves to read, blog, sing, and cook. Besides insta-love, pink lipsticks, and kohls, the one thing that she can’t do without is coffee!

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Spotlight ~ Truly Madly Crazily in Love



Print Length: 141 pages

Publication Date: July 25, 2020

Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC

Language: English

Genre: Romance



What happens when you can’t let your first love go? What happens when you keep hoping that the one that got away, will be yours again…forever?

Sue is short, vivacious and dreamy. Viv is tall, spirited and focussed. Dressed to the nines on School Social, she bewitches him. He kisses her. She kisses him back. They fall in love. But the kiss that should have sealed their love, becomes their undoing.

Sue is truly, madly and crazily in love with him. There is no one like Viv. She pines for him, but he can’t be hers. Days go by and she is still head over heals in love with him.

When she finally lets him go and is ready to start over, he walks into her life again.

Hearts are broken. Promises are shattered. Lives are wrecked. Love is tested.

In a tale transcending time, Sue and Viv weave a story of love like none other. Will hope, trust and love win the test of time? From Lucknow, to Delhi to London, will Sue finally have her happily ever after? Read this sweet romance to find out.

Read the Excerpt

Excerpt 1

Sukirti lingered on at the gate a bit longer than necessary. She wondered if her mother had noticed how she was lost in her thoughts when she walked in. She certainly didn’t comment on it. Sukirti went directly to her room. She had never experienced the kind of rush she felt with Vaibhav. When she was pressed to him on impact because of the speed breaker, it was as if her whole body had exploded. She was tingling wherever her body had touched his. She knew this was different than anything she had ever known. She remembered her elder cousin Garima telling her about her boyfriend and how he made her feel. At that time, she had not thought it was possible to feel like you were on fire. That day, she understood.

Was she developing a crush on Vaibhav?

Excerpt 2

That smile was his undoing. He had fallen madly in love with Sukirti, the girl with a golden heart and the prettiest eyes. He couldn’t dare to lose her friendship, so he never complicated their relationship. It was difficult to believe that it had only been three months since they knew each other. They were inseparable. Their classmates and friends teased them, and boys even made kissing sounds when they were alone with Vaibhav, but he maintained that they were friends. In fact, Sukirti had never given him any reason to believe otherwise. She was a perfect friend and never lead him on to believe that she felt more for him. Once, when they were talking on the phone and somehow the conversation had moved to friendship and love, he had come very close to confessing his feelings to her, but his mother’s knock on the door had saved him just in time.

“Of course, we will talk on the phone Sue, but practicing like this is much better na,” he said, hiding his disappointment at her not being as affected as he was. All he could do was hope that she would come for the farewell. He had something special planned for her.

Excerpt 3

“Sir, please proceed towards Gate No. 74. There was a last-minute change in the boarding gate for your flight,” the ground staff said politely. What the fuck!He had postponed his boarding to the last minute and now the gate had been changed. His heart was beating fast as he pushed his trolley bag and walked quickly towards Gate No. 74. As he reached the gate, he realized there was a lot of rush because of the last-minute gate change. Though the first-class passengers were given priority over others, he still managed to bump into a hassled girl with a bang. Both liquor bottles went flying and the trolley bag hit him in his shin, hard.

He was waiting for the crashing sound of the bottles and when that didn’t happen, he looked up to find dark kohled eyes, smoothened shoulder length hair, oxidized jewelry and red lips glaring at the mess he had caused.


His heart stopped beating.

“What the hell? Where do you think you are going?” Sue looked up at him. Her eyes expanded in amazement when it registered that she had bumped into Vaibhav. Reining in her galloping heart at the right moment, Sue enquired if he was alright.

“Yes, I am perfectly fine, but my duty-free loot might be a different story.” He picked up the packet and sighed with relief when he found them to be okay. He signaled a thumbs up to Sue.<

“What are you doing here? Are you on this flight?” Sue was shaken. Not visibly so, but she was. She had gotten very good at hiding her emotions and it would take a professional to know that she was experiencing euphoria and dread at the same time on meeting Vaibhav.

Before he could reply, a ground crew member came forward and rushed him to the counter and he could only wave at Sue while she was also being rushed at the Economy Counter.

The moment the seat belt sign switched off, the stewardess came to escort the girl sitting next to Sue. Vaibhav popped into the seat next to her immediately after.

Esha Pandey, is an author and a police officer. She made her debut as an author with her book I Will Meet You There, a collection of short stories.

Esha is an Indian Police Service (IPS) officer of the 2010 batch. She has a Masters in International Relations and Masters of Philosophy in American Studies from Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi. Before becoming a civil servant, she dabbled with the idea of being a journalist and worked with Times of India as a copyeditor. She has won a United Nations FPA Award for Excellence for the “Best Short Story”.

Esha has kept her passion for writing alive through her tough assignments in policing because writing is music for her soul. Her TDH hero is her partner for life, her husband Rajiv, who supports her in all her endeavors. When she is not doing either, policing or writing, she is busy dealing with her two bundles of naughtiness, her sons.


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Book Review ~ The Unsolved Case of an Indian Woman by Puneeth JH




Format : Kindle / Paperback
Publisher : Half Baked Beans
ASIN ( Kindle version) : B08FCHYQSW
ASIN (Paperback Version): B08D8J19CG



Mysteries of the mind deep
Puzzle even the brilliant
See the strongest struggle
To stay afloat, swim to shores safe

Winding through an alley of emotions ‘The Unsolved Case of an Indian Woman’ sees the protagonist Miss Tandel faced with a dilemma which forces her to question her very own sanity. Set in Daman, the novel sees ‘three’ characters go through some harrowing moments in their life, While little Meenu yearns for a mother’s love and is ready to do anything to win it over, Sneha the teenager is fighting a battle faced by many an Indian girl who is forced to shelve her dreams and enter into wedlock. Miss Tandel on the other hand is a successful advocate of forty who stands for all that is right at the risk to her own life. So what binds these three together?….Only a reading of ‘The Unsolved Case of an Indian Woman’ will reveal.

A psychological thriller ‘The Unsolved Case of an Indian Woman’ sees hearts break, relationships questioned, and life swing back and forth between hope and despair. The reader is led down a series of twists and turns to an ending that is for him / her to comprehend and decide upon. In short, it is open-ended giving the reader the liberty to dream and draw his /her conclusions. Narrated in a lucid style, ‘The Unsolved Case of an Indian Woman’ is powerfully evocative.

Though character development and narration are the highlights of this short but intense read, the plot is the spark that has the ability to hold the reader’s interest untill the end. While on the one hand the author builds up the suspense at a steady pace and sets his readers on edge, on the other he shows them a mirror that reflects the raw side of the human psyche. One gets to see how life is crushed before it blooms scarring it for eternity.


An addictive read, the book offers a sneak-peak into the human mind harassed by time.


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