Author Archives: Geeta Nair

About Geeta Nair

Born in Independent India to two really wonderful people who cherished and nourished me with great care, I consider myself lucky to have had the best that life could offer me. Lucky to have had the best education , the best sibling, the best husband, the best daughter,the best of everything that I could ever want, Love to live life on my terms .

Book Review: Shillong Times by Nilanjan P Choudhary

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Format/s: Paperback and Kindle
Publisher: Speaking Tiger Publishing Private Limited
ISBN-13: 978-9388070478
 
 

A plot that rummages through ordinary lives to bring out the extraordinary in it, ‘Shillong Times’ takes one on a journey across a state and its people in times of upheaval.

When friends become foes, neighbours spy on each another, and peace gives way to hatred, life becomes hell and mankind is doomed. However, even in the midst of darkness if one were to light a candle of hope, the same is welcome. The rays of the candle have the power to penetrate even the darkest corners and bring out the best, and ‘Shillong Times’ is an example of the same.

Narrated in simple and lucid language, the book provides us a window to the Shillong of the ‘80s along- with providing flashes of times before that when the state was calm and peaceful, when distrust and hate had no place in the hearts of its people, and when Bengalis and Khasis lived side-by-side in complete harmony.

Things changed over time, the ethnic tribes especially the Khasis felt threatened by the Bengalis who according to them were outsiders out to usurp their livelihood, their resources and more importantly their daughters. Peace paid the price. However, even in the midst of all this turmoil the protagonist Debojit Dutta aka Debu a Bengali teenage boy of fourteen, and his friends Clint Eastwood Lyngdoh and Audrey Pariat both of whom are Khasis, fight to keep the spirit of harmony alive. Though different as chalk and cheese, Debu and Clint along- with Audrey fight off the demons out to wedge a sword in their friendship, and pave the way for some soul searching moments. Twists and turns apart, the book does have some tense moments and some light ones too, that make it a wonderful and refreshing read.

The characters are well fleshed out and easily relatable. The mother in Mrs Dutta is a worried one like any other mother with a teenage child, who cares for the safety and well- being of her offspring. She is one nagging one like any other, while her husband Mr. Dutta is cool and easy going. The chemistry between these two opposites is reflected well in the story, and one can’t help but smile when the topic of their discussion veers around to shifting base to Calcutta. Debu their son and Mrs Dutta’s source of worry, comes across as a confused one while Clint his friend is his exact opposite. However if one were to pick out the strong ones here, it would no doubt be the female species – Mrs. Dutta and Audrey Pariat. The resilient side of these two is drawn out well in the story.

The book scores high on not only in terms of plot, characterization and style, but in terms of pace and language too. The pace is perfect and the language powerful enough to conjure up the setting of the story i.e. the Shillong of the ‘80s.
 

VERDICT
 

A wonderful read, one with the power to draw you deeper and deeper into its midst forcing you to ‘live’ the life of Shillong of the ‘80s and its characters.
 
 

Interested? Check out the blurb at GOODREADS

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Buy the book @ amazon.in

Disclaimer

I received the book as part of The Readers Cosmos Book Review 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

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Spotlight: Why Go Indie by Devika Fernando

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Why Go Indie?: 6 Reasons for Self-Publishing (TBC Writer’s Toolkit Book 1) 
by Devika Fernando 

Have you ever thought of going indie? Are you a traditionally published author interested in switching to self-publishing? Or an aspiring author looking at various publishing options? 

This concise booklet will show you reasons to go indie and give you an overview of the advantages of self-publishing books. It also shines a light on the 6 F’s of self-publishing. 

This eBook is part of the TBC Writer’s Toolkit series in which experienced authors offer advice. Check out the other volumes for a step-by-step guide on how to become a successful indie author.

Grab your copy from 
About the Author

Almost as soon as Devika Fernando could write, she imagined stories and poems. After finishing her education in Germany and returning to her roots in Sri Lanka, she got a chance to turn her passion into her profession. Having lived in Germany and in Sri Lanka with her husband has made her experience the best (and the worst) of two totally different worlds – something that influences her writing. Her trademark are sweet, yet deeply emotional romance stories where the characters actually fall in love instead of merely falling in lust. She draws inspiration from everyone and everything in life. Besides being a romance novel author, she works as a self-employed German web content writer, as a translator, and as a faithful servant to all the cats, dogs, fish and birds in her home. What she loves most about being an author is the chance to create new worlds and send her protagonists on a journey full of ups and downs that will leave them changed. When she’s not writing, she’s reading or thinking about writing.

Website: http://www.devikafernando.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/devikafernan…
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Author_Devika

Book Review- Ashwatthama’s Redemption: The Rise of Dandak

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Author: Gunjan Porwal
Publisher: Om Books International
ISBN-13: 978-9352766352


 
 

A debut novel and that too on a character accursed to live an immortal life stripped of all his celestial weapons, power and knowledge, ‘Ashwatthama’s Redemption’ will leave you thirsting for more. Narrated in simple language and at perfect pace, the book introduces you to various lesser known stories and aspects connected with Mahabharata and its characters along with mirroring the trials and tribulations of one of the greatest warriors of all times.

Ashwatthama the son of Guru Dronacharya, doomed to suffer immortality with the burden of guilt that continuously sears through his soul, is living the life of a recluse deep in the forests away from humanity until one fateful day he is called upon to assist on a mission that is fraught with dangers and a life far worse than death should anything go wrong. Being part incarnate of Lord Shiva, only he can deliver humanity from a fate unpleasant that awaits it with the imminent rise of a formidable foe. What follows is an adventure of sorts where at every turn he encounters memories from the past, memories that haunt him and offer pain and nothing else. Fighting his inner demons, and trying to atone for his mistakes of the past, Ashwatthama faces some facts, some questions that leave him deep in thought.

Twists and turns apart, the book also offers us some valuable insights into the working of the karmic cycle along with offering some nuggets of wisdom to chew and ponder on. The lesser known tales pertaining to the Mahabharata, its characters and Krishna, make interesting read and offer a better understanding of the epic. While the plot is interesting, the style of narration complements it. The climax too is like ‘Wow! What next?’However there are a few things that hold me back from pronouncing the book, ‘Perfect!’ Let’s see what they are.

1. Characterization- A little more work on the characters is sure to add value to the book and make it more enjoyable. While the characterization of supporting characters like Urmila and Rana leave no room for complaint, it’s the protagonist who fails to impress. We must remember that here all eyes are riveted on Ashwatthama, and for the story to truly impress, he must be able to connect with the readers. However Ashwatthama’s characterization leaves room for improvement. I agree he is an enigma, yet to fully appreciate his role in taking the story forward, he needs to connect with the readers on the spiritual plain, which incidentally does not happen.

2. The journey in search of the Kodanda felt incomplete and rushed through. A little more of detail with vivid imagery would have worked wonders for the book.

3. A little more fire, a little more dramatization in the action scenes with Raktavija and Vidyut would help in keeping the reader in me on edge. It would have felt like something akin to an intense thriller- racy and heart pounding.
 
 

A few interesting takeaways from the book that offer gems of wisdom/ food for thought –

1. Evil cannot survive if people find courage in their hearts to stand up for the good. Evil thrives on weaknesses of men. Evil rises on their shoulders; it feeds on bloodshed and death. Being a silent spectator wouldn’t help. Evil can only be defeated by determination and self-belief.

2. The wheels of Karma are in effect everywhere. Good deeds become the only solution to bad karma.

3. Rise for your fellow citizens, for what you run away from today will come to haunt you tomorrow in one way or the other if you do not take a stand.
 
 

VERDICT

A truly interesting read and of course a good one considering this is the author’s debut novel. I’m sure there is a sequel to this in the pipeline considering how the climax ended , and I’m sure looking forward to reading that too.


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Buy the book @ amazon.in
 
 

Disclaimer

I received the book from Writersmelon as part of their Book Review Programme, in exchange for an unbiased review. The thoughts, opinions & feelings expressed in the review are therefore, my own and have not been influenced by either the author or Writersmelon in any form.

Book Review: City of Nine Gates

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Author: Pankaj Rajput
Publisher: Notion Press; 1 edition (11 July 2014)
ISBN-13: 978-9384049645

 
 

An atheistic millionaire is forced to find and help his long lost friend achieve self-realization in a mystical City of Nine Gates known only to the Gods and the wisest sages of the Advait and the Sankhya. Assisted by other friends in the City, he leads the City on an inward enlightening journey, only to realize at the end who his friend is, what actually the City of Nine Gates is and who is that beyond all regions knowing which one never comes back …

When the Gods
descend to devastate,
When Kalyuga
meets Apocalypse,
Out of a Billion,
Only one strives,
Of those who strive,
Only one achieves,
What those sages realized,
and you still haven’t,
knowing which,
one never comes back.
Rise O’ Cities!
It’s time
to liberate,
It’s time,
to realize…

 
 

MY TAKE

Have you ever felt overwhelmed while reading a piece of writing? Well, I have. Reading ‘City of Nine Gates’ was truly a rich and unique experience. What started off as just another interesting read, slowly but steadily turned out to be a source of enlightenment not only at the knowledge level but at the spiritual level too. What started off as a tour of a fictional city of nine gates, turned out to be that of a true city, one that houses the human spirit. Replete with twists and turns, interesting encounters and gems of knowledge, this one talks about Purusha and Prakriti, pain and salvation or moksha, manas and iccha and a lot many more things that the ordinary human mind finds difficult to perceive. Served in an engaging and simple style, the book makes it easy for a layman too to grasp the intricacies associated with the human body and the mind, provided the one out to understand the same has ample time, an open mind and….the patience and will to undertake this arduous journey of ‘The City of Nine Gates.’ Arduous? Yes, because this book calls for complete concentration and the willingness to spend time imbibing, analyzing and assimilating the information disseminated here in the form of Gyan’s story and his encounter with the ‘beings’ residing and managing the City of Parth.

A deep subject presented in a simplistic style, the ‘City of Nine Gates’ encapsulates Vedic knowledge drawn from various ancient scriptures and shows the path to liberation of the the Human Body.

The story does have its fair share of downs too. The number of characters involved makes the tour with Gyan an uphill task. At times one may have to go back and forth, to clear the mist of confusion tending to crowd the brain thereby losing precious time. One may also feel bogged down by too much happening too fast. But then just chill, keep the book down and let your brain relax before picking it up again. You’ll definitely feel refreshed and ready to assimilate what comes next.
 
 

VERDICT

Well- researched, ‘The City of Nine Gates’ has the power to address and answer several questions afflicting the spiritual side of the human mind. Pick it up if you seek knowledge and are ready to spend some quality time with Gyan the protagonist.


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Buy the book @ amazon.in

Disclaimer

I received the book as a part of The Readers Cosmos Book Review 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- Death and Dishonor: Revenge is everything

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Authors: Abhimanyu Saxena and Tanmoy Basak
Publisher: Kalamos Literary Services LLP
ISBN-13: 978-9387780095

 

An interesting and engaging thriller with a heady mix of action and suspense, Death and Dishonor will take you on a whirlwind tour of a life gone all wrong on account of a tragedy.When death strikes at the door of Inspector Arjun Rathore’s home, little does he realize that this is just the beginning of a period of trials and tribulations. While wife Shikha’s death leaves him a broken man, it’s his best friend Aditi’s departure that truly shakes him and sets him out on a path that sees him on the other side of the law, a side he’d vowed never to cross over to. This move of his, sets in motion a chain of events, events not foreseen. There is a lot of bloodshed, people are terrorized, media goes crazy and a number of questions pop up not only in Arjun Rathore’s mind but I that of the readers as well. Twists and turns over when one reaches the end, one can’t help but say, “Oh! No.” The fare may feel like an awesome dinner minus the dessert, Disappointment may cloud your mind, but then go back to the cover, Your face may light up realizing that the end is yet to happen. To know what I mean, you’ll have to lay your hands on the book… 🙂

The authors have done well to maintain the suspense till the end with their creative twists and excellent narration skills. There is never a dull moment. However I do appreciate the protagonist’s survival instincts. Couldn’t help but wonder how he managed to keep running and fighting inspite of breaking several bones. 🙂

Language is simple, crisp and lucid, while the pace is perfect. Characters are well developed and easily blend in with the plot. One can easily relate to their emotions be it anger, hatred, horror or empathy. The only thing that put me off was the font used to highlight the flashback portions. Reminded me of the cyclostyled temporary circulars issued by our office in the 80’s and 90’s. I feel highlighting the same in italics would have been a better option.

Read the blurb on GOODREADS
 

VERDICT
 

Overall a perfect read for a lazy weekend afternoon when you’d like to keep yourself awake after a sumptuous lunch.


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Buy the book @

amazon.in II pustakmandi

Disclaimer: An copy of the book was provided via Kalamos Literary Services in exchange for an honest review. The thoughts, opinions & feelings expressed in the review are therefore, my own and have not been influenced by either the author or the publishing house in any manner

Book Review: Kartikeya and His Battle with the Soul Stealer

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Author: Usha Narayanan
Format/s: Kindle and Paperback
Publisher: Penguin
ISBN-13: 978-0143440093


 
 

BLURB

He was the son of fierce Durga and three-eyed Shiva. He had been born, he had lived, and he would die if need be, for a divine purpose-to kill the Soul Stealer.

Surapadma’s reign of terror flourishes and the fate of all creatures-mortal and immortal-hangs in the balance. Shiva’s son, Kartikeya, must destroy several formidable asuras before he can confront the Soul Stealer and salvage the dying, gasping universe.

But Kartikeya, whisked away by mysterious forces to live amidst birds and beasts on a bleak mountainside, is ignorant of his destiny, and struggles to find his identity. Not even Brahma, Vishnu or Shiva come to his aid. He can win the final battle only if he can discern his enemy’s weakness and his own inner strength.

Will Shiva’s son rise to the challenge before it is too late? The world waits with bated breath
 
 

MY TAKE

Mythology especially Indian Mythology is open to deep research and vast interpretation, but what makes it interesting is the way it is retold/ reinterpreted or simply narrated. The success of a mythological narrative lies (1) in its ability to hold the reader till the end and (2) churn out something new. Old wine in new package may not hold the reader’s interest, but new additions/ new insights in the form of incidents, characters and their significance that were till now either hidden or not accorded their due importance, definitely have the ability to draw the thirsty mind to it. So if I were to look at ‘Kartikeya and his battle with the Soul Stealer’ from this perspective I’d definitely give a 👍. Author Usha Narayanan has not only managed to hold the reader in me engaged till the end, but has also given glimpses into some truly interesting incidents and characters that are a part of the protagonist’s story. We’ve had passing references to many of them in various books, but here we see them play a greater role in taking the story forward. With them unfold many stories and incidents hitherto unknown to a vast majority.

Replete with various emotions like love, anger, passion, empathy and jealousy, the book takes us on a journey through hills and valleys, heaven and earth and also introduces us to the adorable side of animals and birds as well as the vile side of the Devas and Asuras. Another thing that struck me was Indra’s arrogance and selfishness compared to Surapadma’s selflessness. While Indra has just his throne and his supremacy on the three realms in mind while engaging Kartikeya to take on the Soul Stealer, Surapadma’s aim is to avenge the death of his brothers and sons. While Indra is least worried about the burden he is placing on little Kartikeya’s shoulder, Surapadma and in fact his brother Tharaka too, hesitate to go headlong and engage the boy in the battle. They are ready to allow him to bow out of the field with grace.

Twists, turns and engaging banter along with some hilarious and some somber moments present a unique experience.

Characterization is another strong aspect of Author Usha Narayanan’s writings and here too she has not failed her readers. One can’t help but live out their emotions. While one feels distressed along with Kartikeya on feeling abandoned and lonely, one also can’t but feel distraught and angered as does Parvati on having her passionate moment with her Lord abruptly interrupted, and her ‘child’ stolen. Forlorn and pinning with Devasena for her Lord’s return, and jealous and angry as Valli at having to share her Muruga, one can’t but help empathize with both as well as stay neutral when they confront each other. Such is the strength of the narrative. Shiva too springs a surprise. The fiery God exhibits his soft side here and there. We hardly come across this side of the God in the stories/ novels making it to the market today.

Language is simple, lucid and free flowing while the pace is perfect all along until we near the end. It’s here that I felt the story was a wee-bit dragged, and when I say wee-bit I mean exactly that. It was like the athlete who sails along smoothly till the penultimate lap overtaking all her foes, only to show signs of exhaustion in the final lap.
 
 

VERDICT

A must read for mythological fiction lovers and of course a must addition to the personal library. I must also add that this book is for all ages, young and old alike. So if you’d like to know Karthikeya at close quarters, don’t hesitate to pick this up.


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Buy the book @ amazon.in

Disclaimer: An copy of the book was provided by the author via Penguin Books, in exchange for an honest review. The thoughts, opinions & feelings expressed in the review are therefore, my own and have not been influenced by either the author or the publishing house, in any manner

Book Review- Perfect Love : 5.5 Ways To A Lasting Relationship

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Author: Shubha Vilas
Publisher: Westland (12 September 2018)
ISBN-13: 978-9387578562


 
 

BLURB

Happily ever afters are easier said than done. How do we choose the right partner, and how do we sustain that relationship so it lasts a lifetime?

Spiritual life coach Shubha Vilas tells you how, with the help of six beautiful love stories from the scriptures. Nala and Damayanti, Krishna and Rukmini, Shakuntala and Dushyanta, Udayana and Vasavadatta, Satyavan and Savitri, Draupadi and the five Pandava brothers—these are accounts we may have heard many a time but have not had an opportunity to understand in such depth and detail, and with such empathy.

But why 5.5 ways and not 6? Because the sixth way is a half-truth, which can be twisted either way.

Combining powerful story-telling with deep philosophical truths, Perfect Love is a treasure trove of scriptural wisdom for the modern age.

 
 

MY TAKE

Interesting and engaging, ‘Perfect Love’ is indeed a treasure trove in itself in that apart from putting forth six beautiful stories, it has some gems to offer in the form of quotable quotes and an exhaustive explanation on the key to the success of relationships between the characters involved in the stories.

Narrated in simple and lucid language, each story is not only rich in terms of the lesson it imparts, but is strong on the imagery front too. There is no dull moment or confusing twist that acts as speed-breakers. In fact one tends to get involved in the story, live the character and experience their love, their anguish and all emotions they go through, making it easy to relate to them. This in turn translates into a better understanding of the deep philosophical truths the master- storyteller wishes to convey.

Apart from the style of narration what actually bowled me over was the thought process involved in tapping the truth regarding relationships and their interpretation. I wonder how many of us who have heard / read these stories, have ever gone into this aspect. One can actually learn a few things regarding narration and interpretation of stories from Shubha Vilas ji. Having said this was there something that irked me/ stops me from rating the book a 5 on a scale of 5?

Absolutely nothing! Try as I might, I can’t stop myself from declaring this book a must read.

A few takeaways from a sea sprinkled across ‘Perfect Love’:

‘Committing before understanding is like burping before eating. It’s a serious sign of indigestion.’

‘Forgiveness is the pathway to liberate yourself from bondage of blaming people who are the instruments of your misery.’

‘Confusion and clarification are two sides of the same coin. When the side of confusion faces you, turn it around and seek clarification.’

‘When you make a choice you pick a challenge. Every compromise to your self respect is a little move away from yourself.’

‘False love is like a fountain, it seems to be giving out everything but in reality taking it all back.
True love is like a waterfall, it gives everything while expecting nothing.’

‘Story telling is like colouring wax. First it melts you, then it adds colour to your life and then it shapes you.’
 
 

TO THE AUTHOR

Must say that you truly do justice to that last quote I’ve mentioned above, the one about story telling. Your story telling skill inspires your readers to think and once they think I’m sure they find something that stirs within them and helps them move forward in life.


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Buy the book @ amazon.in

Book Blitz – When Our Worlds Meet Again by Aniesha Brahma

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About the Book:





Two years after the events of ‘When Our Worlds Collide’, Zayn and Akriti are now leading extremely different lives. Akriti has come back from her stint at the business school and running her mother’s café. Zayn has run into trouble in his PhD program and has come home for a break. While he thinks that things are just as he’d left them two years ago, that is far from the truth. In a last ditch attempt to make Akriti remember the connection they had once shared, Zayn tries to recreate all their memories. But things are never the same when collided worlds meet again. 










Book Links:
Goodreads * Amazon


Read an Excerpt:


Prologue
2015.
Akriti was sitting at the cash counter of her mother’s little café going over the expenses for the day. Her headphones were plugged into her ears as she listened to songs on her phone. Her laptop was propelled open in front of her as she made notes on what else needed to be done the next day.
In the two years that she had been gone, the café had not changed at all. Her mother had kept all the renovations that Akriti and her colleagues had done two years ago. The only difference was that now there was a bulletin board next to the chalkboard menu that had been installed just a few weeks ago. On the bulletin board hung a poster that announced that next week’s Poetry Slam would start at 6PM sharp, and Suzanna needed to be contacted for early registration.
Akriti finished her work and shut down her laptop. She looked around the café in grim satisfaction and let out a happy little sigh. The music from her phone suddenly stopped playing. Glancing down she saw that her phone had started buzzing, flashing a number she had not seen on her phone in quite a while.
Debating for a minute, she received the call.
“Hi, Zayn.”
Airports have seen more sincere kisses than weddings it is said. As Zayn Banerjee waited to catch his flight back home, he witnessed one too many couples bidding each other teary eyed goodbyes. It was watching these strangers that he remembered how it had felt two years ago when he had left his home behind in pursuit of higher studies. How he had come to this alien land which had eventually led him to a lot of heartache and misery!
But there had been something good about those two years. There had been someone who had seen past all his imperfections and focused only on the good that was in him. Who had been his friend against all odds and yet, they had fallen out of touch with each other over the course of two years. He wondered if she was still using the same number. He wondered if she still had his number saved.
On an impulse, he pulled out his phone and dialed her number. She answered it on the third ring.
“Hi, Zayn.”
“Akriti.”
He was pleased as punch that she remembered him.
“Did you want something?”
“I am just calling to let you know that I’d be home soon.”
“Oh.”
“Oh? Honestly, I was hoping for a reaction better than oh.”
“Zayn, it’s really late here. Let’s talk when you’re in town?”
“I’ll do you one better. I’ll come see you.”
“Great. Safe flight.”
Then the line went dead. Zayn stared at the phone, wondering if their friendship was lost over the course of time. This wasn’t like the Akriti he remembered.
This wasn’t his Akriti at all.
Akriti hung up the phone feeling utterly drained. Once upon a time this was a source of her happiness but tonight he was a cause of her stress. The last thing she needed was for Zayn to come barging into her life once more.
She remembered all the memories that they had made together two years ago. The time when she’d finally felt okay to let her guard down and just be herself. It seemed to her like it was a lifetime ago. But he’d left. Like everyone else in her life and she had found herself consumed by her loneliness. Going off to business school had only made Akriti revert back to her old self.
That’s a lie they tell you, Akriti thought bitterly to herself, as she put her headphones back on and started listening to music again, time doesn’t heal a damn thing. It just burns the memories into your mind.



About the Author:

Aniesha Brahma knew she wanted to be a writer since she was six years old. She was schooled in Dolna Day School and went on to pursue B.A., M.A., and M.Phil in Comparative Literature from Jadavpur Univeristy. She currently lives in Kolkata, with her family and five pet cats. She is the author of All Signs Lead Back to You, When Our Worlds Collide, The Guitar Girl and The Secret Proposal. She compiled and edited the 10 volumes series, ‘Children’s Classic Stories’ with love and great efforts.


Website * Twitter * Instagram * Facebook





Book Blitz : The Hidden Children (The Lost Grimoire #1) by Reshma K. Barshikar

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About the Book:
‘What price would you pay to be extraordinary? What would you do to speak to a butterfly? 



Shayamukthy cruises through life: shooting hoops, daydreaming and listening to her favourite books. Even moving from the US to India, to a new school, a new culture, hasn’t really rattled her. But something isn’t right anymore and it begins when ‘New Girl’ joins the school.


She pulls Shui into a world of magic and wonderment, a world she has been hidden from all her life. What starts as a quest to look for a lost book, hurtles Shui into a world where people live in trees, talk to the dead and speak to butterflies.


But like all power, magic comes at a steep price, and under all things wondrous lie demons waiting to crawl out. The more Shui learns, the more she doubts everything and everyone around her. 


Will she be able to master her powers, or will they devour her and everyone she loves?



Order Your Copy from AMAZON now!

Read an Excerpt:

I think I am
ordinary. I lack purpose. Boohoo you think, typical teenager angst. But if I
died tomorrow, it wouldn’t impact anyone’s life except my parents’. My friends,
on the other hand, they have a life. See them there, yes there, to the right,
next to the banyan tree behind the basketball court. You see a slightly pudgy
boy and a beautiful girl? The boy’s name is Jai. The girl’s name is Nallini.
Both have purpose. Jai wants to write comic books. He wants to be like Neil
Gaiman or something, some famous comic-book guy. Nallini wants to be an
actress, the next Deepika Padukone – that, and to win next year’s gold medal in
Jujitsu.

She has absolutely no
problems reconciling the inherent contradictions in both her desires.

I want nothing, need
nothing, except something to need. I can’t see past today even to tomorrow; I
have a hard enough time figuring out what I am now. I am not from a broken
home, unless you count the fact that parts of the building I live in are
falling apart. I am not poor, not like Anuki Chabria who got called out of her
exam because her parents couldn’t pay her fees. I do not have acne bursting on
my face, making me look like a human cheese grater. I am just, well, ordinary.
So could you really blame me? Blame me for wanting to be special? Blame me for
wanting to be fierce? To be like Storm from the X-Men, or like Beyoncé? When I
look back now, at everything that has happened in the last few months, I
realise I’m just as much to blame as her. The big question – well, it’s not a
big question at all, really, because it’s all rubbish now, because you can’t go
back. Even I can’t go back. So the absurd question everyone around me
seems to asking is – would I have acted differently, would I rather NOT be the
person I am now?

No.


And neither would
you. What price wouldn’t you pay to be extraordinary, to ride the wind,
to float with unicorns, to be the one chosen…? Because, you see, I’ve gotten
into some serious trouble and want to explain myself. I didn’t mean for things
to happen. I didn’t mean for someone to die. So I ask you – wouldn’t you have
said yes if someone said – ‘Do you want to learn how to speak to a
butterfly?’ 


About the Author:

Travel writer and novelist Reshma K Barshikar is
an erstwhile Investment Banker who, as she tells it, ‘fell down a rabbit hole
and discovered a world outside a fluorescent cubicle.’ As a travel and features
writer, she contributes to National Geographic Traveller, Harper’s Bazaar,
Grazia, The Sunday Guardian, SilverKris, The Mint Lounge and The Hindu. Fade
Into Red, published by Random House India was her debut novel and featured in
Amazon Top 10 Bestsellers. She also holds well renowned workshops for young
adults at both BDL Museum and Kala Ghoda and is keen to build a strong Young
Adult reading and writing community to fill the desperate lack of young adult fiction
in the Indian Market. Her new Young Adult novel, The Hidden Children, will be
launching at the Vizag Junior Literary Festival. Reshma is from the ISB Class
of 2003. She calls both Mumbai and the Nilgiris home. 



Contact the Author:
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Book Review: And The Ocean Was Our Sky

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Author: Patrick Ness
Illustrator: Rovina Cai
Publisher: Walker Books
ISBN-13: 978-1406383560

 

BLURB
 

With harpoons strapped to their backs, the proud whales of Bathsheba’s pod live for the hunt, fighting in the ongoing war against the world of men. When they attack a ship bobbing on the surface of the Abyss, they expect to find easy prey. Instead, they find the trail of a myth, a monster, perhaps the devil himself…

As their relentless Captain leads the chase, they embark on a final, vengeful hunt, one that will forever change the worlds of both whales and men.
 
 
MY TAKE
 

Interesting and unique, this one is told from the point of view of a whale and reflects not only the animosity they have towards humans who according to them live in the abyss and are out to hunt and kill them mercilessly, but also tells how they (whales) too are drawn into that something called a prophecy. The thinker among them may deny the same as superstition, but his voice is drowned by the majority who think otherwise. Does that ring a bell? So very like human nature.

The journey deep in the ocean bed, along-with Bathsheba’s pod which incidentally is on a hunting expedition, is a psychological expedition of sorts, where we see the test of endurance battle with emotions like fear, jealousy, anger, empathy, horror and vengeance. The trail of the unknown coupled with the hunt for the same adds a touch of mystery to the story. However, it’s the preparedness of the whales that are out to hunt, that comes as a surprise. With harpoons strapped to their back and a ship in tow to collect their bounty, they swim across the vast ocean relentlessly in search of their sworn enemies, and when they encounter them they are ruthless.

Tough the beginning half of the story is a bit dry and confusing; the second half turns out to be engaging. The climax sees some action and ultimately closes with a message of sorts.

The illustrations do justice to the narrative and are in fact the highlight of the story. They make the reader’s job easier. Without them it would have been a little difficult to actually comprehend the story, especially the beginning half, and without getting a clear picture of the same it would have near impossible to appreciate the latter half.

Overall a nice read, I’ll give this one a three on a scale of five.


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Disclaimer: An review copy of the book was provided via Penguin Random House India in exchange for an honest review. The Thoughts, opinions & feelings expressed in the review are therefore, my own and have not been influenced by either the author or the publishing house in any manner.