Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Winning Like Virat: Think and Succeed like Kohli by Abhirup Bhattacharya- Review

Book Name         - Winning Like Virat: Think and Succeed like Kohli
Author                  - Abhirup Bhattacharya
Publisher              - Rupa Publications
Number of Pages -141
Publishing Year   -2017
Edition                  - Paperback
Price                     -195

Buy books from Amazon

Rating : 3.0

My Review

After Sachinn not even Dhoni would have received the acceptance that Virat Kohli got. Through perfect technique, hardwork and a coach who could mould his student into diamond, Virat Kohli developed from a low scorer to record maker.

The ultimate public speaking survival guide by Ramakrishna Reddy

Book Name         - The ultimate public speaking survival guide
Author                  - Ramakrishna Reddy
Publisher              - Self Published
Number of Pages - 120
Publishing Year   - 2015
Edition                  - Paperback
Price                     - 1189

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Rating : 4.0

My Review

We all might have faced the nervousness issue while addressing an audience. Sweaty hands, forgetfulness, shivering, increased heartbeat etc had been our major issues while standing in from of a group of people.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Release Day Blitz- Avishi by Saiswaroopa Iyer

~ Release Day Blitz ~
Avishi by Saiswaroopa Iyer
12th August, 2017

Long before the times of Draupadi and Sita
Immortalised in the hymns of the Rig Veda
But largely forgotten to the memory of India
Is the Warrior Queen with an iron leg, Vishpala

Brought up in the pristine forest school of Naimisha, Avishi reaches the republic of Ashtagani in search of her destiny. When Khela, the oppressive King of the neighbouring Vrishabhavati begins to overwhelm and invade Ashtagani, Avishi rises to protect her settlement. But peril pursues her everywhere.
Separated from her love, her settlement broken, with a brutal injury needing amputation of her leg, can Avishi overcome Khela?

Read an Excerpt

“I am the Queen! This will be my throne!” The seven-year-old chirped leaping from the middle of the porch towards the broken mortar which served as a mock throne. “You will be my guard!”
“Guard?” the man pondered scratching his unkempt beard. 
“No.” He shook his head and smiled seeing her indignant eyes. “I will be the Queen’s elephant.” He beamed.
Sukratu stepped out of the house to see his daughter in action, perching herself on the tramp Loha’s back, pretending in all earnestness that he was her elephant. He smiled and was about to set out for his duty as the night guard of the King. A sudden lightning appeared in the eastern skies. Sukratu had barely walked a few paces when a deafening thunder made him instinctively turn towards home. He heaved a sigh, finding Loha shielding the girl as if he would, his own child. 
“Father, don’t go.” The girl pleaded. 
Sukratu smiled and shifted his gaze towards the sky. He saw dark clouds loom over the city. The monsoon winds had started to make their presence felt. He had to reach the palace soon. “Isn’t my little Queen brave?” He called out. 
The girl nodded. He saw the fear fade. From her eyes. From her heart. She knew she was the queen! Pride filled his heart. His mind ached to stay home but duty beckoned. Tearing his gaze away from the one he treasured the most in his life, braving the drizzle that would soon turn into a storm, he unwillingly walked towards the King’s residence. Sukratu’s house was in the third ring of the concentric structure of Vrishabhavati. In the centre, was the structure, that served as the residence of the king and as the centre of all trade activity of the city. Here no wealth or goods could change hands without the king’s knowledge and approval. The residences of the noblemen formed the two rings around it. The guards and soldiers forming the outermost circle with the citizens living around them. 
As per the protocol, Sukratu approached General Ugra’s residence quite ahead of his reporting time— an hour before the moonrise. He walked into the empty courtyard. But the rain made it impossible for him to stand there any longer. He knocked at the giant wooden door fervently. The doors creaked as a strange woman clad in a dark indigo garment opened them and glared at him with a frown on her forehead. 
General Ugra, Sukratu knew was never faithful to one woman. His superior’s romantic exploits were not his concern either. But something about the woman at the door disconcerted him. “Please let General Ugra know that…”
“He has already left for the palace!” The woman frowned before attempting to shut the door. 
“What? How ca…” Sukratu’s words hung in air as the door slammed on his face and the woman disappeared from his line of vision all of a sudden. Something did not feel right. He knocked at the door again. Firmly this time, as though seeking answers. Any change in the reporting time would have been announced the day before and he remembered that nothing of the sort had happened. His knocks went unanswered. Frowning and muttering under his breath, Sukratu hurried towards an empty cowshed three houses away from Ugra’s place hoping to catch his companions who he knew would be equally surprised. 
The first to arrive was Khela, the eighteen-year-old guard, holding a metal shield above his head. The newest addition to the King’s guard, Khela was related to General Ugra and Sukratu felt that his position in the King’s guard was largely a result of undue favours that Ugra showered upon an otherwise impudent boy. 
“Sukratu! By the great Varuna, I should have come to you earlier!” Khela hurried towards him. Pausing for breath, he added. “Our platoon has been given a relief tonight! It was a sudden decision and I personally informed all the others.”
“Relief for tonight? That happens only when…”
“Our guarding hours change from night to day!” Khela completed in a hurry. “Now, come with me.” He turned towards the western direction and the javelin he held started to sway dangerously and came close to grazing Sukratu’s arm. 
The older guard’s instincts made him dodge the cut. “Where?” Sukratu hissed, visibly annoyed, first with the fact that he was kept in dark about the change in guarding hours and then about Khela’s irreverent behaviour. “And watch who your weapon hurts, boy.”
Khela shrugged and changed the position of his weapon. “We are now going to the place.” He winked, stretching his hand in the direction. “Follow me, this is the only night we get to have some fun.”
Sukratu did not move. The place he knew implied the tavern where wine was served. “We cannot drink tonight, Khela. When do we have to report tomorrow? By sunrise?”
“You ask too many questions. The rest of us are there too!”
“That does not answer my question.” 
“Well, I don’t know, and I don’t care to. The palace is paying for the wine. Are you coming or not?” 
The last sentence sounded more like a threat than an invite. Sukratu had all the mind to give the youth a piece of his mind and storm back home. His daughter would be overjoyed to see him before she went to sleep. It gnawed at Sukratu’s heart every day to leave her under the care of Loha— the tramp who had begged him for shelter about six months ago and then became a part of his life. The girl liked him instantly and had begged Sukratu to let Loha live with them and he, despite his misgivings about the tramp’s origins and his unkempt appearance, could not refuse his only daughter. Over time, Sukratu felt grateful for Loha’s company. Now his daughter did not have to be all by herself every night. The guard’s home would have been unguarded if not for that stranger. Sukratu brushed aside these thoughts and had almost decided to go home when the thought of meeting other senior guards and clarifying the confusion struck him. He followed Khela’s lead, making no attempt to hide his displeasure. 
When they reached the tavern, Sukratu to his dismay, found many of his brothers in arms deeply drunk. “When did they reach here and when did they…”
“Quite some time before. I just forgot to tell you in advance!”
Sukratu’s eyes scrutinized the men and women of the tavern who were serving wine to the guards. There were no other citizens or travellers in the tavern. 
“Just for us, the whole night!” Khela said as if reading his thoughts, bringing him an earthen goblet. 
The older guard accepted the goblet taking his first sip with a sense of foreboding. 
“Where were you all the time, old friend?” The voice belonged to Tunga one of the senior guards in the platoon. 
The grin on his friend’s face brought a smile to Sukratu’s lips. “Tunga, what is this about the sudden change in our guarding hours?” 
“The King… that imbecile, has finally remembered that we are human too!” Tunga guffawed, emptying his goblet, waving vigorously at a woman of the tavern who obliged with a seductive wink. 
She approached them, skilfully distributing her attention between both the men, winking at Tunga and pouting her lips at Sukratu. Her brows rose at Sukratu’s filled cup. “Don’t keep the Sura nor this Sundari waiting, my love...” Serving Tunga his wine, she placed her fingers upon Sukratu’s shoulders, digging her nails into his skin for a moment locking her gaze with his and turned around swiftly, letting her light upper garment rest on his face for a fleeting moment. 
It was a wilful invitation and Sukratu knew it. His attention though was caught by the colour of the garment. The Indigo hued garment! All the women of the tavern wore clothes of the same colour. So did the woman he saw in General Ugra’s house! Was Ugra at home while the woman lied that he was at the palace? If the General and the whole platoon of the night guard were lying down drunk, who was minding the security of the King? Sukratu looked at the rest of the guards. No one seemed sober enough to talk. The only sober man Khela had disappeared!
“By the great Varuna!” Sukratu exclaimed aloud and rushed out, pushing the woman who tried to stop him away. 
He raced to the King’s residence, as fast as his legs could carry him. The huge wooden gates of the structure were closed and secured from inside. The rain lashed drowning his cries. Misgivings regarding the King’s welfare made him shudder. He had to meet General Ugra. Something told him that the General had his own reasons to send the whole platoon of guards to enjoy a drunk night. He was a guard who had sworn to protect the King with his life. The general owed him an answer. Sukratu rushed to General Ugra’s house determined to confront him. 
That, Sukratu realized was the biggest mistake of his life. 
At the gates of the general’s residence he saw a familiar figure hurrying out of his house, a heavy bundle on his shoulders. “General Ugra!” he called out, feeling relieved. 
The figure started, and the bundle fell to the ground. Sukratu came to a sudden halt as he realized it wasn’t a bundle after all, but a blood-drenched corpse. A stroke of lightning from the sky revealed the face and the very familiar greying curls. Sukratu froze for a long moment before he could speak.
 “K... King...”
Something hit him on the head even before he could utter the name. Sukratu staggered, reeling at the impact, clutching at his long sword in a vain attempt to defend the next move. 
“Finish him!” The General shout behind him. 
Before he turned around, Sukratu felt the cold metal tear into his back. Lightning struck revealing the contours of the person. Khela! The javelin stabbed him again. Thunder drowned his screams. Falling to the ground with the weapon still stuck to his back, Sukratu lifted his sword and managed to slash Khela’s palm though the latter, unlike him was vigilant and alert. Crawling away from the menacing duo, knowing very well that he could not last more than a few moments, Sukratu’s thoughts, went to his innocent daughter. She would now languish as an orphan remaining in dark about the monsters who killed her father. Or would they kill her too?
Sukratu would never know. 

About the Author:
Saiswaroopa is an IITian and a former investment analyst turned author. Her keen interest in ancient Indian history, literature and culture made her take to writing. Her debut novel Abhaya, set in the times of Mahabharata was published in 2015. Avishi, her second novel set in Vedic India explores the legend of India’s first mentioned female warrior queen Vishpala.
She holds a certificate in Puranas from Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies. She is also trained in Carnatic Classical music and has won a state level gold medal from Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams. 

Friday, August 11, 2017

Vishwamitra by Dr. Vineet Aggarwal Indian Mythological Fiction ~ Book Blitz ~

Vishwamitra by Dr. Vineet Aggarwal
Indian Mythological Fiction
~ Book Blitz ~
11th August, 2017

When Satyavati, wife of Rishi Ruchik, exchanges with her mother the magic potion for bearing a child, they change not just their children’s destiny, but also the history of mankind. Born of this mix up is Vishwamitra, the son of a Kshatriya, who strives to become a Brahmarishi—the ultimate and most powerful of all Gurus.

Vishwamitra is the powerful story of a brave but stubborn, haughty yet compassionate, visionary king of Aryavarta who not only acquires material wealth through military conquests but also becomes one of the most well-known sages of all times.

Top 5 Rishis of all time:

5. BHRIGU - the father-in-law of none other than Lord Vishnu! He is famous to have tested the three gods of the Hindu Trinity to see who’s the most deserving out of them! He is the author of the famous Bhrigu Samhita also known as 'Laal Kitab' that supposedly contains information about every human being's past, present and future.

4. KASHYAP - the father of all species of life that exist including Devas, Daityas, Danavs, Manavs, Apsaras, Gandharvs, Nagas, Plants, Animals, Birds, Aquatics and many more! He gives real meaning to the thought - Vasudhaiv Kutumbakam - the World is my Family.

3. VISHWAMITRA - an ordinary human who in spite of being born as a Kshatriya reached the highest levels of spirituality and became a Brahmarishi at par with Vasishth! He is the discoverer of the famous Gayatri Mantra, and the creator of an entire constellation!
2. ATRI - another son of Brahma and one of the oldest rishis to exist. Husband of a very powerful lady Anasuya and the father of Chandrama, the Hindu Moon-god; Dattatreya, the combined Avatar of Brahma, Vishnu & Shiva; and the angry rishi Durvasa.

1. VASISHTH - the son of Brahma the creator-god is number one on the list. He is the original Brahmarishi whom Indra gifted the Divine Cow Nandini. He was the Kulguru of Suryavanshis or the Solar Dynasty of kings in ancient India and mentored many famous kings like Divodas, Harishchandra and Shri Rama.

About the Author

Dr. Vineet Aggarwal is described by many as a doctor by qualification, manager by profession and artist by temperament. Born in a family of doctors, he successfully completed an initial stint with the family occupation before deciding to venture into pharmaceutical management and currently pursues writing and photography as a passion.

He is the author of popular online blogs ‘Decode Hindu Mythology’ and ‘Fraternity Against Terrorism and Extremism’ and the author of books ‘Vishwamitra – The Man who dared to challenge the Gods’ and ‘The Legend of Parshu-Raam’

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Medium Fast and Furious by Rahul Oak- Review

Book Name         -Medium Fast and Furious
Author                  - Rahul Oak
Publisher              - Scholastic
Number of Pages - 332
Publishing Year   -2017
Edition                  - Paperback
Price                     - 250

Buy books from Amazon

Rating : 4.0

My Review

What is this generation's favorite sport in India? Without doubt we will say, cricket. Cricket has been the favorite sport in India for the past few decades or from 1984 when India won the world cup for the first time, so to say. Medium fast and Furious is the anecdote of Raju Prabhakar,, Teenager in the 90's. Everything in the 90s evoke nostalgia in me, since I was a student in the same era. 

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Million Memories by Pallavi Kodan- Review

Book Name         - Million Memories
Author                  - Pallavi Kodan
Publisher              - Patridge India
Number of Pages - 230
Publishing Year   - 2016
Edition                  - Paperback
Price                     - 158.44

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Rating : 3.5

My Review

Million Memories is an anecdote of three friends Siddhant, Karishma and Ashima. Childhood friends always have a special position in our heart even thought we make as many friends as possible later on. Siddhant, Karishma and Ashima had been the threesome who were inseparable, who stood for each other, lent their shoulders for each other. Ashima is born and brought up in a liberal family , so is Siddhant. While Ashima-even after being a girl- and Siddhant enjoy the freedom, Karishma is subjected to gender bias in her own home.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Inside the Heart of Hope by Rishabh Puri- Review

Book Name         -Inside the heart of hope
Author                  - Rishab Puri
Publisher              - Srishti Publications
Number of Pages - 136
Publishing Year   - 2017
Edition                  - Paperback
Price                     -150

Buy books from Amazon

Rating : 4.0

My Review

Life is never about flowers and fragrance. There is a dark shade of life that we ignore or conveniently turn our back to. When I read articles of kids with heart diseases seeking help, I only thought of the monetary difficulties. Never did it come to my mind, the difficulty faced by the kid in leading a normal life.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Against all odds by Danielle Steel- Review

Book Name         - Against All Odds
Author                  - Danielle Steel
Publisher              - Pan Macmillan
Number of Pages - 400
Publishing Year   -2017
Edition                  - Paperback
Price                     -399

Buy books from Amazon

Rating : 5.0

My Review

Kate Madison leads a normal life with her Adult kids. Never did it occur to her to have a partner in her life, nor did her mother. All her kids are successful in their career but what troubles her most is that except her son Justin, none of her kids have a personal life. While her children start getting settled in their life, Kate finds her love. But, life is never easy.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Demon Hunter of Chotanikkara by S.V. Sujatha- Review

Book Name         - Demon Hunter of Chotanikkara
Author                  - S.V Sujatha
Publisher              -  Aleph Books
Publishing Year   - 2017
Edition                  - Hardcover
Price                     - 358

Buy books from Amazon

Rating : 3.0

My Review

I was born and brought up under the blessings of Chotanikkara Amma. Before getting into the review I would like to give the readers a glimpse of Devi and her temple. The Chottanikkara (correction of JyotiannakkaraDevi Temple (Malayalamചോറ്റാനിക്കര ഭഗവതി ക്ഷേത്രം) is a famous temple of mother goddess Shakthi devi or Rajarajeshwari known as Sree Bhagavathi. Maha lakshmi is supposed to be residing in Chottanikkara along with Lord Vishnu. The temple is located at ChottanikkaraKochi in the southern Indian state of KeralaSree Mahamaya Bhagawati (Aadiparashakthi), the goddess of power, is one of the most popular deities in Kerala and the supreme mother goddess in Hinduism.  People suffering from mental illnesses & commonly visit the temple, as Chottanikkara devi is thought to cure her devotees. One should not miss the 'Guruthi Pooja' in the 'Keezhkkaavu' temple at Chottanikkara. Goddess 'keezhkkaavu devi' is believed to be 'Bhadrakali'(Mahakali), in her fierce form or ugra form. Bhadrakali, is a form of mother Kali, supposed to be born from the third eye of lord Shiva, to kill the demon king 'Daruka'. Guruthi pooja is a ritual done at late evening to invoke goddess Mahakali. Earlier 'Guruthi Pooja' was done only on Fridays. But nowadays, it is performed every day. Mental diseases are believed to be totally cured by Keezhkkaavu Kali. *

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Capri Jalota gets candid

Hey readers
I'm back after a Hiatus with an interview. Meet Capri Jalota author of "-'Then the Doorbell Rang'

Hi Capri
Thanks for joining my virtual Tete a Tete

Kindly give an introduction about you to the readers?
First of all, thanks for choosing to talk to me, Rakhi. Getting to interact with an accomplished writer like yourselves is a sheer pleasure. As for me, I spent most of my initial years in Chandigarh. I had an extremely happy childhood - pampered by parents, a large loving family and some extremely good friends. So, I never took life seriously. But then two things happened – first, my father got diagnosed with cancer and second, after my Mechanical Engineering, I had to leave Chandigarh to work in Gurgaon with Maruti Udyog (now Maruti Suzuki). I got the first real taste of the harsh world and life didn’t seem all that bright and happy any longer. Even on the job front, I felt under achieved and wanted to do something more with my life. It was a good wake up call. Someone said that I should try giving CAT and I did that exactly. That’s how I landed in IIM Ahmedabad. Before that, I had always sold myself short. But, going there gave me the confidence that I could indeed do better things with my life and need to back myself more often. My first job, after campus, was in Management Consulting. It taught me quite a few things, but most importantly, it gave me my first learnings in written communication. Then, healthcare came beckoning and I got the opportunity of working with Fortis Healthcare. The next eight years were spent learning and managing healthcare businesses in India first and Middle East thereafter. I took a break one year back to pen my first novel.
On the personal front, I have just one wife, quite unlike the Middle Eastern traditions, but don’t have much to complain. My wife, Rashmi is super talented and is an art historian, critic and academician. And I have a 9 year old son, Aarav who means the world to me.

How did you decide that writing is your destiny?
I think it is early to say that writing is my destiny but if it turns out that way, you won’t find me complaining.
About few years back, I started writing randomly but much of it didn’t go anywhere. Then one day, I was sitting with my friends in Jumeirah Lake Towers in Dubai and my friend pointed out to a balcony saying “That is from where the woman had jumped” referring to a new article in the previous week about a married woman with kids committing suicide. And that got me thinking.
Women, unlike men, assess situations in a more composite way before arriving at a decision. They weigh all options, study impact on everyone around and sometimes, forfeit their interests for the larger good.
For a woman with kids living in an affluent neighbourhood and to take a decision like this, it would have taken a lot.
It stuck to my mind and I weaved my own story around that incident. Sometime last year, I finalized the plot. Then I quit my job and committed myself to full-time writing this novel and getting it published. So, this is how my first novel – THEN THE DOORBELL RANG became a reality. My piece has nothing to do with the original incident except that the protagonist also stands on the ledge of her balcony one fine morning.

A lot of IIM graduates are becoming writers these days. Has the ambience got anything to do with it?
Not just IIM graduates, a lot of people have taken up writing in general, don’t you think so?!
And I think a lot of it has to do with options and exposure. Twenty years back, making a career in writing seemed ludicrous but not today.  
As for IIMs, they definitely provide their students with key elements necessary for being a good writer – independent thinking, good story telling techniques through structured analysis and above all, the ability to take calculated risks.

Tell us about ‘Then the doorbell rang’?
‘Then the doorbell rang’ is a fiction novel, in the drama/relationship genre. It is being published by Leadstart Publishing and will be released across India on July 15, 2017. Pre-booking has started on Amazon.

As I told you, it all started one evening at a friend’s place. The protagonist of the novel is a woman named Jane. Jane is half Indian, half British who spends her growing up years in Dubai. She is everything that would make anyone jealous – beautiful, rich and successful. The wheels of time turned and she finds herself completely unhappy – sometimes because of her circumstances but mostly because of the choices she makes in life.
And if you think about it, it is not just her. We all go through the same. Our lives and relationships are more often shaped by our choices than by the circumstances.
And I haven’t been pedagogic or preachy about it, tried to keep it subtle throughout. Mostly, the novel is full-on drama with enough twists and turns to keep the readers engrossed till the very end.

What does excite you more. Healthcare, Literature or your Numismatic interest?
I would have to give it to Healthcare, just by the sheer number of years that I spent in it. The other two are relatively newer interests.
On a serious note though, all three have a role to play in my life. Healthcare enables me to connect with people, Literature helps me to connect with myself and coins help me bond with my son as we share this hobby.

How was your publishing journey?
Whoever said writing a book is difficult, never probably published it. Phew, it was the most challenging part. I spent close to two months writing to all sorts of publishing houses. I would check my email every few minutes hoping someone would respond. A few weeks passed by and nothing happened. Those were long anxious days but thankfully, I did get a few responses finally and I chose Leadstart Publishing. In hindsight, I could have done things differently and probably reached out the Publishing houses earlier, while I was still writing the novel. I would strongly advise budding authors to follow this route to avoid any frustrations due to extended time frames in which publishers come back. But all in all, I am happy with the way things have shaped up!

What is your book promotion plan?
Quite a few things planned over the next few months. Book launch is being planned in Chandigarh and might be followed by launches in other cities. Author’s Channel is helping me with it.

Where do you find yourself, five years from now?
Looking at my track record, I have failed squarely at successfully predicting my future. Five years back, I could have never imagined that I would ever publish a book. I mean it was somewhere in the horizon but I was never sure I would do it. So, I dare predict my future – lest I have to bite my tongue.
But hopefully, I would continue writing and see where it goes. I am a firm believer of ‘carpe diem’ and eagerly await to see what life brings with it each day and I would be standing at the turn waiting to cease the day.  

How can the readers reach you?
Well, I am available on Facebook (capri.jalota.7), Instagram (caprijalota) and Twitter (@capri_jalota). If anyone wants to write to me, they can reach me on capri_jalota@yahoo.com

Thank you for this wonderful time.
Thank you Rakhi, it was great to catch up with you. Best wishes to you and your readers. Hope to connect with you again!