28 April, 2016

26 April, 2016

My Top 11 travel tips

I love traveling. After I saw this prompt in #FridayReflections hosted by Sanch and Corinne, how could I not write a post?

Prompt - Write a list of your top 11 travel tips

1. Have some snacks and water handy, always
Even though I love to travel and explore places for hours, I cannot even walk one step if I am hungry. I am not at all foody, but maintain proper time to eat my food and cannot stay hungry for a long time. I always keep some biscuits and water bottle handy, which save me from hunger. 

2. Keep a few things in hand bag to refresh anytime
I think, all women have these things in their hand bag - A face wash, A moisturizing lotion, sunscreen, lip balm and face tissues. I forget at least one of these most of the time and I suffer a lot due to bad weather. 

3. Leave extra space in baggage
I keep some space free in the baggage whenever I travel. We definitely end up buying something in tourist spots and purchasing another bag for these items is difficult, right? I also carry one or two empty shopping covers to keep the unwashed clothes, in case we don't have time to do laundry.

4. Carry something to engage kids if it's a long flight
A tab/ coloring book and pencils/ puzzles/ books etc., help me to engage the kids. If they get bored, they become cranky and it's very difficult to handle their tantrums. 

5. Carry a few important medicines
It's better to carry some basic medicines for fever, cold, sore throat etc., If I am traveling with kids, I carry important syrups and also a prescription if traveling overseas. 

6. Plan accommodation ahead
If it is a known place/ if I am going to stay at someone's place, it is fine. Else, I always research and book my accommodation ahead. It saves money and it is comfortable to head to the hotel straight after travel to take rest/ to refresh. I prefer to stay in a hotel with breakfast included. It makes easy to start tours with good breakfast instead of searching for food in the morning itself.

7. Carry forex
Purchasing forex in airports is very expensive, so, it's better to get forex from banks/ providers before the travel itself. Carry extra cash while touring, to accommodate entrance tickets and bus and train fares. 

8. Plan the tour ahead or Buy local brochures
Many foreign countries provide free brochures in train and bus stations about the local tourist attractions. This is a good start, if you have not planned earlier. A few places will have hop-on-hop-off buses to tourists, these guided tours are easy to start with. Now a days, we have app for everything - be it a subway route map or an app to plan itinerary by covering maximum tourist spots in less time(like tripomatic app).  So, having a smart phone always helps. 
If it's in India, it's better to research about safe tourist places and plan a trip before hand. 

9. Learn about local language and taste local cuisine
Even if you are like me, who is afraid of trying all new tastes, It's better to try the famous cuisine as it is difficult to get that taste anywhere else. Learning a few words in the local language make the travel experience better. You will have good memories too.

10. Take lots of Photos
I don't think, anyone ever forgets to carry a camera or a smart phone to tourist places. Even though photography is charged at most of the places, do your best judgment to decide on carrying a camera inside the tourist attractions. These photos will someday bring a smile on our faces and help us cherish those moments. 

11. Carry clothes as per the local weather
I made this mistake once. I went to a hill station freezing cold in a skirt and with normal sandals and paid price for it. It's better to carry sweaters, scarfs, gloves, proper walking shoes for walking/ trekking, an Umbrella etc.,

I covered my basic checklist that I use for travel. Is there something important that I missed? Please do let me know in comments :-)

Until next time,





Linking this to #FridayReflections. Thanks for the wonderful prompt Corinne and Sanch. Loved writing this post :-)
Write Tribe

Image courtesy: From google, labeled with non commercial reuse

25 April, 2016

5 must read books! #HarryPotterFans

Do you love Harry Potter series like I do? Then, this is for you :-)

5Must-Read Books for Harry Potter Fans

Harry Potter is one of the most popular book series ever written!

Its whimsical characters and magical adventures have captured the hearts of millions. If you’re a Potter Maniac, you probably think that no story can compare those of the mystifying Hogwarts and the boy with the lightning bolt scar on his forehead. But have you read these spellbinding masterpieces?
***Attention Harry Potter Lovers: In honor of J.K. Rowling being named the Top Followed Author on Reader’s Legacy in 2015 we’re holding a 1 week sale on ALL of her books.From April 25th-30th, 2016 any Rowling book is 20% off AND double the LitCoinswill be loaded into your account just for purchasing. Click the link to check out this limited time offer!   ReadersLegacy.com/JKRowling***

1.    The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis  http://bit.ly/1NygYMp

LikeHarry Potter, this series comes in 7 installments and features a secret world full of wonders, its magical inhabitants, and the child-heroes who must save it from destruction. 


2.    The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien  http://bit.ly/1VeZwof

A prequel to the famed “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, this delightful classic takes readers far from reality as it follows a hobbit named Bilbo Baggins on an unexpected and perilous quest to help his friends reclaim their home, which has been taken over by a gold-loving dragon.


3.    The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien  http://bit.ly/1qCCSJj

Told in 3 parts, this is the story of Bilbo Baggins’s nephew Frodo who, with the help of some unlikely allies, must travel to the ends of the earth to destroy an ancient ring, before its evil power brings his world to ruin.


4.    Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland by Lewis Carroll  http://bit.ly/1YDW3NQ

This endearing story tells of an imaginative young girl who falls down a rabbit hole and finds herself in a world full of whimsical (and more-than-slightly backwards) characters, where nothing is practical and anything is possible. Alice and her topsy-turvy friends return in the sequel,Through the Looking Glass(  http://bit.ly/1rcoVmm).


5.    The Inheritance Series (Eragon) by Christopher Paolini  http://bit.ly/1WbUnfs

4 fantastic novels tell what happens when a farm boy named Eragon finds a mysterious dragon egg, it hatches, and his life is eternally changed as he becomes the last known Dragon Rider…and the primary target of a rising evil empire.


These are just some of the countless wonderful fantasy novels out there. By expanding your literary horizons you will gain a deeper love of reading, and acquire a tasteful appreciation for other authors/genres – even ones that may not be your favorite. Check out these books, or one of your own finding, and tell us what you think!
As an added perk of Reader’s Legacy’s Rowling celebration, we will be holding a special 20% off sale for each of her novels from April 25th to April 30th –ReadersLegacy.com/JKRowling
The sale not only celebrates J.K. Rowling, but was also brings attention for a special grant program we have created in order to give away 1 million physical books in support of literacy programs! Spreading a love of books, and ending illiteracy around the world is 100% possible, and with the help of reader’s on the site, we believe will be one step closer to achieving that goal! Get in on this sale HERE.

 Until next time,

23 April, 2016

Karna's alter ego by Surendra Nath - [Book Review]

Book details:
Title: Karna's Alter Ego
Author: Surendra Nath
Genre: Fiction
Publisher: Dream house publication, Zenith Star
No of pages: 256
Source: A free e-copy from the author

Blurb:
Karna, the ill-fated hero of Mahabharata. Many feel he deserved to win. If only luck had favored him...

5000 years later, we have a man named Vasu, who is much like Karna – illegitimate birth, very talented but denied all credits in life, rejected in love, misses a medal in the Asian games, gets caught for telling an innocent lie, overlooked for promotion. He begins to identify himself with Karna, and interestingly Karna appears to him after every debacle to assuage and encourage him. 

It seems Vasu is Karna’s alter ego.

My Review:
The plot is about a poor but intelligent and hard working person Vasu and his journey of life. Fate is not always with Vasu and he faces many problems in each phase of his life. He gets inspired by Karna, a mythological character in the Hindu epic Mahabharatha and relates himself to Karna as they both struggled to withstand against fate. Be it an illusion or through meditation, whatever may be the reason, Karna appears before him to listen to his problems and guides him in a right direction.
Interesting right?

I too loved this plot by reading the blurb and wanted to see how the author can give advice for current  generation through the mythological character Karna. The narration is very simple to follow and I enjoyed the book till half. But, after that, it seemed like dragging by providing more lectures on morals through Karna. It became boring, repetitive and very preachy. The climax is good, though.

I loved the bonus information provided at the end of the book about Karna's life incidents. It is refreshing to read Mahabharatha in the perspective of Karna. The questions raised by Vasu to Karna and Karna's replies are justifiable. This book teaches positive spirit. 

The moral at the end is loud and clear -


 Always raise up high when stuck with problems and never lose hope. The best always waits for you which you deserve the most.

My Rating: 3.5/5

Purchase Links:






Flipkart

About the Author:
Surendra tries his hand at writing fiction off and on. A few of his short stories have been published in books and magazines. 'Karna’s Alter Ego' is his first attempt at writing a full length novel. Earlier he wrote a novella that sank without a trace.

For a living, at 58, he runs after children in KiiT International School, and the strength needed for all this chasing, he draws from his previous experience in the defence forces. He also publishes a children’s magazine – 'Kloud 9'. He is the architect of a Children’s Lit Fest, that is into its third year now in 2015.

Yes, he is married and lives happily with his wife and daughter at Cuttack. He has distant dreams of retiring as an author.

Until next time,








Ps: I have received this free e-book from the author in exchange of an honest review and this is my unbiased opinion.

21 April, 2016

The Winemakers by Jan Moran - Author Interview

Here is a romantic novel by Jan Moran. I am glad to feature his interview today in my blog post. 
Thanks Jan :-)

Book Description:


1956: When Caterina Rosetta inherits a cottage in the countryside of Italy from a grandmother she's never known, she discovers a long-buried family secret -- a secret so devastating, it threatens the future of everything her mother has worked for.


Many years before, her mother's hard-won dreams of staking her family's claim in the vineyards of California came to fruition; but as an old murder comes to light, and Caterina uncovers a tragic secret that may destroy the man she loves, she realizes her happiness will depend on revealing the truth of her mother's buried past.


From author Jan Moran comes The Winemakers, a sweeping, romantic novel that will hold you in its grasp until the last delicious sip.


​Buy the book:   Amazon  ~   Barnes & Noble  ~   Kobo  ~  Chapters  ~  Books-a-Million  ~   Book Depository   ~  iBooks

Author Interview:


What are your favorite wines?
So many wonderful wines... Some that have special meaning to me include Brunello di Montalcino, one of the wines featured in The Winemakers, as well as Moone-Tsai’s CorLeonis Cabernet Sauvignon, Chassagne Montrachet, and the Bordeaux: Pomerol, Saint-Émilion, and Margaux.

Although I don’t drink a lot, for casual evenings I might enjoy an Argentine Malbec, a Californian Pinot Noir, or a refreshing Sancerre. Every wine-producing region has a unique terroir, or set of environmental characteristics, which make the wines of each area special. When traveling, I love to sample regional wines.

Favorite travel spot?

I love to travel and have been fortunate to have seen much of the world. Favorite places? Wine regions, of course. Napa and Tuscany rank high on my list. Paris, the south of France, Hong Kong, London, New York, Austin, San Francisco, Hawaii, and so many other places. I’d love to visit the wine region of Argentina, too.

Favorite dessert?

Baking is a hobby and I’m on a quest to master the perfect cheesecake. Besides that, fruit tartes, chocolate mousse, ice cream... I seldom discriminate against desserts.

Do you have any hobbies?

Wine tasting, of course! And reading, traveling, antique markets, walking on the beach, swimming, snow skiing, spas…
Is there a message you want readers to take from your books?


Hope, triumph over adversity, appreciation of other cultures, belief in your own abilities.


Author's Bio:


Jan Moran is a Rizzoli bestselling and award winning author. She writes historical women's fiction for St. Martin's Press (Scent of Triumph, The Winemakers), contemporary women's fiction (Flawless, Beauty Mark, Runway), and nonfiction books (Vintage Perfumes, Fabulous Fragrances). Her stories are smart and stylish, and written with emotional depth. Jan often draws on her international travel and business experiences, infusing her books with realistic details.


The Midwest Book Review and Kirkus have recommended her books, calling her heroines strong, complex, and resourceful. She likes to talk to readers at www.janmoran.com and on social media. She lives in southern California and loves lattes and iced coffee, anything chocolate, and Whole Foods Double Green smoothies to balance it all out.


Connect with the author:  Website   Twitter   Pinterest   Facebook   Instagram

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Until next time,








19 April, 2016

99 things that I love - A biiig list :-)

What a nice topic for #FridayReflections hosted by Sanch and Corinne!
99 things that I love - A very big list, most probably the biggest list that I have ever made in my life.

Here goes the list, not essentially in the order of my preference.

1. Dance - It used to be part of my life from childhood
2. Books - you knew it already if you are following my blog
3. Travel - Any time, any day, I am always ready to visit a new place!
4. Positivity - It shows up on your face always
5. A smile - Can brighten our lives
6. Family - Always happy being with family members
7. Laziness - I love it :-)
8. Sleep - Absolutely love it
9. Soups and Salads - You might not believe but I enjoy having different soups and salads
10. Facebook - Scrolling through Facebook has become a daily ritual
11. Snow - I love to dance in snow
12. Fall colours - It's wonderful to see fall colours
13. Rainbow - From childhood, I love to see a rainbow
14. Rain - Who doesn't love pitter patter rain?
15. Sudoko - Lost touch recently but I can do sudoko puzzles continuously
 for hours
16. Blogging - A window to express my feelings
17. Reading - Not a pass time, but it transmits me to a different world
18. Painting - Not a serious artist though
19. Singing - Group singing is fine, solo might not suit for my voice :-)
20. Writing - Great form of expression and stress buster
21. Playing with kids - I might forget time playing with them
22. Walking - Used to walk long distances from childhood and I love it
23. Listening to Rehman's music - Just Wow!
24. Old Hindi pop songs - Do you remember Sonu nigam's and euphoria albums?
25. My love for my native language Telugu - My mother tongue, Known as 'Italian of the East'
26. Fruits - Not a foody and fortunately I love fruits. Especially Custard apple 'Seethaphal'
27. Andhra Sweet 'Pootharekulu'
28. Kindle - handy and I can read books anytime
29. smell of rain
30. Smell of new books
31. watching a horrror movie - Love it, if it's with my spouse
32. An unexpected holiday
33. An impromptu travel plan
34. Carroms - Love to play this game with family members
35. Coffee - Not a coffee addict, but gradually I am loving it
36. A brownie with Ice cream - Yummy!
37. Gajar ka halwa - Indian Sweet
38. Gulab jamoon with Icecream
39. Blueberry muffins
40. Donuts - I am fan of Dunkin Donuts
41. Cup cakes - Except chocolate flavour
42. Smoothies - Mango smoothy the best!
43. Colours - Lux green and peach
44.  Being calm when angry
45. Ignoring the jealous people
46. Staying calm and thinking of alternatives when under pressure - this trait helped me a lot
47. Scented candles
48. A hearty chat with my best friend
49. Reading out stories to my kids
50. Listening to Ilayaraja instrumental music
51. Flowers - especially roses and colourful Tulips :-)
52. Historic places - I love learning about history
53. Scenic places - Mountains and cool areas
54. My laptop
55. Smart phone - Don't know how I will manage without it :-) Sooo addicted
56. Content writing / Writing articles
57. Writing a review - be it a product/ book
58. Teaching
59. Learning to do crafts
60. Trying my hand at cooking
61. Kindness
62. Honesty
63. Software testing - how can I forget, it should top my list!
64. Logical thinking
65. Photography - Though I am a beginner, My Samsung galaxy S6 is helping
66. Faith in God
67. Browsing about tourist spots and planning a trip - I love to do this always
68. My credit card
69. My home
70. Hot shower
71. Nature
72. Tea - only with ginger
73. Being grateful and showing gratitude
74. My work
75. Environment around me which is very supportive from childhood
76. Personal space
77. Instagram and its filters
78. Long drives
79. Full moon days
80. Beaches in the evenings
81. Fancy ear rings
82. Shopping with my sis - I don't love shopping that much, but with my sis, it's wonderful :-)
83. Watching old Telugu mythological movies
84. Being a center of attraction
85. Frocks and skirts
86. Shopping Kindle e-books
87. People who inspired me/ inspiring me till date
88. Temple - A peaceful place for introspection
89. Take it easy attitude
90. Science subject
91. Algebra - I love it and find it easy
92. Aerobics
93. Zumba
94. Smile of kids
95. Morning sunrise
96. Beautiful sunsets
97. Watching my old photos
98. Making a flower rangoli - Big ones that they do for Onam, right? Like that.
99. Last, but not least. Supportive husband and parents


Wow! it took around 30 mins to think and write this list. It seems I don't know much about myself :-)
However, a very nice experience.Thanks for the great prompt and excellent link up Sanch and Corinne. Linking this to #MondayMusings too.


Until next time,









#MondayMusings


PS: Image from Google labeled for commercial reuse.

15 April, 2016

Raakshas by Piyush Jha - [Book Review]

Book Details:
Title: Raakshas
Author: Piyush Jha
Genre: Suspense, thriller
No of pages: 242
Publisher: Westland ltd
Source: A free review copy from the author through writers melon

Blurb:
What made him a serial killer? Was he born with homicidal tendencies? Did a harrowing childhood render him criminally insane? The questions haunt, Additional Commissioner of Police, Maithili Prasad as she discovers the horrific murders across Mumbai. As she spearheads the greatest manhunt in Mumbai s history, she s determined to contain the reign of terror unleashed by the ruthless serial killer. But before that she must grapple with her personal demons that surface to plague her with self-doubt. Just as it seems that Maithili has begun to understand the deep-rooted resentment that drives the serial killer, he turns around and makes her the object of his revenge. Will she emerge unscathed from this ordeal? This thrilling narrative of a serial killer's life and the unusual and challenging investigation to catch him, uncovers a chilling trail of unspeakable torment and cruelty the tale of... Raakshas.

My Thoughts:

As blurb mentions, the plot is about a serial killer and the circumstances in his life which changed him to a Rakshas/ demon. There are two parallel stories covered from the starting - one about the life of serial killer and another about the woman police officer Maithili. It is interesting to see how these two stories are run in parallel and connect at the end. 

I am not a big fan of psycho- thrillers but loved this book. I usually like murder investigations and detective novels, so loved the chase between Maithili and the killer. The narration is gripping and I couldn't close the book until I finished reading. It surely is an on the edge thriller. The author also gave a bonus section at the end of the novel about the serial killers in India, their mindset, and the reasons behind. I liked the way the author mentions in the epilogue that serial killers have serious mental illness. Serial killers have some defect in their brain which causes them not to feel the pain of others and not even their's. That is the reason they are strong and can sustain  large blows and severe torture.  


The book cover and title are very apt. The pace of the story is more than medium and had that suspense element till the end. Characters are portrayed in very detail. 

Being a sensitive person I am, it was difficult to read about the torture that Raakshas's father puts him in his childhood. I can understand how the circumstances and society around us mold the kids and their future, but the father's episode and the sadhu's activities made me upset even after completing the novel. 

Overall, it's a wonderful read and I recommend this to suspense lovers.


My Rating: 5/5
I couldn't think of anything negative :-)

Purchase Links:





Flipkart


About the Author:
Piyush Jha is an acclaimed film director, ad filmmaker and the author of bestselling crime-fiction novels. A student political leader at university, he pursued a career in advertising management after acquiring an MBA degree. Later, he switched tracks, first to make commercials for some of the country s largest brands, and then to write and direct feature films. Piyush s films Chalo America, King of Bollywood and Sikandar are noted for their unconventional subject matter and for their relevance to contemporary society. Piyush s earlier novels Mumbaistan, Compass Box Killer and Anti-Social Network are page-turners that explore the gritty, noir landscape of crime in Mumbai. Currently, Piyush is developing a crime-based TV show for a leading entertainment channel and he s also working on his next feature film as a director/writer. Raakshas- India s No. 1 Serial Killer is Piyush s fourth crime thriller novel.

Until next time,






PS: I have received a free kindle copy from the author in exchange of a review and this is my honest opinion on the book.

Share some love :)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Feel free to give feedback :)