23 December, 2015

Chronicler of the Undead by Mainak Dhar - [Book Review]

Book Details:

Book Details: 


Title: Chronicler of the Undead

Author: Mainak Dhar

Publishers: Westland books

Genre: Thriller

Source: A free review copy from the author through writersmelon.com

Blurb:

A new thriller from the author of the Amazon.com bestselling Alice in Deadland trilogy.

When there were still people around to talk to, I would introduce myself as a drinker with a writing problem. It sounded witty at the time, and certainly got a smile once in a while from the ladies. None of that matters now. There are no people left to read my books, and nobody left to listen to my attempts at wit.

Now it's just me, sitting in my house on the hill, watching the undead rampage through what we humans once called our world. I sometimes wonder why I still live when those much younger, stronger, smarter and fitter than me perished. Maybe it's just dumb luck. But maybe I am being left alive for a purpose. Nobody may have cared much for my novel, but maybe this is what I was meant to write. Maybe this is what I was meant to be. The chronicler of the undead. This is my story.

My Review:

This is the story of a person who was an ex-army officer in Gangtok who is living alone in a bunglaw at a hill away from the zombies roaming around the village down the hill. This story is basically the journal of that person.

This is my first book about zombies and somehow I am not scared and I find these zombies funny from the info that I have known about them before reading the book. We knew zombies walking with blood and wounds, without any emotions like robots and eating people. We also know from movies how zombies eat or infect others making the victim also a zombie. So, with this basic knowledge, I have started reading this chronicle.

Author's writing style is quirky throughout the book making it a fantastic read. I loved the language used which is very easy to follow. The narration is interesting and I wanted to complete this book in one go. The way the author explains the situations in a straight forward manner, how he plans to combat 'Moreko' (zombie) attacks with very few weapons and with better planning, how he mentions the lessons that he learned from these incidents is interesting. 

My Rating: 4.5/ 5

I would recommend this to everyone who likes to read a thriller with a humourous touch.

PS: Received this free copy from Writersmelon.com in exchange of a review and this is my unbiased opinion on the book.

Until next time,



The Modern Mughal Mentality by Afshan Naheed Hashmi - Book Spot Light


Here is a book on a specific management principle 'Jugaad' which can be applied in contemporary world. Interesting? Read more on The Modern Mughal Mentality.

About the Book:

The Modern Mughal Mentality transforms hardships and difficulties into success stories by introducing the Jugaad Management Principle Business Model, which can be applied to any business, anywhere.

For the purpose of this book, the term Jugaad will be defined as “obtaining your objectives by maximizing resources through thinking out of the box.”

Following this new business model will inspire all types of companies around the world, no matter how big or small, to create innovative mentalities, products, and strategies. The Modern Mughal Mentality reveals ways in which companies everywhere can benefit from this new business model.

It also reveals ways in which western companies can learn to be successful in India. Executives of multi-national corporations, government officials, and even American and global small business owners who have no plans to do business in India will benefit from the innovative and revolutionary approach to maximizing resources that The Modern Mughal Mentality delivers.

Multi-sector success stories illustrate the various components of the Jugaad Management Principle Business Model. Specific questions in the “Modern Mughal Mentality Exercises” at the end will guide the reader through putting the Jugaad Management Principle Business Model to work for their business.

Implementing the model can lead to increased profit, maximized resources, and a more efficient way of dealing with today’s turbulent economy. The Modern Mughal Mentality also identifies international opportunities in various industries – providing practical solutions to take the guesswork out of the equation.

The Modern Mughal Mentality’s four chapters reveal how the same mentality, which has enabled India to enjoy economic success in today’s turbulent times can radically transform any business. The Jugaad Management Principle Business Model can be used to maximize resources and increase profitability in many sectors. Success stories, important lessons to remember, and opportunities for growth in both India and around the world are given. The “Modern Mughal Mentality Exercises” at the end leads the reader to think creatively and use The Modern Mughal Mentality to create innovative and cost-effective solutions to problems on their own. Regardless of where the reader lives, or what type of business they run, they will be able to improve their bottom line by implementing these changes.

About the Author:

Dr. Afshan Naheed Hashmi


afshanhashmi.com/

drafshanhashmi.com/

Dr. Afshan Naheed Hashmi was born in India and educated both in India and USA. She now lives in Rockville, Maryland, USA.

Dr. Hashmi is an author, award-winning entrepreneur, speaker, educator, and a book, movie, make-up and beauty products reviewer, film critic and Radio and TV show host, a successful regulatory and business development and scientific professional with more than a decade of experience.

She specializes in making innovative and value creation market entry strategies for companies looking to enter India. She also lectures and delivers seminars on “Doing Business in India,” including culture training. An award‐winning entrepreneur, Dr. Hashmi has coordinated meetings and accommodations for U.S. business delegations in India. She has facilitated the introduction of U.S. businesses to potential U.S. and international partners, and vice‐versa. Dr. Hashmi maintains an extensive professional network that is required to launch initiatives especially in the U.S., India, Qatar, UAE and Bahrain.

Currently, every month she delivers lectures on India's various aspects to a very large audience. Dr. Afshan Naheed Hashmi has an amazingly diverse career with extensive media experience. She is very popular in India, and many newspapers in India in English, Hindi, and Urdu having written about her including, "The Hindu", "Hindustan Times", and "The Indian Express" to name a few ( (drafshanhashmi.com/id16.html ).She has also appeared on major television channels in India and on TV Asia in the USA.

Dr.Hashmi has had a total reach of over one billion people worldwide via print, TV, and online. Dr. Hashmi is the author of two blogs,”India Business Innovations”

( indiabusinessinnovations.wordpress.com/ ) and “Connecting with the Dignitaries”

( connectingdignitaries.wordpress.com/ ).


Contact Information

Website  Facebook  Twitter  Blog   Goodreads


Purchase Links

Amazon   Barnes and Noble  Kobo

Until next time,

22 December, 2015

Mimi's adventures in Baking Gingerbread Men - Book Spot Light - Guest Post

Hello.. This time, I am introducing to you a cookbook!

Are you not very comfortable in baking, like me? Do you rely on cookbooks to try new recipes and get tips? Then, this one is for you.
Happy to share a guest post from the author Alyssa on the importance of Illustrations in Children's books

Book Synopsis

Embark on a baking adventure with Mimi where she will measure, mix, and bake her way to the perfect batch of gingerbread men. If Mimi can do it, so can you!

Mimi's Adventures in Baking Gingerbread Men is the third book in the Mimis Adventures in Baking series.

PURCHASE

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

About The Author

Alyssa’s Website / Twitter / Facebook

Chef Alyssa has been baking since she was a little girl in her grandmother's kitchen. Since graduating from the Culinary Institute of America she has worked for famous chefs and elite companies such as the Ritz Carlton, Tom Colicchio, Norman Van Aken and Gray Kunz. She currently is the Executive Chef at Riverwalk Bar and Grill on the Historic nook of New York City, Roosevelt Island. She also has a boutique custom cake company called AllyCakesNYC where she creates cakes to appease the imagination. Through her journey of baking she developed Mimi, her very own miniature version of herself.

As a child she loved baking and everything that came with it. As an adult and food lover she realized there was something missing when she frequented bookstores. A interactive children's cookbook. And we are not talking about a boring old cookbook for kids with lots and lots of recipes, and some pictures. Children these days have just as much interest in the kitchen as there parents do, but the ordinary cookbook is just not going to cut it. She created Mimi's Adventures in Baking to give children and adults a way to get into the kitchen and allow the child to become the chef and the adult the assistant. With each book has one recipe and an interactive storyline the child can read, and at the end go into the kitchen and do what Mimi did! And for the "non-baking" parent, these elite pastry chef recipes are tested and ready for even the most inexperienced baker! Impress other moms with Mimi's creations!

Mimi's Adventures in Baking will also teach children how to measure, mix and bake their way through the kitchen while also giving safety tips along the way. No more boring cookbooks! Now there is a fun, exciting and educational way to learn how to bake!

Brought to you by Worldwind Virtual Book Tours

Guest Post


Why a Children’s Book Illustrator is Important

I believe illustration is key to the success of a children’s book. Most of the time they are going to be more intrigued by the illustrations than they are by what the book is actually about. Let’s think about it, you walk into a book store and a child is not reading every book they see they are gravitating towards what illustration speaks to them. Which one pops? Which one is more colorful than the rest? Which one says “Choose me! Pick me!” This can become difficult for a lot of authors because you have poured your heart and soul into this book for probably years, and you have always envisioned your characters a certain way. Here lies the hard part… allowing an illustrator to take control and bring your story to life. I think choosing a style of illustration that fits your theme is very important, but finding the illustrator that the story speaks to is so much more important.

Illustrators are like authors in a different form. They need to be able to be given the same freedom the author was given. Allow your illustrator to bring your story to life because those pictures are what will grab a child’s attention immediately. Each one of my books have been such a great process for me because after the second book I started seeing the character development that was transpiring. Once the third book arrived I almost felt as if Mimi had become a person with real feelings and true emotions. My illustrator, Chiara Civati, absolutely fell in love with the character and the book which made my process so much easier. She saw what I saw, she understood her character and with the power of her pencil she can change her from being a fun happy go lucky little girl to a confused amateur baker. She creates a balance that I could have only dreamed of. Finding the illustrator that can bring that balance to life is what you need to look for. The excitement of becoming a published author can sometimes cloud your judgement to make a quick decision to get your book out and on the market faster. Do not under any circumstance make that mistake. Your book will be out and on the shelves forever (hopefully!) so the last thing you want is to look at your book and say “Oh, I should have done that differently.” You want to look at your book on a shelf with pride and excitement.


The illustrations are not just decoration to the text. They enhance the story and emotions of each character. The setting encourages a child to go back to different pictures over and over, noticing new things, reading characters' emotions and interactions, and finding possible secondary subplots that are only told through the pictures. Below is one of the first sketches of Mimi when she was in the beginning stages. 

“Picture books stimulate a state of mind in children that words alone can't achieve”, says J. Richard Gentry in Psychology Today.

Choose the illustrator that will create a miniature world where children understand what they are reading, and allow young readers to analyze the story. When children are having difficulty, the illustrations can help them figure out the meaning of what they are reading. With my books this is very relevant. I wanted to teach children how to bake in a fun and interactive way. I believed that a cookbook shouldn’t just be picture, recipe, and procedure. I wanted it to be a fun story where the child can see Mimi doing it, and they can comprehend the text through illustration. Children are taught basic fundamental skills through picture books, so why not cooking or baking? I created a world where counting, following directions, math and measuring are fun… but not without the help of my illustrator!


Writing a children’s book is fun and rewarding, but finding your missing half aka your illustrator is key to your success. Remember “A picture is worth a thousand words” … Choose wisely!

Until next time,

18 December, 2015

The Holiday Killer by Holly Hunt - Book Spot Light

A thriller this time. I love Hollywood movies which were made in these lines - alone at home, Christmas season, snow and a psychopath on a hunt. A perfect on the edge thriller, right? 

Today's Book Spotlight is on 'The Holiday Killer' by Holly Hunt. Participate in the raffle copter giveaway :-)







Crime / Thriller
Date Published: December 7, 2015

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Happy Holidays…


Around the world, Christmas Eve is a time of joy, hope and new beginnings, where children open presents, parents smile, and all is right with the world.

Except in Matryville.

Holidays are dreaded, rather than anticipated. A killer is on the loose, and he strikes as parents hide their kids, fearing the bogeyman’s wrath…

Liz Rhodes, Special Detective at the Matryville Central Police Department, is heading the investigation of the Holiday Killer. She’s close on his tail, a suspect in her grasp…

… and then her son is taken.

Will Liz be able to track down the Killer before it’s too late? Or will Jamie pay the price for her arrogance? Only time will tell...

EXCERPT

A young boy, five years old, sat sleepily behind his mum's recliner, watching the fireplace in front of him. On the clock behind him, midnight ticked slowly closer. The Christmas decorations around the room were gaudy, tired, and past their lifespan, but they were heirlooms and well-loved, so his mother continued to pull them out every year.

The boy tilted forward a little, yawning. It was well and truly past his bedtime, but he was definitely going to stay up to see Santa Claus.

The clock ticked over to midnight, and a rustling emerged from the chimney. Tom looked up, suddenly wide awake, and peered around the armchair to the chimney. Grains of soot dropped from the chimney into the fireplace below, and Tom hid a little more, watching the fireplace with trepidation.

Then the rustling stopped, and Tom watched the fireplace. But nothing happened.

He peeked out a little more, his heart starting to sink with disappointment. Maybe Santa didn't come if you were waiting for him?

Suddenly the front door clicked open and Tom gasped, hiding behind the chair, watching. He could hear the door creaking open, and feel the slow gust of cold as the wind from outside crept into the warm house. A large, bulky man stepped into Tom's view, dressed in a red suit, but lacking a beard or white hair. Tom watched him with one eye from behind the chair, and stared. Santa!

The man turned to look at him, smiling, and gestured for the boy to follow him. But Tom hesitated. This man was dressed like Santa, but his parents had taught him to be wary of strangers. Should he go? Or should he run upstairs and tell his parents about this?

The man gestured again, then reached into his large sack and pulled out a small present, perfectly wrapped, and held it out to him.

Tom emerged slowly from the chair, stepping slowly toward Santa. The bulky man smiled and headed for the front door, gesturing after him for Tom to follow. Tom looked at the present and cautiously followed the man to the front door, looking out. He couldn't see the man, but that didn't mean he was gone.

Suddenly something grabbed him from behind, pinning his arms to his sides and covering his mouth and nose with a large hand. Tom tried to scream, to wriggle out, but the man was much stronger than him, and he was cutting off his air.

The man carried him from the house, managing to steer him out without the kicking boy knocking anything over, and threw the boy into the trunk of his car. Winded, on the verge of passing out from oxygen deprivation, Tom weakly gulped in air as he watched a second shape carefully shut the door to the house, leaving behind no sign.


About the Author






Butcher by day, author by night, Holly spends her days off writing, playing in her garden and watching superhero cartoons. Holly lives with her husband Matthew and her cat Talia al-Kitty in a two-bedroom flat crammed with comics, video games, books and movie memorabilia. An active cosplayer, Holly and Matthew take time out of their days to entertain kids as various DC comics characters, and make their own costumes (when Real Life allows).

Contact Links


Purchase Links



Giveaway
eBook Copies of previous 6 novels.






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Until next time,

15 December, 2015

First Brush on the Canvas - Anthology - [Book Review]

Book Details:

Title: First Brush on the Canvas

Genre: Romance, Thriller, Comedy, Short stories, Anthology

Publisher: Half baked beans

Source: A free review copy from writersmelon

About the Book:

'Le Siffleur' and his magic. Vampires, guardians' adventures at night. Coffee, love and a new couple. Imli and her mother in a complex web of darkness. A small town girl confused about virginity. Michael Jaikishen and his writing endeavours. Child adoption by a gay couple. Mahabharat - a modern tale in an epic form. The spine-chilling tale of Tina and Uncle Joe. A juicy love story by our guest author Sujata Parashar. These and many other unputdownable stories in this book.



Purchase the book here.


My review:

This book is a collection of stories of 3 genres - Love, comedy and Horror. These are handpicked stories edited by Priyanka Roy Banerjee from nationwide short story competition organized by writersmelon.com. So, I expected them to be the best of a lot and it didn't disappoint me at all. I didn't enjoy stories from comedy section. All other stories are fantastic.


I loved the quotes before each story. Some which I liked,


There is only one tip for good writing - the subject or the story should have a soul of its own. And it should be satisfying for the reader, not only emotionally, but intellectually as well. - Deepak Kripal

A novel would have one character, or many, depending on your story. But whenever a character is introduced, that person must come alive on your pages. - Madhuri Iyer

There was a time when success really meant getting what I wanted - name, fame, money. Now success is simply the ability to live each day fully, facing whatever comes your way, without brooding over the past or without agonizing over the future in worry, and being happy in the moment. - AVIS Viswanathan
Some of the stories that liked:

Popping the Cherry by Amit Nangia
A funky teenage story of a small town girl who is confused with the concept of virginity. I liked the way story is narrated and the unexpected twist given by the author at the end.

Watermelon: Cut and dried by Sujata Parashar
This is a guest story for this book by prolific writer Sujata. I liked the characterization very well. The author builds up the character of protagonist Kanak very well and we will be in sync with what she thinks and can relate to her character. The flow of the story is smooth and interesting.


Tina by Diptee Raut
A thriller with a twist at the end. The narration is interesting and the way the author planned the climax is good.

Lepidoptera by Stuti Chandra
What can I say about this story? dark or mysterious? Enjoyed reading this. It's on the edge thriller.

My Rating: 3/5

About the Authors:
Uttiya Roy – Nourished with Bangla literature, he aspires to change the world someday writing in English. 

Upasana Bhattacharjee – Our youngest writer is still a student, but that doesn’t reflect in the matured story she’s written dealing with inconclusive logics and paradoxes. 

Stuti Chandra – She writes because she’s alive. This lovely lady is from Patna and has dipped her nose in English Literature at Delhi.

Shaily Bhargava – A photographer, a logophile and an Equity Technical Analyst – all in one. 

Arunav Chowdhury – He’s a movie buff and a news junkie rolled into one, who writes wonderful modern takes on the age old Mahabharat.

Rafaa Dalvi – A Mumbaikar, an engineer, a blogger and a prolific writer. He’s already made his presence in three anthologies and likes to experiment with different genre.

Diptee Raut – A quilter, blogger, quirky mom, an amazing writer &co-winner of Melonade’4. 

Abhishek Mukherjee – Have you read his blog posts yet? You have to read his humorous takes on Mythology to believe he’s the best.

Anwesha Ray – An amazingly sensitive writer, she lives and works in Bangalore.
Avishek Basu Mallick He’s the winner of Melonade’4. If you wish to laud him for more, he’s an engineer and an MBA, working in Bangalore and a featured writer on Sportskeeda

Arijit Ghose - Blend Carnatic music with exceptional satire and the result is Arijit Ghose. 

Amit Nangia - For those working in MNCs for years, he’s your inspiration. Amit’s first novel has just released after facing many rejections but that didn’t deter him from writing. 

Sujata Parashar - Author of the immensely popular ‘In Pursuit Of’ series & a wonderful poet. 

Until next time,


PS: I have received free review copy from author through writersmelon.com and this is my honest opinion on this book.

All we really need is love by LeRon L Barton - [Book Review]

Book Details:

Title: All we really need is love
Author: LeRon L Barton
Genre: Romance, non fiction, dating

Source: A free review copy from the author through Reading Addiction Virtual book tours



Blurb:

All We Really Need Is Love ponders the questions: How is love found, how love is kept, How love is lost, and How love is found again. In this book you will read stories from people in all walks of life in all different types of relationships – straight, LGBTQ, interracial, long distance, and more. Listen as a teenager shares the excitement of a first love, the nervousness of a long time boyfriend proposing to his girlfriend, a determined woman traveling thousands of miles to be with that special someone, and when a young man realizes he met his soul mate. Love is not all roses though, as the book explores why relationships break apart with stories of betrayal, divorce, and heartache. All We Really Need Is Love offers an honest look into relationships and how people feel about love.

Buy the book here.

My review:

If you want to read something real here about love, this book is for you. This is not a novel or a story. The book covers the experiences of a few people, both young and old on their love life. It covers the actual things that worked for them to be a happy couple. These experiences are captured in basic Q&A format, which makes it more interesting to read. Questions are fun and they could extract some wonderful suggestions on a happy love life. Falling in love for the first time is easy, but how do we keep it? How can we maintain same inclination, attraction towards each other for a long time? How we move on if we fail and how we can get the love back into our lives? Those are the kind of questions you might get answered after reading the book.

This book also raises some important questions - Does Love really exists? How do you perceive a happy love life? Is Love different for each one of us? 

Though it's interesting to read real life experiences of people in Q&A format, it might become boring after some time. So, I recommend this to teenagers who has enough patience to read and learn from experiences.Participate in the GiveAwway and win $10 Amazon gift card :-)

My Rating: 3/5

About the Author:



LeRon Barton (1978 – ) was born in Kansas City, Mo. Encouraged by his Mother to write, he attended Paseo Academy Fine Arts High-school to hone his craft. Mentored by famed writer Stan Banks, Barton began to write and recite poetry in KC and contribute to an underground zine. Graduating from high-school in 1996, Barton would continue to write and commit petty crime until 1999, when he would attend college in San Diego, Ca, and return to KC the following year. In 2005 after being laid off from a telecom company, Barton returned to San Diego and began writing screen plays and volumes of poetry. In 2010, he created “Windowshopz.com,” a website that featured writing, music, fashion, travel, and movies. He would also start what would become, “Straight Dope.” After a turbulent 2012, Barton relocated to The Bay Area and started, “Mainline Publications,” an online publications firm that would release controversial works. The first project, “Straight Dope: A 360 degree look into American drug culture,” a book about how drugs are intertwined into American life, was released in February 2013. All We Really Need is Love, a collection of love stories was released in Nov 2015. LeRon’s writing has appeared on websites such as The Good Men Project, Salon, Those People, Gangsters Inc, Gorilla Convict, Black Millennials, and The Elephant Journal. You can contact him on Twitter

Contact Information

Website: www.mainlinepub.com

Facebook: Facebook.com/ninjagaiden78

Twitter: @MainlineLeRon

Blog: www.mainlinepub.com

Give Away:
a Rafflecopter giveaway



Until next time,





14 December, 2015

Time for retrospection - End of the year 2015

Time flew quick and we are almost to the end of the year 2015.

17 days to go to welcome new year with new hopes and aspirations :-)

My mind is going on retrospect mode now, thinking what went well and what went wrong in the current year. This is the time of the year when I start making a lot of lists too.

Ex: my top 10 blog posts with maximum hits,
Best books I have read in 2015,
 lessons learnt in 2015 (both at professional and personal space) etc.,

By the way, I might not have mentioned earlier,I love making lists. I love to list down my achievements, boast about it, feel proud, inspired and start the new year with more positivity. I don't want to make lists on my failures though I want to learn some lessons on what not to repeat in the next year. I am biased here, I know :p

Sure, there will be another post on the best books I have read in 2015, but let me list down my blog posts with maximum hits in 2015.

Here it goes:

Chrisma - Chris child game again!

This is my top post, not only for this year, but for all time. This is a very simple post without even an image added to it, which was posted in 2008. This was about an initiative by our organization with an NGO to make Christmas more special.

Shanthi & the magic Mandala by FT Camargo - Author Interview

Top post for this year so far. This is the first author interview that i featured in my blog. Shanthi & the Magic Mandala is an adventure in which fantasy and reality are mingled. Interesting, right?

Seeking Redemption by Madhu Vajpayee - Book Review

A book on the current political system in India. Focus is on the education, caste reservation and politics around it. Since Many Indian students, especially medical students can associate to it, it becomes a good read. A middle-class medical student's journey, her love life with problems due to caste reservation forms the crux of the story.


Soul Warrior by Falguni Kothari - Book Review

Most hits come to this post by Google search. I have read a lot of mythology books recently and this is a combination of Contemporary fiction and mythology. Can you imagine Lord Vishnu, Shiva, and Brahma managing the current world? You will be wondering to read the terms like smart phone, diapers and sentences like 'Chill babe' uttered by Gods :-) I will leave everything else to your imagination.




My Writing Process
One of the top posts, which is personal too. Enjoyed writing this post and I hope, many people enjoyed reading this too :-) This is about the preparation before writing, how I get ideas, how I write them, what I do after writing a post and before publishing it.



So, this is the initial list about my blog posts. I hope, I will get more time before the year end to retrospect.

What do you do at the end of every year? Do you write any lists? Do you rewind once to check what you achieved? Do let me know. Will be happy to read.

Linking this to #MondayMusings hosted by Corinne of EverydayGyaan and WriteTribe.

Co-hosted by Anamika at thebespecactacledmother.



Until next time,



10 December, 2015

I love my Pet Elephant by Lauren Micchelli - Author Interview

Here is a lovely Children's book by Lauren. 

Book Details:

Book Title: I Love My Pet Elephant by Lauren Micchelli
Category: Children's fiction, 28 pages (aged 3-7)
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: First Edition Design Publishing

Book Description:

A colorful tale of friendship and fun between a little girl and her best friend - her pet elephant! I Love My Pet Elephant is a delightful medley of reality and fantasy, with shenanigans and adventures brought to life through vibrant illustration and simple rhyming text.



Meet the author:
Lauren Micchelli is a newly published author, having penned her first book in 2014. She has since continued the Snootzytime Adventures of Maddie and Murphy series, and went on to publish A Day Of What Ifs and I Love My Pet Elephant.


Impressively, she was the recipient of New Book Award 2015 for I Love My Pet Elephant.

Lauren Micchelli grew up in West Caldwell, New Jersey and currently resides in northern New Jersey.

Connect with the author:
 Website   Twitter

I am very happy to feature Lauren's interview today in my blog post. Thank you Lauren :-)

Author Interview:

If there is one thing you want readers to remember about you, what would it be?
I’m a huge proponent in the power of your dreams. I believe that everyone has capability to do and be whatever they want in life, and it’s a matter of personal drive and determination to achieve the desired outcome. I had never published any of my works before 2014, but one day I woke up and decided, “Today’s the day I begin my next adventure.” And so it began.

What’s the most courageous thing you’ve ever done?
I’m going to venture to say that publishing my books is the most courageous thing I’ve done. For me, writing the storyline is the part that comes natural to me. It’s how to bring that story to life, and subsequently how to share that story with the world, that’s the tricky part. But I don’t shy away from a challenge, I embrace it. And here I am, one year and four books later.

What genre do you write and why?
I write about different things, but the four books I’ve published thus far are children’s fiction stories. I love the freedom that comes with letting my imagination run wild, and these stories have been a creative outlet for me. Why can’t a little girl have a pet elephant, or visit the North Pole and the moon in her dreams? What if your bike really DID sprout wings and fly away? What I love about writing these stories is the element of fantasy that you can add to them, which is as much fun for me as the writer and it is for the reader!

In today’s tech savvy world where writing on a computer has become the norm, have you ever handwritten one of your books?
Truth be told, all of my books started out handwritten on paper and were later transitioned to my laptop. I find that I’m inspired quite arbitrarily, and so I keep a notebook with me to capture my thoughts - if and when the moment strikes me!

What’s the quirkiest hobby you have?
I’ve been told I’m a fairly quirky gal, and I will admit I do have a few quirky hobbies. I would venture to say that jumping on my trampoline may be top of the list!

If you were stuck on a tropical island for just one day, what three things would you want there with you?
Is there any way to negotiate more time on this tropical island?! Well, if I’m only there for one day I would aspire to turn that day into an itsy bitsy vacation! My three requests would be a lounge chair, a big bowl of pomegranate seeds and a friend to share the sunshine with!

Which was your favorite country to visit in all your travels?
In the spring of 2013 I visited Europe on a family vacation. Our destination was France but we planned for a day in Brussels midway through our ten day trip. There was something about that day in Belgium that was different from the other days abroad. Strolling along the streets we saw fresh gelato, waffle and chocolate vendors on every corner – it was like Candyland for adults! We found ourselves in this charming little city square where artists painted away, selling their creations and living in the moment. My memories of that day in Belgium are warm and chocolate covered, and I would like to visit again someday.

Until next time,

Soul Warrior by Falguni Kothari - [Book Review]

★.•**•.★★.•**•.★ The Age of Kali Book Tour ★.•**•.★ ★.•**•.★

About the Book

Twisted myths. Discretion advised. 



Fight fate, or succumb to destiny?



In the dark Age of Kali, the Soul Warrior alone stands guard over the Human Realm, protecting its denizens from evil-willed asuras or demons. When a trick of fate appoints him guru to a motley crew of godlings, he agrees to train them as demon hunters against his better judgment. Suddenly, Lord Karna is not only battling the usual asuras with sinister agendas, but also rebellious students and a fault-ridden past.



Spanning the cosmic realms of mythic India, here is a tale of a band of supernatural warriors who come together over a singular purpose: the salvation of Karna’s secret child.



Book Links



My Review


I have read a lot of mythology books recently and this is a combination of Contemporary fiction and mythology. Can you imagine Lord Vishnu, Shiva, and Brahma managing the current world? You will be wondering to read the terms like smart phone, diapers and sentences like 'Chill babe' uttered by Gods :-) I will leave everything else to your imagination.

 Here is a story about the soul warrior Karna, step brother of Pandavas from Mahabharatha. It's not about his birth or Kurukshetra war. This is an imaginative story around the circumstances after the war. Karna is assigned to be a mentor/ Guru to Draupadi's children  by Trinity Gods, one out of whom is his own daughter.

The narrative is interesting with the humorous touch. Though a long story of around 450 pages, it doesn't bore you much. Characterization is also good. This is my first book with the crazy combination of Mythology and Fantasy. I felt this might be a good read for teenagers who doesn't know much about Mythology. But for someone like me, who knew Mahabharata already, it might be confusing as there is too much fantasy. Even though it is based on the Epic Mahabharata, I want to warn readers that most of the story in this book is only fantasy and fiction and there are a very few facts.

I recommend this to teenage readers.

My Rating: 3.5/5

PS: Received a free book in exchange of honest review through bookr3vi3 tours and this is my unbiased opinion on the book.

Read an Excerpt


CHAPTER ZERO
DWANDA-YUDDHA: THE DUEL

The Himalayan Mountains.

Five thousand years ago.



Absolute darkness shrouded the Human Realm, and had for three days and three nights. Some believed the occurrence was prophetic, like the prolonged amavasya or new moon night that had heralded the Great Kuru War two thousand years ago. The war had given birth to the dark Age of Kali, the age of asura. In contrast, hope was ripe that this event would trigger the Age of Light. But the Bard wasn’t here to succumb to superstition. 

The first day without the sun’s light had spread confusion and chaos across the realm. The second day had brought desperation in the breasts of humans and fear in the belly of Celestials. The third day—today—was a feast for the asuras. Death lay everywhere. 

The human world burned without its sun. How soon before the Heavens went up in flames?

The Bard’s troubled eyes reread the last line. Then he deliberately scratched it off, lifting his long, pointed talon from the parchment made of dry palm leaf. With a sigh, he rested his aching hand on his trembling thigh. He would spare a moment to ease his body, and his mind from the strain of observation and due recordkeeping. If he didn’t, he’d forget his duty as Witness of the Cosmos, and begin to question fate. 

Despite the fire that crackled close to his right knee, and the feathered form of his upper body, he was cold. An icy wind had settled around the Pinnacle of Pinnacles, where he sat cross-legged on a seat made of rock and snow. He’d chosen this perch because it gave him an impartial view of the events happening in the world. He was the Bard, entrusted with keeping the Canons of the Age of Kali, just as the Soul Warrior was entrusted with keeping the Human Realm safe from asuras. Would they both fail in their duty today?

The Bard shook off the heavy despair the darkness had brought into the world. He mustn’t judge. He shouldn’t question. He would sharpen the talon on his forefinger, dip it into the vessel of ink kept warm by the fire, and write this tale. That was all he could do. Be the witness to history.

So he raised his feathered hand and began to write again while his eyes, sparked with power, knowledge and magic, saw clearly events unfolding from great distances. A thousand kilometers to his right, Indra, the God of War and Thunder, fought the Dragon. Indra did not fare well. But that didn’t concern the Bard as much as the clash between the Soul Warrior and the Stone Demon. Over and over, his eagle eyes were drawn to the duel taking place in the heart of the world, not only because it was a magnificent battle to behold, for it was, but because its outcome would decide mankind’s destiny.

The Soul Warrior was more than a great warrior. Karna was a great soul. Fair, honorable, brave and resilient, he was the perfect protector of the Human Realm. Of course, there were other reasons he’d been chosen to fill the office of Soul Warrior—there always were when Gods and demons were involved. But Karna’s existence was a testament to righteous action and if anyone could bring back the day, it would be him. 

But how did one vanquish stone, the Bard wondered?

Avarice and cruelty, two nefarious desires, had made Vrtra and Vala attack the Human Realm. Three days ago the Dragon had swallowed the Seven Rivers in the north, and the Stone Demon had imprisoned the Sun God, his daughter, and all the cattle of the region in his cave.

The Bard paused his writing as a thin vein of lightning winked across the skies, but without the accompanying roar. Indra’s strength waned. His thunderbolt hadn’t left Vrtra screaming in pain this time. The Bard spared a moment’s attention on the duel, just enough to note that the Maruts, the Celestial Storm-gods, waited in the clouds to rescue their god-king in case of a calamity. Indra would survive even in defeat. Of that, the Bard was sure.

But Karna had no one at his back. His might and god-powers had depleted without the sun’s healing warmth and light. His divine astras, weapons, had not slowed the Stone Demon down, at all. Only the conviction that he could not fail his godsire, his sister, and the innocents under his protection drove him now. His birth family had once abandoned him to his fate, but he would not abandon them to theirs—such was the greatness of Karna.

The Bard crossed out the last observation. No questions. No judgment. No praise, either. The canons would be free of all emotion. He wasn’t here to embellish history or glorify the history-makers, as some bards were wont to do. 

It wasn’t embellishment to write that the foothills of Cedi were drenched in the Soul Warrior’s blood. Or observe the gushing wounds on his body, despite his armor, that would make the hardiest of warriors bellow in agony, but not him. It wasn’t embellishment to write that the Heavens were empty for the Celestials had come to Earth to watch the battle, firelight cupped in their palms to light the warrior’s way. 

The Naga, the Serpent People, also looked on, hissing from the mouth of the portal that led to their underground realm beneath the hills. The Serpent King will not choose a side. Vrtra and Vala were half Naga, after all. All across the Human Realm, demons roamed free, taking advantage of the darkness and preying on human flesh and human souls. It was a terrible moment in history. The asuras had the upper hand in the eponymous age of Demon Kali.

Vala did not have arms and half a leg, but still he came at Karna. He had an ace up his sleeve. There were plenty of creatures about, an entire mountain close at hand. He began to chant the spell of soul transference. It was the darkest of all magic, the possession of another’s soul. Soon, he would be whole again and stronger than before.

Battered and bleeding, the Soul Warrior veered away from the Stone Demon. He leapt over boulders and charred vegetation. The onlookers called him a coward. Had he forfeit the duel? Has he forsaken mankind? 

Karna dove for Manav-astra, the spear of mankind, he’d thrown aside yesterday after his bow, Vijaya, had shattered under repeated use. In one smooth motion, he rolled, picked up the astra, coming up in the spear-thrower’s stretch. His tattered lower garment billowed about him as a gust of wind shot through the air. His muscled torso glistened with blood and sweat, tightened as he pulled the arm holding the spear back. 

He meant to throw Manav-astra at Vala. A futile attempt, to be sure? As long as Vala was made of stone, broken or not, his body was impregnable. Karna should have waited for Vala to transfer his soul to an onlooker. Then Karna should have vanquished the possessed creature. 

Taunting laughter reverberated through the foothills of Cedi. Vala had reached the same conclusion. The Celestials looked at each other in angry silence, unable to interfere. A dwanda-yuddha duel was fought between two opponents of equal size and strength alone. The humans hadn’t stopped screaming in three days, the din simply background noise now. 

The Bard scribbled the observations onto the parchment in no particular order. He wished he was a painter, for surely this was a picture worth a thousand words.

The demon hobbled toward the warrior, who stood still as stone with his arm drawn taught behind him. Then finally, with a roaring chant the Soul Warrior shifted his weight from his back leg to his front and let fly Manav-astra at the Stone Demon with all his remaining might. 

Karna didn’t wait to see the ramifications of his action. And there were plenty to come. He ran into the mountain cave to free Vala’s hostages. Within moments the rock face rent in half, and bright streams of light speared through the terrible darkness. A new day had dawned on the Human Realm after three days of perpetual night.

The sun’s power was too bright, too full of hope. Yet, the Bard looked on pensively, wondering if the Soul Warrior knew this wasn’t a victory. It was merely a reprieve.





About the Author


Falguni Kothari is a New York-based South Asian author and an amateur Latin and Ballroom dance silver medalist with a semi-professional background in Indian Classical dance. She’s published in India in contemporary romance with global e-book availability; Bootie and the Beast (Harlequin Mills and Boon) and It’s Your Move, Wordfreak! (Rupa & Co.), and launches a mythic fantasy series with Soul Warrior (The Age of Kali, #1)



I’m embarrassed to admit how many social media accounts I own :



Website * BlogTwitter * Facebook * Goodreads * Pinterest













Giveaway


One $10 Amazon gift card and 5 Sun Pendants. Open Internationally!



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Until next time,

04 December, 2015

Book Round up - Nov 2015

I am excited to write this post as I can rewind the books that I came across last month :-)

As I mentioned in my previous posts, I am accepting more book reviews recently and enjoying my hectic time reading books of different genres. I am going to receive around 20 books as I won a giveaway hosted by the book club and so, there are many wonderful books in my shelf waiting to be read.

Here are the book spotlights from November:

Faith of the nine by Sachin Dev

In a world where Rakshasas arise out of left-over traces of Maaya and twilight forms the portal to countless worlds around us for Daityas and Yakshis to dance through, a God is only as powerful as those who believe.And when Gods rise, the faith of men will be tested…And broken.

Oh yes! this is a book on fantasy. Purchase the book here.

Blood Diamond by RJ Blain

The world is full of corpses, and Jackson knows them by name. When a group strives to destroy the Inquisition, his powers may be all standing between the supernaturals and extinction.

Super natural powers and story about the dead. Are you game for it? Grab a copy here.

When our worlds collide by Aniesha Brahma

A tale about love, betrayal, marriage and divorce.. and the elusive happily lived ever after! Buy the book here.

Murder on Safari by Peter Riva

A reality TV producer and an expert safari guide had to save themselves from a terrorist. An Adventure ride, Isn't it? You can purchase the book here.

Temperance by Chrissie Parker

Gabriel is weary, hunting for a murderer. Patience is adrift, her life a complete lie. Nate is scared, hiding from his worst fears. Juliet is frantic, her time is running out. As four fragile lives collide, the truth is finally revealed. And betrayal and death become inevitable.

Buy this thriller here.

Shanthi & the Magic Mandala by FT Camargo

Shanti and the Magic Mandala is an adventure in which fantasy and reality are mingled. The book tells the story of six teenagers, from different religious and cultural origins and different parts of the world, who are mystically recruited to form two groups - one in the Northern Hemisphere, and one in the Southern. They eventually gather in Peru, and through a single alliance, begin a frantic chase for the sacred object that can stop the black magician's final plan.

Grab a copy here.

Michael's Mystery by Linze Brandon

A fantasy+Mystery, Isn't it a great combination?


Here comes my book review for November:

The Curse of Brahma by Jagmohan Bhanver

The man who became a Brahmarishi...

The curse that banished him to the hell of hells...

And the revenge that threatens to destroy the three worlds..

Grab a copy here.

Seeking Redemption by Madhu Vajpayee

The story of a girl Meera, who is unwittingly drawn into a conflict from where she finds it difficult to emerge unscathed. It's her journey from being a simple, medical graduate belonging to a middle-class family to the uncharted territories of corruption and caste based politics. Her path is crossed by the two men, both compelling yet completely contrasting characters, who are forever going to change her life. If it is Aman who can challenge her ideals and defy her resolves, and makes her the person she finally becomes, it is Abhay's sublime love which enables her to go through the vicissitudes of life. It's also the story of her loss as well as the triumph against her own demons to find her true self.

Purchase the book here.

The Thread that binds by Alice Hayes

Five women, once strangers, form bonds. Set in modern day Georgia, this is the story of friendship that blossoms in the land of country music, sweet tea, and secrets kept locked tight behind closed doors. Moving, funny, and at times heartbreaking, The Thread That Binds is a lesson in empathy, strength, and the beauty of love.

This is the first book that i rated 5 out of 5! Grab the book here.

Larry saves the Prairie by Matt Bergels

In Larry Saves the Prairie, with the help of Annabelle and Angus, you'll discover what it means to be a true hero, and most especially, what it took to save prairie wildlife in Kansas.

This is my first Children's e-book review. Enjoyed it reading with my son. Purchase the book here.

So, that's it from November.

Until next time,





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