30 January, 2018

5 Productivity tips for Moms #MondayMommyMomments

Life of a mother is not easy. Multitasking and patience are the new skills that moms acquire to make things work from their side.

When you are a mom of 2 children, it means more time is dedicated to helping them with homework, school projects, taking them out for playing, office work and of course the regular housework of cooking and cleaning. I think, no experience would make these tasks easy. Until the children go above 5 years of age, it might be more stressful for a mom to manage both the kids and engage them. I have 2 boys of ages 6 and 3 and I still find it difficult to get some 'Me' time or relax. But, over the years, this is becoming easy and manageable as they are growing up.

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So, let me share some productivity tips from my experience:

1. Eating at right time:
I observed many women skipping their breakfast in the mornings as they are busy cooking, packing lunch and making kids ready for school.
A healthy mother can raise happy children.
Eating at the right time makes you more productive. Don't believe me?  Try to get up 15 mins early than your usual time to have breakfast. Drinking coffee/ tea doesn't help and it will not count as breakfast. Eating cereal with milk is the quickest option in the mornings and Overnight oats with fruits are refreshing. If you eat breakfast early, you will have more energy to complete all your tasks and you can do them quick. If you are very strict with your timing while taking lunch and dinner, your productivity sure will improve.

2. Taking time to relax:
If we get time to relax a bit at regular intervals, we can even work for 12 hours on a stretch. Trust me on this. Working women might agree that taking 2 coffee/ tea breaks in working hours and chatting with colleagues will boost their productivity. If you are a stay at home parent, I agree that there is one or the other task which keeps cropping up always but take a 15-minute break just to sit and watch TV or to read a book or to take a power nap. This keeps you active for the remaining time of the day.

3. Planning and prioritizing is the key
This single point makes a big difference. Somedays, I am very busy with committed book reviews, cooking, dance classes, taking care of children and regular housework. I cannot reduce work anyways, but I can plan ahead and prioritize my tasks. I set reminders in my calendar for all my book reviews and keep alarms 1 day before to finish reading ahead. I am flexible to cook simple dishes like cooking one-pot meals (kichdi, biryani, fried rice etc) when I don't have time. I always prioritize my tasks and postpone some which are not very important. This boosts my productivity for sure due to better planning and less tension.

4. Seeking help 
I want to stress this point to all moms. It is not easy managing children, we get stressed out, we get a lot of doubts about what is good/bad and we might lose patience sometimes. All these are normal. But, if we can take help of our spouse/ parents/ friends, things will become manageable. Never feel shy to ask for help if you are stuck at something or stressed out. This definitely makes you more productive as you can focus your energy on a single task by delegating the other tasks to someone else.

5. Try any creative skill
We should have less stress to be more productive. Any creative art can destress our brain. So, try any creative art that you enjoy at least once a week like painting, singing, dancing etc., Even playing sudoku or singing karaoke with friends is fun way to destress. Many women feel relaxed by cooking and decorating their houses. Crochet, quilling, photography, craft making etc., - there is a lot to research on. Whatever it is that makes you relaxed, try it and implement it.
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How do you improve your productivity? Share some tips in comments. Would be happy to know them.

Until next time,

Linking this to #MondayMommyMomments hosted by Amrita and Deepa. Also, Linking this to #MondayMusings hosted by Corinne.

29 January, 2018

Mask beneath her face by Rafael Chandler - [Book Review]

Date Published: October 14, 2017
Publisher: Neoplastic Press

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            During the 1980s, slashers terrorized America. With machetes and masks, these unstoppable killers stalked college campuses, quiet suburbs, and lakeside cabins.

            Thirty years ago, Bobbi Metzger survived a massacre at her 16th birthday party. She spent decades putting her life back together.

            Tonight, Bobbi will face a new killer: a high-tech slasher hell-bent on opening the doorway to an abyss of unimaginable horror.

            How long can Bobbi survive this nightmare? What will she do to protect the people she loves?

            How much blood is she willing to spill?

My Review

This is the story of psycho killers, their behavior and feelings and the impact of their torture and continuous fear on their victims. North America was terrorized by people called Slashers in 1980's who used to kill their victims without mercy behind the masks. The story starts with the birthday party of Bobby going wrong because of a serial killer intruding the party and killing all her friends. Though Bobby could escape, the incident scars her life. There is a fear that someday the killer will find out her and take the revenge and there is also the slight courage to find out the killer and stop this happening to anyone else. 

This is not for faint-hearted readers as there is a lot of violence and physical torture descriptions. It is a good thriller with great characters who are unique. Sam is a teacher and a counselor at school who is still recovering from a childhood trauma due to a slasher, whereas his friend Jesse is writing a second book compiling the stories of the survivors of slashers. Jesse wants to provide hope to the victims who couldn't come out of the fear they faced from slashers. Chris is a mysterious character who has a traumatic childhood and feels like there is a spider inside her head which provokes her to kill everybody who goes against her. All characters are convincing and except Chris, everyone tries their best to overcome their fear and help others when the need arises. 

I felt this is more like a psycho thriller than horror. The narration is gripping and though the book is lengthy, it is interesting throughout. The book cover is apt but you might not understand this until you read the book. The title of the book is also perfect.The pace can be faster. Overall, I recommend this to people who love psycho thrillers and can bear reading some violence. 

My Rating: 4/5

Ps: I have received this book from RABT book tours in exchange for a review and this is my honest opinion on the book.

About the Author

Rafael Chandler writes novels (Hexcommunicated, The Astounding Antagonists), video games (SOCOM 4, Rainbow Six: Lockdown, MAG), and tabletop role-playing games (Teratic Tome, No Salvation for Witches, Lusus Naturae). He's a metalhead, gorehound, and kaijuphile. For more information, please visit www.rafaelchandler.com.

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28 January, 2018

Best books that I read in 2017 #BookRoundup

This post has been pending from the starting of January. But, it is a lot of effort to relook all the books that I read and choose some to showcase on my blog.

I have read 38 books in 2017 and there are some books which I liked a lot and so, wanted to share them with my readers of the blog. 

These are the books that I liked in 2017:

1. Busting Cliches by Mahevash Shaikh 
#NonFiction #Motivational

If I have to decide the best book that I read last year, it is this. This is a nonfictional motivational book about some old proverbs and sayings which are misinterpreted by most of us. This book busts those cliches and discusses them with examples from our everyday life. I usually, don't read non-fiction as I find it boring. But, this book is very practical and relatable to our everyday situations and problems. 

Buy @ Amazon.

2. Letters from Kargil by Diksha Dwivedi
#NonFiction #War

This is an interesting find from juggernaut.in, a platform to read good books. I liked this book though it is a non- fiction and the format is not a story but letters. I heard and read in the newspaper about Kargil war but I never knew the details about how difficult the operation Vijay was, how many soldiers died and how many families were impacted until I read this book. Some letters are heart-wrenching to read. I can understand what their families have gone through after losing their family member. The courage and the sacrifice of each soldier are evident from their letters. Read my review here.

Buy @ Amazon/ Juggernaut

3. Ponni's beloved by Sumeeta Manikandan

'Ponniyan selvan' which is the original of this translated work is already a popular novel in Tamilnadu. The story is set in the era of Cholan ruler Sundara Chola and it is all about the politics in the kingdom, the beauty of the place, its culture and people. I appreciate the translation effort of the Author and I liked the way she explained Tamil poems too. Overall, a wonderful read and I would love to read other parts in the Series too. Read my review here

Buy @ Amazon.

4. The Everette Exorcism by Lincoln Cole
#Horror #Paranormal #Occult

This is the second book that I read from the author and Horror is my favorite genre. Father Paladina reaches a small town in Washington state from the Vatican to investigate an issue reported by Father Reynolds requesting a person to perform an exorcism on Rose who he thinks is possessed and needs help. The transformation of the character 'Father Paladina' is great from not believing ghosts to acting bravely when required when encountered with a real ghost. I recommend this to all horror, paranormal and occult lovers. Read my review here

Buy @ Amazon.

5. Chameleon by Zoe Kalo
#Suspense #Thriller

This might be my third book by the same author and I love his writing. This is a perfect suspense thriller.
The story starts when Paloma, a teenager is expelled from school due to her behavior and lands up in a convent which has some dark secrets hidden inside it. As she gets acclimatized with the environment and start making friends, she learns about some secrets and murders. How she reveals the real character of her roommate and handles the mind games of the killer forms the remaining story. Read my review here.

Buy @ Amazon.

I also enjoyed reading the below books last year:

Empire by Devi Yesodharan #HistoricalFiction
Melvin the saddish Robot by Joshua Margolis #Childrensbook
Knitted Tales by Rubina Ramesh #ShortStories #Anthology #Fiction
Mama's Knight by Aurora Whittet #Childrensbook #CancerSurvivor
All that glitters by Liza Trevino #Womensfiction #ContemporaryFiction
Around the world in 80 tales by Dave Tomlinson #NonFiction #Travel
The Opposition by Alicia Bryant #ContemporaryRomance #Fiction

How many books did you read in 2017 and what did you like? Do let me know so that I can add them to my wish list.

Until next time,

26 January, 2018

It Happens by Karan Sharma - [Book Review]

Blog Tour by The Book Club of IT HAPPENS by Karan Sharma

Karan Sharma

Blog Tour by The Book Club of IT HAPPENS by Karan Sharma


During our childhood days, we tend to have these crushes on people older than us that fade as we grow up. We never act upon them but they remain as memories that we always cherish. 

But what happens when two adults with such an age difference fall in love? 

It Happens is a story about how Gautam, a twenty-five-year-old upcoming professional and Roshni, an unmarried thirty-seven-year-old senior management member working in the same multinational bank, face this very question. Can two people with such a vast age difference be compatible? 

The story is a romantic comedy that explores this situation in a light-hearted way as they fall in love, get laughed at by their friends and then develop cold feet, thinking about the repercussions their age difference could have on their marriage. Since this happens in India, where marriage is a major social issue, the plot holds further intrigue. 

They say love is blind and makes one think with the heart, rather than the mind. Will two smart professionals make a mistake by doing so? Or will they listen to their logical senses at the last moment to avert what may be the biggest blunder of their lives? 

It Happens…

Grab your copy @

My Review

The Plot: 
This is the story of Gautam, who falls in love with Roshni who is a senior colleague working in the same bank that he works. They also have a huge age gap. His close friend Rohit and his sister Richa try to make him understand the real problems of marrying a woman who is older than him. But, will he listen to them? What will Gautam decide? Will he think logically and take the right decision? That, you have to learn after reading the story.

What is good?
The narration is cool and friendly. This is a casual read. The character of Rohit is more relatable as he is a good friend to Gautam though irritates him a lot. Richa is the best sister and more of a friend any brother would love to have. Payal is an intelligent and an understanding colleague to Gautam. There are very fewer characters in the book and they are portrayed well.

The message at the end of the book is very nice. When it comes to relationships, it's the love more than the logic which is important. This story highlights the exact point. 

"Keep doing the right things as your heart dictates, and the right things will keep happening to you".

"Put your heart in all your relationships, not logic. " 
What can be better?
First of all, The cover of the book is not very apt. It is misleading as if it is a triangle love story, but there isn't much romance and Payal's character is very small. 

As said in the blurb, this is a Romantic comedy but I felt, romance is very less in the story actually. There is not much story on how Roshni and Gautam fell in love, but there is more stress on the differences and problems they might face due to their age gap.  There are a few grammar mistakes which might have been avoided with a review.

Overall, I recommend this to people who like to read a casual romantic comedy with a message at the end.

My Rating: 3/5

Ps: I have received a free kindle copy from the author through the book club and this is my honest opinion on the book.

About the author

After more than twenty years of working in a highly successful family business and owning a popular brand in the interiors industry, Karan decided it was time to get into self publishing—an idea that came to mind when he saw his son having so much fun reading books. It rekindled a latent passion for writing that he had developed after his college days, leading to his first book. It Happens, along with other books that will come out in due course, will be a testament to his storytelling and creative skills.

Karan has a beautiful family with two young boys, Aakash and Aayansh, and Aarti as his lovely life companion. He is a commerce graduate and a battle-hardened businessman. His other passions include both playing and watching cricket and football, as well as being an avid traveller. 

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25 January, 2018

The Adventures of Popcorn and Jellybean by Robert Gillespie - [Book Review]

Book Details:

Book Title: The Adventures of Popcorn and Jellybean by Robert Gillespie

Category: Children's Fiction, 48 pages

Genre: Fantasy / Nature

Publisher: Page Publishing

Release date: July 2017

Tour dates: Jan 22 to Feb 2, 2018

Content Rating: G

Book Description:

Popcorn and Jellybean had never ventured down the path beyond the big tree. But since they never really did anything exciting, and even though it made them a little nervous at first, they decided it would be a fun adventure for a couple of days. What could possibly go wrong? Plenty, as it turned out, if the explorers were not prepared! Join them as they take on new challenges each day, learn how to survive by following the behaviors of the animals they encounter, and go where Mother Nature leads them. And who knows, maybe we could learn as well!

Buy the Book:

My Review

This is the story of 2 young explorers Popcorn and jelly bean, who venture into the forest for a 2-day adventure. The story is about how they get lost, how they survive in the forest with common sense and cleverness and how they could return home safely.

This story is different from any other children's book in 2 ways.
a) This is not a short story but an adventure of these little munchkins covered in 5 days.
b) Unlike other stories where there is a moral at the end, this has some lessons learned by Popcorn and Jellybean on some important life skills throughout the journey like surviving a bee sting, plans to avoid wild animals, making a tent and searching for food in a forest etc.,

Even though the story is very good, it is lengthy. So, my 3-year-old couldn't concentrate much while listening to it. But, he enjoyed understanding the story from illustrations. More illustrations/ pictures would have been good for below 3-year-olds. For my 6-year-old, it's just perfect. He enjoyed listening to the adventures in the forest.

The plot is perfect and interesting. The cover and the title of the book are apt. The narration is in a friendly tone for kids. Overall, I recommend this to kids and parents who like stories about adventures in the forest narrated in a kid's perspective. I love the way Popcorn and Jellybean use their common sense to find the way to their home or solve the other problems they face. This makes the book more practical.

My Rating: 4.5/5

PS: I have received this book from iread book tours in exchange for a review and this is my honest opinion on the book.

Meet the Author:

Bob has spent more than 13 years as a wildlife conservation educator sharing information and animal encounters with audiences of all ages. He has a passion for teaching about a wide range of topics nature related and loves passing it along to his two sons. His youngest son, Colton, was the inspiration behind The Adventures of Popcorn and Jellybean, where it all started as a simple bedtime story. Bob currently resides in Carlsbad, California, and works as a professional interpreter guide at a world-renowned conservation organization.

Connect with the Author: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook

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Ends Feb 10, 2018

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24 January, 2018

Standing strong after a snowy day #ThursdayTreeLove

Adopt the pace of Nature: her secret is the patience. - Ralph Walde 

Linking this to #ThursdayTreeLove hosted by Parul.

Until next time,

No Ordinary Girl by Cheryl Elaine - [Book Review]

No Ordinary Girl

Genre: Crime / Thriller
Publication Date: May 2017
Estimated Page Count: 179
Trigger Warning: Contains Very Graphic Content


What started out as a night of celebration for Aimee soon turned into a nightmare. Snatched by cruel, sadistic monsters - the worst creatures mankind has ever produced - she’s thrown into a metal container, among other victims too frightened to make a single sound.

The game-keepers force everyone to play. They deliver torment and pain in equal measure. Every hunter has their own agenda and reasons to maim and torture.
Detective Johnson is one step away from catching the killers. Wrestling with his instincts as a father to serve justice his own way, this is no ordinary case for him. Can he stop the vile sadists before they damage more young girls, as well as his own daughter?

Aimee’s ordeal within the compound brings her to the conclusion that she’s no ordinary girl. But can she hang onto her sanity long enough to escape? And will she find a different way to play?

This crime thriller will keep you riveted. It’s no ordinary story.

Please note: contains graphic content.

Purchase from Amazon

My Review:
This is the story of a young girl Aimee who gets abducted by a dangerous gang 'Game keepers' and about her life which changes after that. But, even after going through horrendous experiences she survives and shows courage to ensure that no one else suffers like her in the future. 

The writing style is casual and easy to follow. The plot is good and unpredictable. But, the only thing that concerned me is the extreme violence and abuse portrayed in the book. Of course, there is a warning in the blurb about graphic content. But, after a few pages, I felt, I should stop reading as I cannot bear too many details about abuse and physical torture. But, It's good that I didn't stop reading. The story gets interesting later. The character of Aimee is great but I felt it is very unrealistic for a single girl to face a large organized group. Kelly and Nikki are convincing. But, I expected to learn more about Chico on why did he start this group.

 I loved the way the story gives us a message that we shouldn't give up even in the hopeless circumstances and should try our best. Sometimes, the pain inside us gives more strength that we can ever imagine.

I might be interested to read the next work of this author if it has less physical violence. Overall, it is a good read if you can bear some violent scenes which disturb the mind. I would recommend this to someone who loves crime/psych thrillers though it is not a perfect on the edge thriller. 

My Rating:

PS: I have received this book from Rachel's random resources in exchange of review and this is my honest opinion on the book.
Author bio

Cheryl Elaine was born in Germany but moved to Northern Ireland as a young child. She then moved to Yorkshire where she spent most of her childhood and this is where she currently resides with her husband and 3 daughters.

Cheryl Elaine is an avid reader and enjoys watching horror movies - the more gruesome the better! She enjoys traveling and socializing but also loves spending time at home with her family and her ever-expanding menagerie which currently includes 2 dogs, a budgie, 2 fish and a rat called Rocky!

Website – www.cherylelaine.co.uk
Twitter - @CherylElaine15
Insta - cherylelaine15


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22 January, 2018

Explaining Indian Republic Day to kids

India celebrates its Republic day on January 26th. When I was a kid, I used to confuse between Independence day and Republic day. Both days were national holidays and we used to hoist the Indian flag on both the days at school.

Later, I learned from our teacher that India got its freedom from British rulers on Aug 15th, 1947, whereas it actually has written the constitution and enacted it on January 26, 1950. From that day, India became "the Sovereign Democratic Republic".

So, to explain to kids in simple words, we can say, 

The Republic day is the day when India actually implemented its ruling power by forming the Indian Constitution.

What is the Constitution?

India became an Independent nation in 1947 on August 15. But, Our Country needs our own set of rules, principles on which our government can run.

So, A committee was formed to draft the constitution which was led by Dr. B R Ambedkar in 1947. This committee has drafted fundamental laws on which Government can run and the authorities and rights of both the government and its citizens.

You will be surprised to know that our Constitution is the longest in the world!

This document has 395 articles, 22 parts, and 8 schedules. Oh, Such a big book :-)

How do we celebrate Republic Day?

Our President hoists the Indian flag in Delhi on that day. A military parade is the main attraction. This parade showcases India's defense capability and its cultural heritage.

Governors in their respective states hoist the Indian flag. Even in schools, colleges, and Universities, people hoist the flag, salute and show respect to our nation.

I hope, this simple post helps in explaining kids about the constitution and the Republic day.

Until next time,

Screams you hear by James Morris - Release Blitz

Date Published: January 22, 2018

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Murder and madness infect a small town

For sixteen-year-old Ruthie Stroud, life on tiny Hemlock Island in the Pacific Northwest is an endless sea of boring green, in a place where everybody knows everybody’s business and nothing ever happens. Then her world is ripped apart when her parents divorce and a new man enters her mother’s life. But worse is yet to come.

When she drifts ashore on the mainland, hideously burned, Ruthie has a harrowing tale to tell. It begins with the murder of a family. It ends with her being the sole survivor of a cataclysm that sweeps her little island. As a detective attempts to unravel Ruthie’s story of murder and madness, only one horrifying conclusion can be drawn: whatever was isolated on remote Hemlock Island may now have come to the mainland. Is Ruthie safe? Is anyone?


Chapter One

I wake to pain, pain beyond comprehension, my skin on fire, only to find myself in a hospital bed, my arms bandaged, and wires snaking into machines. The burns are covered in white gauze and every motion, no matter how small, sends my nerves screaming. The air is heavy against my skin. And that smell. I can still smell the bitterness of my singed hair. I feel my head, expecting strands of hair, thick and wavy, but it’s gone. There are only splotches of emptiness, a topography of touch that alarms me. I wonder if it will ever grow back.

Tendrils of anxiety course through me, pulsing steadily. I need to wake up from whatever this is.

In spite of the pain, I caress my face and I have no eyebrows. Only stubble. No matter where I touch, my skin isn’t soft; it’s leather, a mask that rests too tightly against my skull. It’s like my skin is both expanding and contracting, pushing and pulling.

In the cyclone of terror, I remember. I remember everything.

I wish I didn’t. I wish it all away.

Around the room, there are no mirrors, and I know it’s no accident. It’s small comfort. I don’t want to see myself. I may never look in a mirror again. It’s only me and a bed, and colorful murals of elephants and giraffes on the wall, their cartoon smiles mocking me. I must be in the children’s wing, even though I’m sixteen. Next to me, an IV recedes into my vein. To my left is a button. It could be to call for assistance. Or to adjust the bed. But I think it’s something else. I think it’s for pain.

I could press it and disappear into numbness.

I could press it and just drift.

But there is something about pain. It’s the price of being alive.

The button is my litmus test.

I am stronger than my pain. I need to focus on something—anything. I need to distract myself.

I am not my pain.

I am Ruthie Stroud. I live at— wait—not anymore. I have a brother—no, not anymore.

I shut my eyes. I can’t shut them hard enough. Through the darkness, I still see fire. My world engulfed with flickering orange and reds. And the all-encompassing heat, heat beyond boiling, bordering on oblivion. Melting.

My last memory is coming ashore on the mainland, alone and fiercely tired. I didn’t walk, didn’t run. I moved, floating, held aloft by the most invisible of strings, my eyes on the horizon, people on the edges of my vision. Adults. I felt their gaze. The air was cool and moist and my skin so hot. Moving and moving; people staring. I hear them, words like police and 911 and oh my God. They surround me, a horde. They’re feral creatures, circling, their faces distorted. They are coming for me. I have no escape.

I scream and my world goes dark.


I open my eyes. A woman stands in the hospital room doorway. Her skin is the color of teak, her black hair pulled into a tight ponytail, and without a uniform, she’s clearly no nurse. I look down her button-down shirt and a badge is attached to her belt, a gun holstered at her side.

She says, not unkindly, “I’m Detective Perez from the Washington State Police.”

I knew the cops would get involved, even though they’re late. Far too late.

She waits for me to invite her in. “May I?”

I nod and my skin crinkles and cracks. She enters, pulling a chair beside my bed and sits down. Her brown eyes rest on me and then dart away. She can’t bear to look. I must seem a monster. She asks, “How are you feeling?”

I don’t know how to answer that question.

“I’m sorry,” she says.

Down the hall, I hear a child scream. From surgery or fear, I don’t know. I think fight the pain, fight the pain.

She speaks to me in soothing tones. “I need to ask you a few questions. About what happened. Can you talk?”

My mouth is dry, my throat sore, my vocal chords thrashed. I’d forgotten how much I screamed. I feel my skin wrinkle into deep crevices as I move my jaw, and it’s an effort to form words. Even my tongue feels burned; this strange muscle in my mouth. “Is my dad coming?”

“He’s on his way.” We share a bit of silence and I stare at the woman she is, the beautiful woman I will never be, and she says, “I’d like to start at the beginning. And if there’s ever a point where you need to stop, just let me know, okay?”

“There’s just one thing,” and I clear my throat. I force her to find my eyes. To see. To look. To understand.

“What’s that?”

“Don’t judge me,” I tell her. “I did what I had to.”

About the Author

James Morris is a former television writer who now works in digital media. He is the author of the Kindle Scout selectees What Lies Within and Melophobia, as well as the young adult suspense Feel Me Fall and trio of short stories Abraham Lincoln Must Die. Catch him at jamesmorriswriter.com.

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