Tuesday, 23 December 2014

BOOK REVIEW - FORM OUCH TO OOPS BY RAMG VALLATH.





That day I had anticipated a lot of traffic en route airport and so we left at 9 am for 12.45 pm flight to Mumbai.

Much to our displeasure (because we would have to wait for more than 2 hours) there was very less traffic that day and we covered the distance of 42kms in just 50 minutes. It wasn't even 10 am! I was also worried about my dad who had had a surgery and was on a wheelchair, the waiting and traveling would be such an ordeal for him.

We made ourselves somewhat comfortable in the waiting area near the boarding gate and much to my delight, right in front of a bookstall. Paulo Coelho has said - "You don't choose your life; it chooses you," I take the liberty of modifying this statement a bit - You don't choose a book, a book chooses you (borrowed this phrase from a friend :) ) Of course we buy a book after reading the synopsis or because it is a bestseller or even because it was suggested by someone...but, some books are just waiting to be picked up. And so I picked up this book from an author whose name I hadn't heard.

From the cover picture I could conclude that it was a motivational book for professionals in the corporate sector. But, the blurb was something else. The author, RamG Vallath was diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disorder that weakened his muscles. This hit me hard in the gut and there was an instant connection. My mother too had suffered from an autoimmune disorder involving muscles - MND. Even though I knew the progression of the disease and what it does to the person affected, I wanted to read his account...his experiences, his struggles and feelings.

The author takes us through the journey of his life talking about his early life and eduction; his dedication and hard work which made him grow immensely professionally; his love life and marriage; about his illness and how he became an author or a motivational speaker.

"When the going gets tough, the tough gets going," is so true of people who have overcome their physical limitations to grow personally.

RamG has not talked much about his illness, citing only the basics and not magnifying his troubles. He has outlined the difficulties he had to face but somewhere I felt it lacked emotion. He has written about his physical short comings as a disabled person but nowhere has he given a glimpse into his fears. I was a bit disappointed here as I wanted to know more about his real feelings.

What is inspirational is the way he bounced back in regaining the control of his health, the limits he set for himself and the way he constantly pushed himself.

I particularly liked his words of wisdom at the end of every chapter...it really brings a smile.

The book has been given 4.8 stars on Goodreads and 4.5 stars on Amazon.

Behind the book:
 
From Ouch to Oops is a humorous narrative of RamG Vallath's life, a story of how he reinvented himself after being struck down by an incurable autoimmune disorder at the peak of his career.
The disorder starts with tremors in his hands and deterioration of balance, but these conditions worsen rapidly and lead to a weakening of muscles and loss of dexterity in his fingers. His problems are compounded when he is asked to leave his job. His medicines are expensive and rife with side effects. But what is worse, they are mostly ineffective. However, in spite of the odds, he keeps his spirits high, being always the one to keep his team and family in high spirits.
Finally, he enrolls for a clinical trial in the US which can potentially cure him and the treatment is successful. He uses his experiences to create a unique motivational intervention for corporate employees and becomes a successful motivational speaker, consultant and mentor. Three key lessons to take away from RamG's life: no problem is unsolvable always be the provider of cheer and when the going gets tough, the tough get humorous.
A fighter's struggle with an incurable disorder.


  • Paperback: 130 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins (16 November 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9351368173
  • ISBN-13: 978-9351368175



Wednesday, 17 December 2014

SPOTLIGHT - GOD IS A GAMER BY RAVI SUBRAMANIAN.






It was an innovation when cards were introduced instead of money for transactions. It was liberating not to carry much cash to buy expensive things…more over; we even got a period of 45 days of grace period to make that payment. Slowly, cashless purchases came into vogue and blended into our lives seamlessly.

Then came the Bitcoins…a money that exists, yet, it doesn’t…well, not physically though. It is the digital money. Users can send and receive money electronically and there is a central ledger that keeps track of all the transactions.  

With money comes power and people are crazy for power. And where money is involved, there exists crime…sometimes involving people and governments across the globe.

Who else can exploit this concept into his novel better than Ravi Subramanian, the John Grisham of Banking?


God is a Gamer 
by 
Ravi Subramanian




The Blurb
Aditya runs a gaming company that is struggling to break even. A banker slips off a highrise building, plunging to her death. The finance minister has made some promises that he is finding hard to keep. The LTTE has unleashed terror in America that sends the FBI on a wild goose chase, bringing them to Mumbai.

Enter Varun, parttime drug dealer and fulltime genius. He turns around the gaming company before disaster strikes. Meanwhile, the investigators plunge headlong into
the shady world of bitcoins and the Dark Net, websites that only exist for illegal transactions—drugs, sex and money. God Is a Gamer culminates in a stunning climax where money means nothing, assassination is taught by the ancient Greeks, and nothing is as it seems.

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Meet the Author





Described as the ‘John Grisham of banking’, by the Wall Street Journal, Ravi Subramanian, an alumnus of IIM Bangalore, is the author of five bestselling commercial novels—If God was a Banker (2007), Devil in Pinstripes (2009), The Incredible Banker (2011), The Bankster (2012) and Bankerupt (2013)—based on financial crime. His latest book God is a Gamer, releases on September 12th.
Having been a banker himself, he has a unique insight into the industry he writes about and a flair for spinning intricate plots that keep readers on the edge of their seats
His debut novel, If God was a Banker, won the 2008 Golden Quill Readers’ Choice Award and, more recently, The Incredible Banker won the 2011 Economist-Crossword Book Award in the ‘Popular’ category. He won the Crossword book award for The BANKSTER in 2012.
Ravi lives in Mumbai with his Biotechnologist turned banker wife, Dharini and his fourteen year old daughter Anusha.



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Sunday, 2 November 2014

SPOTLIGHT OF THE FULL CIRCLE BY YAMINI VIJENDRAN.



Full Circle 
by 
Yamini Vijendran



The Blurb
 Outwardly, Malini is a contented, sixty-something grandmother with a loving family and everything a person could wish for. But Malini has lived her entire life with a secret confined to the deepest recesses of her heart.

Haunted by the past, she travels to Kumbakonam, her native town, which she had left years ago. There, she comes face-to-face with her long-lost love.

After forty years, will Malini be able to reclaim her own life, when love comes knocking at her door once again?


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Meet the Author





Yamini Vijendran (@saimini) is the author of ‘Full Circle’, a romance novella published by Indireads. After being a Software Professional for 7 years, Yamini has been freelancing from home for the past 3 years. She loves to dabble in fiction and romance and drama are her favorite genres. Her short stories have been published in ‘Love Stories That Touched My Heart’, an Anthology published by Penguin India, New Asian Writing and Six Sentences. Yamini also likes to pen poems when inspiration strikes, and her poetry has been published in The Indian Review, Contemporary Literary Review of India and ‘A World Rediscovered’ a poetry Anthology by Cyberwit Publications. Yamini draws material for her stories and poems from the world around her. When she is not converting her experiences to stories or poems, Yamini reads, plays with her toddler, and fools around her laboratory, that is, the kitchen. 




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Sunday, 19 October 2014

SPOTLIGHT - AGAINST ALL RULES BY SUMMERITA RHAYNE.



Against All Rules
By 
Summerita Rhayne



The Blurb
 The efficient PA out of her depth...
Samara knows getting attracted to Tahir is like asking for trouble. Not only is he her boss but he’s got divorced recently and has sworn off any commitment. Short term is not on her list but temptation has never been stronger.

The man who doesn’t have faith in rainbows anymore...

Tahir doesn’t believe in enforcing a code of conduct he cannot follow. But Samara might just make him make an exception! An affair at the office might seem a solution to his troubles but how can he avoid treading uncharted territory…?

Against All Rules

when fire is set, it’s hard to avoid the blaze


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Meet the Author






Summerita Rhayne loves to write sensual and emotional romance. There's no knowing when some quirky - or sometimes even not so quirky - happening in daily life might trigger her right brain and then she's off craving a new story. She loves writing characters who learn and grow and find their way out of their troubles and emotional hang-ups. Hot, sensual heroes and sassy but sweet heroines mostly fit the bill in her stories. She also believes that a touch of humor never goes amiss in a book.

She divides her time between family, job and writing - and loves winding down with music, movies and the internet!




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Sunday, 12 October 2014

BOOK REVIEW - COLLECTION OF CHAOS.








Blurb:

(From the foreword by Kris Saknussemm) As with all the poets I most admire, words are living things for Tikuli. But as you will come to discover, they are never deployed for their own sake. She uses them to tell stories. The images, scenes, characters and fragments of visionary empathy that you will find in this book are all rooted in her native India-and yet they reach out far beyond national and cultural boundaries. They do so because they have an interior cohesion of spirit. Her subjects are often the dispossessed, the lost...the abused. There are undercurrents of sorrow and anger. And yet love shines through, even when it seems to be fading away. Above all, there's a powerful sense of hope at work-a conviction in the redemptive strength of poetry.


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MY REVIEW:
As a friend mentioned in our Book Club group - what is not there to like in poetry?
This is true for all poetry lovers as every poem has an element or an aspect which certainly will touch our heart. Poetry is the reflection of the poet, sometimes a shadow, the celebration of a life or even the pathos.

Here, the poet starts off with a positive note - "Poems dwell in the possibilities and the impossibilities of the mind." For a poet, the whole world is a poem, finding inspiration and meaning in the minute and the mundane with the capability of transforming it to something grand or huge and also reduced it to a rubble...the poet is capable of all.

Chaotic - that's how our emotions are...sometimes a roller coaster ride and sometimes a yo-yo. We have the capacity of going from one end of the spectrum to another in a jiffy and here Tikuli has done a very good job of capturing them all.

Be it the frailty of life, solitude, war, barbaric acts by the patriarchal society, the strength of a women to shine through the troubles...the poet has etched it all beautifully.

"a dry weed
broken from its roots
adrift in the sea of abuse..." This is the state of many women these days. And more over the abuse is disguised in the form of a husband, lover, father, boss, brother or any other male member whom she trusts.

I think for some reason the editors have neatly sectioned the poems in an order...the frailty of life, wars, abuse of women, poems on trees, then some subtly sensual and some overtly bold poems where the longing for the partner is the highlighted then lastly to the "silence" that can be deafening....but this sectioning of the poems makes it look repetitive....especially, the last section on silence.

When someone gives a title to a poem, it steers our thinking in that direction and in a way limits or confines the meaning within that. But here, the lack of titles creates a suspense and leaves it open ended for the reader to interpret the way they want to. And again, because there are no titles, it gets difficult to understand where one poem ends and when the next one begins. There had to be some demarcation which would have made it easier for the readers.

What I like the most about poetry is the ability to say more in very less words - 
"I miss the taste of the sun
its sweet heat dripping
from your mouth to mine"

"Laid to rest-
Words
Tide in neat bundles
Darkness a ribbon." 

"Your words-
Hired assains."

Need I say more, do read the book to experience the chaos.

About the Author:

 

Brought up in Delhi in a family of liberal educationists Tikuli is a mother of two sons. She is also a blogger and author. Some of her short stories and poems have appeared in print and in online journals and literary magazines including Le Zaparougue, MiCROW 8, Troubadour21, The Smoking Book (Poets Wear Prada Press, US), The Enchanting Verses Literary Review, Mnemosyne Literary Journal, Women's Web.
Some of her print publications include poems in Guntur National Poetry Festival Anthology and much acclaimed Chicken Soup For The Indian Romantic Soul(Westland). Her work has also been featured on websites related to gender issues and child sexual abuse. She blogs at 
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Saturday, 11 October 2014

COVER REVEL - LEMON GIRL BY JYOTI ARORA.


Cover Reveal 
Lemon Girl 
by 
Jyoti Arora 
The She....
The He...
The Author
Jyoti Arora
Jyoti Arora is a Post Graduate in English Literature and Applied Psychology. Her writing achievements include two novels, three blogs, several wins in national level blog competitions, over five years of freelance writing experience, developing books for kids and abridging 24 famous English novels like Jane Eyre, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn etc. 
Jyoti's first novel, Dream's Sake, was published in 2011 by V&S Publishers. It received great reviews and much appreciation from readers.Books have always been Jyoti’s best friends. In fact, books so fascinated her from early childhood that she learnt reading, by herself, even before she started going to school. And she considers herself most fortunate that she is able to pursue her dream of being a novelist and work at what she loves best.
However, if books are Jyoti’s first love, and she’s still very devoted to them, the thrilling and steadily advancing world of technology also fascinates her. As a result, one of Jyoti’s blog is a technological blog called Techn0Treats. In 2011, a post in this blog won her the title of Samsung Mobile when Samsung made her a part of the team of the twenty bloggers chosen from all over India through a blogging competition. In this team of twenty bloggers, she was the only woman and perhaps the only one who had studied literature instead of science. As a Samsung Mobiler, Jyoti acted as the promoter and ambassador of Samsung.
Jyoti is a patient of Thalassemia Major which forced her to stop going to school after class seventh. After that, she continued her studies on her own through correspondence courses. Her zest to overcome her medical problems and made her an inspiration for many.
So are you curious now ?????????
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Friday, 10 October 2014

REVIEW - LUCIFER'S LUNGI.



Lucifer's Lungi
by 
Nitin Sawant




The Blurb
An atheist city-slicker unleashed on a medieval holy village...

A simpleton village priest's boy who blindly worships and guards a pantheon of Gods and Their traditions...

Strange things happen when their worlds collide!

This is a tale of that turmoil on a lonely night in a jungle, when the ghosts you never knew till a few hours ago are let loose on the ghosts that you always carried within, unknowingly.

Welcome to the unholy clash of beliefs, fears and frailties with unknown Gods and demons. A clash that will test your convictions. A clash that will rabidly claw and unmask your subconscious, leaving you naked and paralyzed in front of your demons - in a climax that is as ambiguous as it is certain...


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MY REVIEW:

The title of the book and the cover picture are so in contrast with each other that the book piqued my interest and curiosity.

The Indian society is so deep rooted in its customs and traditions, beliefs and superstitions that it is difficult to say them apart. Mythology and myths have defined our lives from time immemorial. More than devotion, we are governed by our fears which people have being using it to their advantage. The author has used this as the crux of his story.
 
We, the city bred consider ourselves to be more smart than our rural counterparts. Our education and knowledge makes us feel superior. So we feel we are above all the religious dogmas and beliefs. Our so called scientific reasoning and common sense makes us look for facts rather than accept anything on the face value.

Our protagonist dude is also the same. The typical IT professional, over worked and stressed who finds it relaxing to travel and explore the nearby places from the city he lives in, and one such adventurous trip is what the story is all about. But our cool dude is in for a earth shattering jolt as the local superstitious beliefs plays on his psyche.

The author has done a fine job of building up the suspense. I was waiting for some action with bated breath...but the action never came. And when it did come, it did not have the desired effect on me. The setting is perfect, the characters very real and their beliefs believable. The author has tried to educate us about superstitions in a humorous way but it did not work for me. The "cool dude-today's- young-generation's lingo" has been overused that it becomes irritating. The self talk the protagonist has in the last few chapters of the story is a bit confusing. The ending is predictable and I really wonder what made the author say the famous last lines. The white dhoti which the author refers to as lungi is in fact called vetti or vesti in Tamil. Tondaravu is more 'of disturbing' than trouble. An one time read.



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Meet the Publisher 



Fablery Publications is a contemporary publishing start-up based in Bangalore. At Fablery, our focus is on bringing out books that are more in tune with the current reading habits. Our present portfolio includes a psycho-thriller novella “Lucifer’s Lungi”, two graphic novels “Subbu’s Code” and “Ka Kaa” to be launched at Bangalore Comic Con, along with a book adaptation of a National Award winning movie “Ri” and an anthology of historical fiction “Once Upon A Time”.




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Thursday, 9 October 2014

SPOTLIGHT - THE RUNAWAY BRIDEGROOM





THE RUNAWAY BRIDEGROOM
by
Sundari Venkatraman





Blurb

Chanda Maheshwari’s family is shaken when her thirteen-year-old bridegroom Veerendra runs away immediately after the wedding. The eight-year-old child doesn’t even understand the impact on her life. Unable to face their neighbours and friends, the Maheshwaris move from their village to Jaipur and begin a new life in the city.

Fourteen years later, Chanda is studying in a Delhi College. She takes up a temporary job at RS Software Pvt. Ltd. and falls head-over-heels for the boss of the operation. But what about  Ranveer Singh? Is he interested in her?

Ranveer’s secretary Shikha is desperate to make him fall for her. All she wants is life-long security with a rich man. But it’s nerd Abhimanyu who keeps getting in the way. Abhi is Ranveer’s second-in-command and Shikha isn’t keen on him as she’s eyeing the main chance. 

When Ranveer appears to show interest in Chanda, she’s faced with a new problem. Astrologer Vidyasagar insists that she would get back with her husband Veerendra. Does anyone want to know what she wants? 

Chanda feels torn between the man she has fallen for and the family values that have been instilled in her. Will she ever find happiness? 

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Meet the Author


Sundari Venkatraman has authored four ebooks so far, The Runaway Bridegroom being the latest. Three of her books, namely, The Malhotra Bride; Meghna and The Runaway Bridegroom have all been self-published on Amazon under the banner of Flaming Sun. All three books are regularly seen on Amazon’s Top 100 Bestsellers’ Contemporary Romances list. 

A great fan of Mills & Boon romances over the past four decades, Sundari has always believed in ‘Happily Ever Afters’ and all her books promise happy endings. 

The Runaway Bridegroom talks about ‘Child Marriage’, an evil perpetrated even in the 21st century in a country like India. While a large number of the country’s population live in the cities and lead modern lives, there are many who follow old customs unaware of the negative impact on the lives of the younger generation. 

The book is a work of fiction and of course does not preach. The author has but made an attempt to bring this ancient custom to the eyes of the modern public around the world while bringing a simple solution to the protagonists, the victims of child marriage. 

“I hope you enjoy reading the book as much as I loved writing it,” says Sundari Venkatraman. 

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