Thursday, 24 May 2018

#BookBlitz ; Castles in the Air by Sangeet Sharma

About the Book:



Publisher:Rumour Book India
Edition: First edition (2017)
ISBN: 978-1945563850
Genre: Fiction
Format: Paperback
Pages: 234
Price: 299/-









Laughter is said to be the best elixir and the book is a satire on architecture written by one who knows the bricks and concrete of the profession by heart.

The author, an architect himself, delves into the journey of a professional practice. The book is witty with acerbic humor.

Word by word, sentence by sentence, page by page, every scene unfolds like a screenplay, leaving the reader amazed with the brutalities of life in architecture, and life itself.

Book Links:

Reviews for the Book:






About the Author:
Sangeet Sharma is a practicing architect in Chandigarh. He is a partner in SD Sharma & Associates, a well-known firm of the region founded by his father Ar. SD Sharma, an eminent Architect. Widely acknowledged and awarded Ar. Sangeet Sharma commands an undisputed international reputation in profession. Carrying forward the legacy and vocabulary established by his father he is fascinated by geometrical forms. 
By looking at every drawn line as built spaces he follows a certain rationale to his reflective practice. His buildings are based on sustainable applications.
He is a multifaceted personality. He is a poet, Architectural critic, writer, artist and author. He has authored Architecture, Life and Me, published by Rupa and Co., a memoir that takes an all-round view of the profession.

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Monday, 21 May 2018

#Spotlight ; If You Only Knew Me by Divyata Rajaram


IF YOU ONLY KNEW ME
by
Divyata Rajaram



BLURB

If You Only Knew Me is a story of friendship, passion and intrigue set in Dubai, arguably one of the world’s most exciting cities to live in.

Rupali, Anjali, Dipika, Sakina and Monica are five NRI women whose lives are glitzy and exciting as they flirt with high society within the charmed social circles frequented by the Dubai expat community. Beautiful homes, designer clothes, shoes, fast cars and a lifestyle that is envied by all, there is very little these women have not attained. Together they have also woven the closest of friendships and must rely on each other to stay on top.

Appearances are deceptive, though, and often the people you think you know the best, harbor secrets too dangerous to be shared. When tragedy befalls, the investigation that follows opens an ugly box of secrets that will test their friendship and find them struggling to make sense of the madness and deception surrounding them.

Who can they really trust anymore? How far must they go in their fight for survival?

How long will their friendship last once the masks have dropped and none can pretend any longer?


Read an excerpt from the book...

Dipika’s head was swimming as she sat in Tim Horton’s, Mall of the Emirates, waiting for Rupali to join her. The only reason she had even fixed up to meet her was that she knew her mother had called up Anjali who would have informed Rupali.
“Ha … I’ve crossed over to the dark side, Ma. Too late to return home again,” she thought. The black coffee she sipped did nothing to clear the confusion in her head.
Dipika pushed her limp, dank hair out of her eyes, struggling to make sense of the menu in front of her.
That bastard was stringing her along, she knew it. All his false promises meant nothing, she thought wearily while gazing at the menu.
She looked up to find Rupali rushing over to the table.
“Dips, darling, so good to see you,” said Rupali, trying to sound upbeat and cheerful. She almost recoiled as she hugged Dipika.
The stench of body odor and some other strange pungent aroma permeated the air around her.
Dipika looked awful; her usual dark circles worse than ever, hair dank and limp, and lips cracked and blistered. She never used makeup, but this was truly the worst Rupali had ever seen her look in a long while.
“Are you okay, babe?” she asked in a soft whisper. The answer seemed apparent - she was not.
Dipika made a superhuman effort to sound and act normal.
“I haven’t been too well, Rupa. That’s what I had called mom about. Hope she didn’t worry you girls. I’m sure it’s nothing serious. I just haven’t been sleeping much lately and it’s telling on my health.”
Rupali was sure that Dipika was depressed about her father’s upcoming death anniversary.
“Listen, baby … you are going through a tough emotional phase right now. It will get better, I promise. Meanwhile, we are all there for you, okay?” She hoped she sounded more confident than she felt.
Dipika nodded listlessly. Poor Rupali, such a good friend, always looking out for her. Dipika felt a million miles away from her right now.
They finished their coffee and made their way over to a few shops. Rupali could tell Dipika was having trouble walking and put it down to her mystery illness. Psychosomatic symptoms, probably, given her bouts of depression. All she could hope for was that whatever it was, it would clear up and her friend would get back to normal.
Dior, Valentino, Lanvin; there was truly no dearth of high-end brands in the latest styles in the Dubai malls. The girls finally agreed on a stunning Chanel dress, stark and beautiful, in black and white. When Rupali tried it on with the blue turquoise earrings the shop assistant provided, she loved what she saw in the mirror. The hunt for matching shoes took them to the Shoe District where even Dipika was seemingly revived by the stunning collection of Christian Louboutin. Rupa convinced her to pick up a pair of strappy stilettos in hot pink with a gold trim.
Rupali hesitated for a few seconds before charging her card. Sometimes she felt guilty about spending Rohit’s money. However, he had always told her that appearance meant everything - sleek, sophisticated and expensive clothes were his natural choice and, now, hers as well.
Finally, exhausted with their shopping, the girls headed to the parking lot where Rupali’s driver was waiting for them. She asked him to first drop Dipika off at her apartment on Sheikh Zayed Road before heading to her own home.
On her way home, she quickly called up Anjali.

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About the author


Divyata Rajaram has been living and working in Dubai for the past fifteen years. An experienced financial service professional, she is also an accomplished singer of Hindustani classical as well as western music. If You Only Knew Me is her first novel based on NRI women living in the UAE, and offers a glimpse into their lives and the challenges they face in a foreign land.

An avid reader of crime fiction, Divyata lives with her husband, their daughter and a beautiful dog in Dubai.      


                          

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Thursday, 17 May 2018

#BookBlitz ; 3 Peaks of Happiness by AiR





Book Info:
Publisher: AiR Foundation
ISBN: 9789352814466
Genre: Non-Fiction / Self Help
Format: Paperback
Pages: 167
Price: 200/-








Book Blurb:
The whole world is seeking happiness. Who doesn't want to be happy? But is everyone happy? Discover the most fulfilling journey to bliss and ultimate everlasting happiness.
There are three peaks of happiness. Most of humanity lives and dies on the first peak, being glad and being sad, experiencing joy and sorrow like a yo-yo.

Twenty percent of humanity is fortunate to live a life of contentment on the Second Peak of Happiness that offers tremendous joy and peace.

A small fraction of humanity goes on a quest for the third peak. The Third Peak not only gives one eternal bliss, everlasting joy, and peace, but also gives one freedom from problems, worries, and pain!

This book is a personal experience of such a traveler who climbed all the three peaks. He shares his journey and shows you the way to the Third and Ultimate Peak of Happiness.
“You can be as happy as you want to be. True Happiness, Ultimate Bliss lies beyond a pursuit of Pleasure and Peace. It is experienced by those who Discover the Purpose of Life!”


Read an Excerpt:


Chapter 1


Happiness is a Journey
The whole world is seeking happiness. In fact, it seems like we are all on an eternal journey to destination happiness. Yes, happiness is a journey, but not many people know that it is the path itself. You cannot get happiness, but you can be happy. While there is no one on earth who doesn’t seek this treasure, there are only a few who truly understand what happiness is.

Do you know that you can choose to be happy or unhappy? Happiness doesn’t just happen; it is a choice you make”  -RVM

What is Happiness?
  Happiness is a state of mind. It’s a state of joy, bliss and cheer. It is an emotion- energy in motion- that makes one glad, just as unhappiness is an emotion, that makes one sad. A happy person is joyous and he smiles and laughs just as unhappy person frowns and cries. We feel happy and it shows. Happiness radiates through cheerfulness and enthusiasm. Although happiness may be a common word, it is often quite tricky to define or explain “Happiness”.

Everyone wants to be happy
Who doesn’t want to be happy? Everybody on earth wants happiness, whether one is a baby or an adult, be it man or a woman, Indian or American, black or white, or rich or poor, who doesn’t want to be happy? Everybody alive on this planet seeks happiness. Not just human being, it seems even animals wants to be happy. We see that dogs wag its tail in joy, birds fly in the sky, fish swirl in the water, and the peacock open their wings to dance in bliss. Don’t you think they all seek happiness too? Everybody wants to be happy.

If you were to ask different people around the globe, what they are seeking, you would get different answers from each one. But if you further ask them, why they are seeking it, you would get a common answer from all- “Happiness”. The goal of life is happiness. Everyone wants to be happy, and people do different things to achieve this one objective. To a businessman, a successful business brings happiness. To artists, it may be a creative product that is born out of their imagination. A student may be happy with excellence in exams, just as a politicians is blissful on winning an election. We all do different things, but whatever we do, the goal is one: We all want to be happy!

If you have not learnt anything, but have learnt one thing that the goal of life is to be happy, you have learnt everything!” - RVM 


About the Author:
AiR – Atman in Ravi, or the Soul in Ravi, is an embodied soul whose only mission in life is to realize the Truth and help people realize the Truth. 
He was born on October 15, 1966 in Bangalore, as Ravi V. Melwani. At a very young age, he mastered the craft of business and became a very successful businessman who revolutionized retailing in India with the stores Kids Kemp, Big Kids Kemp, and Kemp Fort. After making millions, he realized that life is not just about making money. He shut down his business at the age of 40, transformed his life to RVM living by the RVM philosophy – Rejoice, Value Life, and Make a Difference. He started doing H.I.S. work – Humanitarian, Inspirational and Spiritual work. His mission was to “Make a Difference” in this world before his journey was over.






Wednesday, 16 May 2018

#BookReview ; Red Lipstick by Laxmi



The world keeps taunting him as girlish but the fact is that, biologically, he is a boy. And, he is always attracted to guys. Is Laxmi both a man and a woman? Or, perhaps, neither a man nor a woman? The first inklings and stirrings of lust that Laxmi remembers came from noticing big, strong arms, the hint of a guy's moustache over his lips, billboards that advertised men's underwear. Laxmi found this puzzling initially. Was there a woman inside him who couldn't really express herself because of some last-minute mix-up that god did at the time of his birth? Struggling with such existential questions, Laxmi Narayan Tripathi, eminent transgender activist, awakens to her true self: She is Laxmi, a hijra. In this fascinating narrative Laxmi unravels her heart to tell the stories of the men-creators, preservers, lovers, benefactors, and abusers-in her life. Racy, unapologetic, dark and exceptionally honest, these stories open a window to a brave new world.

Red Lipstick is the story of Transgender rights activist Laxmi Narayan Tripathi & has been published by Penguin Books. Apart from being a vocal activist & a LGBT icon, she is also a Hindi film star & Bharatnatyam dancer & teacher. Founder of the NGO Astitva which works towards the support & development of sexual minorities. She played a pivotal role in the recognition of hijras as the third gender in India.

This book is basically based around the life of Laxmi Narayan Tripathi & her journey from an effeminate boy who was scolded & ridiculed to a confident transgender rights activist who never minces her words. It talks about all the people who have influenced her life in some way or the other, also some of them have their dedicated monologues for Laxmi as well. She has also pointed out the difficulties that the LGBT community especially transgenders face in India & how their fight to come into the mainstream goes on. Do buy this book here,
I won’t lie, I have admired the author for a long time & luckily I got to listen to her speech & even meet her. She spoke confidently & covered every single problem that the transgender community faces in their daily lives. This book apart from being the complete journey of the author also explains why its necessary for such books to exist. Until and unless there’s visibility, coming into the mainstream would be a hard job. The language is extremely easy while the title is intriguing. The cover is my favorite part. I hope more people from the community write such books & tell their stories. It definitely isn’t a must read but surely is an important read.



Saturday, 12 May 2018

#BookBlitz ; Matsya by Sundari Venkatraman




Print Length: 38 pages
Publisher: Flaming Sun (Indie published) 
Publication Date: March 11, 2018
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
Language: English
Available on Kindle Unlimited 
Genre: Mythology, Short Story, Kidlit 

Lord Brahma is highly disturbed when the four vedas are stolen from him the moment he goes to sleep at the end of the kalpa. It’s Asura Hayagriva who’s gotten away with the sacred scriptures.

Lord Vishnu offers to go to the creator’s rescue and takes the guise of Matsya, the fish.

King Satyavrath lands up with a tiny gold fish when he’s offering prayers to the Sun God one morning. Is the fish all that it appears to be?

How can Satyavrath help the fish?

Read more to find out the reason for Lord Vishnu taking the avatar on earth as Matsya. 

*This is a straightforward story of the first avatar of Mahavishnu, retold in simple English just the way it’s written over the ages. The target audience is the youngsters, children, who don’t know all that much about Indian mythology. It’s also for those parents who are keen to read aloud stories to their children and are looking for suitable books on mythology. 

It would be great if you can add this book to your TBR





This is the first foray into the mythology genre for the author and also the first book that she's written for children. 

Sundari Venkatraman is an indie author who has 26 titles to her name, all Top 100 Bestsellers on Amazon India, Amazon USA, Amazon UK, Amazon Canada and Amazon Australia in both romance as well as Asian Drama categories. Her latest hot romances have all been on #1Bestseller slot in Amazon India for over a month.

Even as a kid, Sundari absolutely loved the ‘lived happily ever after’ syndrome as she grew up reading all the fairy tales she could lay her hands on, Phantom comics, Mandrake comics and the like. It was always about good triumphing over evil and a happy end. 

Soon, into her teens, Sundari switched her attention from fairy tales to Mills & Boon. While she loved reading both of these, she kept visualising what would have happened if there were similar situations happening in India; to a local hero and heroine. Her imagination took flight and she always lived in a rosy cocoon of romance over the years. 

Then came the writing – a true bolt out of the blue! And Sundari Venkatraman has never looked back.

Click here to check out all the titles by the author...

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#BookBlitz ; Cherished by Reshma Ranjan





Print Length: 95 pages
Publication Date: March 20, 2018
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
Language: English
Available on Kindle Unlimited 
Genre: Romance 

The last thing SujalVerma had expected while working out that evening was a desperate call for help. 

For Sunanda, life was like a romantic movie, all dreamy and beautiful, until trouble comes from close quarters. 

Was history repeating itself? Will Sujal be able to save Sunanda from the trauma and pain? Will the reality crush her wings or will she hold on to her buoyant nature and not let the smile on her lips fade away?

All actions have consequences. The consequence of Sunaina's actions in A Promise (Book 2 in the series) plays out in her step-sister Sunanda's life in this novella.

Cherished is Book 3 of the Verma Clan’s Sanctum Series and the conclusion of A Promise. It is the story of a girl who wakes up from a nightmare to realize that the world could be as colorful as the movies she loved to watch. 

Cherished can be read as a standalone book as well. 

It would be great if you can add this book to your TBR





ReshmaRanjan is a passionate romantic who loves literature and has been driven by the romance in nature and the serenity and humbleness of this universe, one who made up her own happy endings in her imagination for every movie or every book with a sad ending.

Also a voracious reader but for which she believes she never could have started writing. Pssttt... And is completely addicted to Barbara Cartland romances. 

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#BookBlitz ; The Woman Behind the Waterfall by Leonora Meriel

About the Book:
Heartbreak and transformation in the beauty of a Ukrainian village.

For seven-year old Angela, happiness is exploring the lush countryside around her home in western Ukraine. Her wild imagination takes her into birds and flowers, and into the waters of the river.
All that changes when, one morning, she sees her mother crying. As she tries to find out why, she is drawn on an extraordinary journey into the secrets of her family, and her mother's fateful choices.
Can Angela lead her mother back to happiness before her innocence is destroyed by the shadows of a dark past?
Beautiful, poetic and richly sensory, this is a tale that will haunt and lift its readers.


Book Links:


Meet the Characters:

The Setting

Ukraine, a village deep in the countryside. A picturesque, verdant landscape. The houses are beautiful but have few amenities: water is gathered from the well, clothes are washed by hand, and the “outhouse” toilet is in the garden. Life is hard work here, and close to nature.

The Language

There are many Ukrainian words in the novel, especially emphasizing the names of endearment Ukrainian people give to each other. Lastivka is “little swallow”; zaika is ‘little rabbit”; harnenka is “my beautiful one.”

Meet Lyudmilla

Lyuda is a beautiful woman in her early twenties who has suffered some hard knocks early on. Pregnant at just sixteen, she left school and the child’s father moved into their house in the village. Her father died, and her mother soon after, and Lyuda found herself a teenager loaded down with the pressures of a baby, looking after a house, and a man who expected her to cook for him and be the light-hearted girl he fell in love with. Eventually, the situation grows intolerable for him and he abandons her. At seventeen, she is entirely alone with a small baby. She falls into a deep cycle of depression and self-blame, feeling that her life is over and that she is at fault. She doesn’t let anyone close to her.
It is only when her daughter Angela is a little older – aged seven – that she starts to notice how sad her mother is.  She decides to do something about it.

Meet Angela

Seven-year-old girl Angela has been left alone to do as she likes for most of her life. Her mother makes sure her dresses are clean and her hair is untangled, but she is free to play as she wishes. She has a wild imagination and she sees no boundaries between her thoughts and the world around her: she flies in the body of a bird, she becomes the wind, she enters a storm – she is pure spirit and possibility.
When she starts to notice her mother crying every time she is alone, Angela is determined to find out why, and to help her mother regain the happiness she herself feels. At the heart of her investigation are questions that now begin to haunt her: Where is her father? Why does no one come to the house? Why does her mother cry when she thinks no one can see her?
When Angela meets the spirit of her grandmother, they come up with a plan to help Lyuda.

Meet Zoryana

The name Zoryana, which comes from the Ukrainian root zorya, means star, dawn, youth, day or spring. Zoryana has returned to the Earth in spirit form after seeing the unhappiness of her daughter and her failure to move past her teenage mistakes.
Zoryana feels that she did not prepare her daughter enough for the real world before she died, and she sees her struggling and unhappy. She wants to show her that life has highs and lows and that she must choose a new path for herself. She connects with her granddaughter Angela, who is not daunted by meeting the spirit of a relative, and together they help Lyuda to understand and see the joy in her life.

Meet Kolya

Nicolai, or Kolya, lives next door to Lyuda and brews home-made vodka in his shed. He sells it to her and catches rabbits for her to eat. He was a childhood friend of her mother, Zoryana, and he hates to see her so unhappy. He’d love to help her, but she pushes him away. When he finally makes a terrible mistake, there is a high price to pay.

Reviews for The Woman Behind the Waterfall

“Readers looking for a classic tale of love and loss will be rewarded with an intoxicating world” ~~ Kirkus Reviews
“The language is lyrical and poetic and, in places, begs to be read repeatedly for the sheer joy of it… A literary work of art.” ~~ Fiona Adams, The Richmond Magazine
“Rich and poetic in detail, it is an often dreamy, oneiric narrative rooted in an exaltation of nature… A lovely novel.” ~~ IndieReader

About the Author:
Leonora Meriel grew up in London and studied literature at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland and Queen’s University in Canada. She worked at the United Nations in New York, and then for a multinational law firm.
In 2003 she moved from New York to Kyiv, where she founded and managed Ukraine’s largest Internet company. She studied at Kyiv Mohyla Business School and earned an MBA, which included a study trip around China and Taiwan, and climbing to the top of Hoverla, Ukraine’s highest peak and part of the Carpathian Mountains. She also served as President of the International Women’s Club of Kyiv, a major local charity.
During her years in Ukraine, she learned to speak Ukrainian and Russian, witnessed two revolutions and got to know an extraordinary country at a key period of its development.
In 2008, she decided to return to her dream of being a writer, and to dedicate her career to literature. In 2011, she completed The Woman Behind the Waterfall, set in a village in western Ukraine. While her first novel was with a London agent, Leonora completed her second novel The Unity Game, set in New York City and on a distant planet.
Leonora currently lives in Barcelona and London and has two children. She is working on her third novel.

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