Thursday, 28 June 2018

#BookReview ; Spirits In A Spice Jar by Sarina Kamini

For Sarina Kamini’s Kashmiri family, food is love, love is faith, and faith is family. It’s cause for total emotional devastation when, ten years after her Australian mother is diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, unaddressed grief turns the spice of this young food writer’s heritage to ash and her prayers to poison. At her lowest ebb, Sarina’s dead Ammi’s typed-up cooking notes become a recipe for healing, her progress in the kitchen marked by her movement through bitterness, grief and loneliness—the daal that is too fiery and lumpen; her play with salt that pricks and burns. In teaching herself how to personalise tradition and spirituality through spice, Sarina creates space to reconsider her relationship with Hinduism and God in a way that allows room for questions. She learns forgiveness of herself for being different, and comes to accept that family means change and challenge as much as acceptance and love.

Spirits In A Spice Jar is a memoir written by Sarina Kamini & published by Westland. The author is an Anglo-Indian now living in Western Australia. A former food writer, food editor& food critic, she has spent twenty years working in Paris, California, Edinburgh, Barcelona & Melbourne.

The story revolves around the life of the author, her heritage as a Kashmiri Pundit & her memories which are deep rooted with the Kashmiri food her Australian mother used to make. It’s after 10 years that her mother is diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, the author rekindles her memories & the grief and tries to mould her feelings by trying to cook the food her mother used to make using several spices which gave life to each single dish. Get this book here to read not just about spices & food but also take a stroll down the memory lane of the author,
At first after reading the title I was a bit perplexed about what this book is going to be about, for once I guessed it must be a cookbook of some sorts but to my surprise I was wrong. The book is divided into seventeen chapters, each have been titled after a spice or food item & accordingly the story in each chapter relates to that ingredient. It seems that the book has been written seamlessly & tries to bind you together with the memories of the author. What I loved about this book was the closeness it made me feel with the author’s story, unfortunately & understandably it did proceeded in a slow pace which made it difficult for me to stick with it for a long time. The language is quite easy, the title as well as the cover is beautiful. An enriching read, not to be missed.

Friday, 22 June 2018

#BookReview ; Poonachi by Perumal Murugan

Through a seeming act of providence, an old couple receives a day-old female goat kid as a gift from the cosmos. Thus begins the story of Poonachi, the little orphan goat.
As you follow her story from forest to habitation, independence to motherhood, you recognise in its significant moments the depth and magnitude of your own fears and longings, fuelled by the instinct for survival that animates all life. Masterly and nuanced, Perumal Murugan’s tale forces us reflect on our own responses to hierarchy and ownership, selflessness and appetite, love and desire, living and dying. 
Poonachi is the story of a goat who carries the burden of being different all her life, of a she-goat who survives against the odds. It is equally an expression of solidarity with the animal world and the female condition. The tale is also a commentary on our times, on the choices we make as a society and a nation, and the increasing vulnerability of individuals, particularly writers and artists, who resist when they are pressed to submit.

Poonachi or The Story of a Black Goat is originally written in Tamil by Perumal Murugan, translated into English by N. Kalyan Raman & published by Context, an imprint of Westland. Perumal Murugan heads the department of Tamil literature at a government college in Attur, Tamil Nadu. He is the author of ten novels & five collections each of short stories & poems, as well as ten books of non-fiction. N. Kalyan Raman is a Chennai based translator of Tamil fiction & poetry into English. He has published ten works of translated fiction & over 200 anthologies in India & abroad.

The story revolves around Poonachi, a black goat who was gifted to an old man by a mysterious person. Being a day old, the old man & his wife both were worried about her well being & from then her story of survival began. As she was already quite weak & frail, the old woman paid special ate ntion to her & gradually started feeling quite close to her. But as she grew up along with other goats that belonged to the old couple, she learns a couple of things about the lives of goats. In a series of events which leave her heartbroken & dejected, she realizes the bitter truth of life. A story about a goat but not entirely. Do get this book here,

I love Perumal Murugan hence I had a feeling that I’ll love this book too & that’s what happened. Though the story revolves around a goat we have to understand the underlying theme. The author has successfully layered several themes like politics, superstition, etc into the storyline without overpowering it. Whether it’s the compulsory tagging of goats or standing in queues, each subplot is a brilliant work in itself. The story turns emotional in several chapters where the reader would definitely feel the pain of the goat & that is only possible because of a strong storyline. I won’t forget to mention how amazingly it has been translated. The language is extremely easy, the title can’t be better & the cover is unforgettable. Deserves to be read by everyone.

Sunday, 17 June 2018

#BookBlitz ; Killer Moves by Varsha Dixit

Killer Moves
Varsha Dixit

Everyone has a secret. Aisha Khatri has many! 

Aisha’s life is seemingly mundane on the surface-she writes for television and takes care of her niece Kiara and her retired father. But when Kiara’s life is threatened during a modeling assignment for the famous Kabir Rana, once a suspect for his wife’s murder, the only way Aisha can save Kiara is by accepting the unique ability she has aggressively resisted all her life. 

But Aisha is not the only one with secrets. There are others who have secrets and will kill to keep them. Aisha is determined to protect Kiara even if it means placing herself in the crosshairs of a depraved killer who butchers beautiful girls and leaves them as grotesque displays. 

Is Kiara a target of a serial killer or is the killer closer to home-and Aisha’s heart? 

Who is Kabir Rana? An elusive and moody fashion photographer burdened with a dark past or a murderer who got away? 

How will Aisha save Kiara from a killer who is several steps ahead of an entire city’s police force? When the dead come calling, will Aisha answer? 

From the bustling streets of Goa to the beautiful palaces of Sirsa, Killer Moves is a fast-paced, gripping, romantic suspense tale with strong thriller and supernatural elements. 

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About the author

Varsha Dixit, the best selling author of six successful contemporary romance books. Her debut book, Right Fit Wrong Shoe was a national bestseller for the year 2010. Varsha was a part of the Indian Television Industry and worked as an assistant director and online editor. She considers herself a dreamer who thinks deep but writes light. Even though creativity is gender free,Varsha feels blessed and enriched to be a woman.Currently, with her family, Varsha resides in CA, USA.

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#BookReview ; The Adivasi Will Not Dance by Hansda Sowvendra Shekhar

In this collection of stories, set in the fecund, mineral-rich hinterland and the ever-expanding, squalid towns of Jharkhand, Hansda Sowvendra Shekhar breathes life into a set of characters who are as robustly flesh and blood as the soil from which they spring, where they live, and into which they must sometimes bleed. Troupe-master Mangal Murmu refuses to perform for the President of India and is beaten down; Suren and Gita, a love-blind couple, wait with quiet desperation outside a neonatal ward, hoping—for different reasons—that their blue baby will turn pink; Panmuni and Biram Soren move to Vadodara in the autumn of their lives, only to find that they must stop eating meat to be accepted as citizens; Baso-jhi is the life of the village of Sarjomdih but, when people begin to die for no apparent reason, a ghastly accusation from her past comes back to haunt her; and Talamai Kisku of the Santhal Pargana, migrating to West Bengal in search of work, must sleep with a policeman for fifty rupees and two cold bread pakoras. 

The Adivasi Will Not Dance is a collection of 10 short stories written by Hansda Sowendra Shekhar & published by Speaking Tiger. The author is a medical officer with the government of Jharkhand. He is also author of the critically acclaimed novel The Mysterious Ailment of Rupi Baskey which was shortlisted for The Hindu Prize 2014 and the Crossword Book Award 2014. Sowvendra received the Sahitya Akademi Yuva Puraskar in June 2015.

The book is a collection of several short stories which basically revolve around the lives of Adivasis or tribal people. Basically the stories talk about the lives of people living in different towns of Jharkhand. Each story talks about a different facet of their lives, the challenges & oppression they’ve been facing since a long time, how they’re treated in general & the stigma which follows them all around the country. Get the book here,
I am so glad I decided to start my reading challenge where I’m picking up a book each representing an Indian state, that’s how I got to pick up this book. It talks about several things from an insider’s perspective. From how Adivasi women have to indulge in flesh trade or how they’re attacked by Muslims on one side, on the other Christians want to just convert them while all their promises just prove to be lies & the rich Hindus just want to take away their land or leave their gods & worship the ones they’re told. The language, title & cover everything is to the point. This book is an echo of innumerous screams of Adivasis which have been scuffled for decades. Its loud yet subtle, political yet non-biased & will surely shake you to the core as an Indian, as a human. An important read in today’s time & a must read.

Wednesday, 13 June 2018

#BookReview ; Cobalt Blue by Sachin Kundalkar

A paying guest seems like a win-win proposition to the Joshi family. He's ready with the rent, he's willing to lend a hand when he can and he's happy to listen to Mrs Joshi on the imminent collapse of our culture. But he's also a man of mystery. He has no last name. He has no family, no friends, no history and no plans for the future. The siblings Tanay and Anuja are smitten by him. He overturns their lives and when he vanishes, he breaks their hearts. Elegantly wrought and exquisitely spare, Cobalt Blue is a tale of rapturous love and fierce heartbreak told with tenderness and unsparing clarity.

Cobalt Blue is originally a book written in Marathi by Sachin Kundalkar, translated into English by Jerry Pinto & published by Penguin India. Sachin Kundalkar is a novelist, playwright & film-maker. He won the National Award for the Best Screenplay for the film Gandha in 2008.  Jerry Pinto’s debut novel, Em and the Big Hoom won the 2012 Hindu Literary Prize.

Cobalt Blue is a story about an ordinary traditional Marathi family of 5 people living together in Pune. Things get complicated when a new tenant moves into their house as he is to study art from an institute nearby & 2 siblings, the sister Anuja & the younger brother Tanay fell in love with him. The tenant, though a loner has peculiar attributes which attracts people towards him. As Tanay continued to spend more time with the tenant & comes close with him, Anuja gets introduced with him. With time she forms a special bond with him which Tanay didn’t understood. Then one day she ran away with the tenant without informing anyone leaving Tanay heartbroken. But his isn’t the only heart that gets broken. Get this book here to know the full story,
I heard great things about this book from my friends since a long time & it had been in my TBR since then. As I picked it up for my Pride Month read, I was keeping my fingers crossed for it to be an enjoyable read & now get why my friends raved about this book. The book basically has 2 parts, the first one is the story from Tanay’s POV & the second is Anuja’s. Both the characters are extremely believable, our unnamed paying guest has been portrayed brilliantly. He is a man who will intrigue you, no matter what & if a book comes out with his story, I would surely read it. Though the plot does include the stories of other people but our mystery man does indeed overshadow them. I will also lay emphasis on the diversity of stories present in our regional languages & only because we don’t know the language, we miss out a lot. Jerry Pinto has done a phenomenal work translating it by not diluting the emotions at all. The cover is intriguing, the language is easy & the title of the book is genius. A must read!

Tuesday, 12 June 2018

#BookBlitz ; India: Whose Country is it anyway? by A.P.S Kumar

About the Book:
India's rich diversity, both in its physical and natural aspects, is widely known. India has had a great past with achievements in literature, the arts, medicine and mathematics.

Indians were sea-faring and they spread their influence through their philosophy, religion and military conquest too. But Like a cosmic phenomenon, decline is every civilization is inevitable. Indian civilization too declined.

When a civilization rises, people are driven by idealism; when people are possessed of greed, it declines and falls.

Indians today are possessed of excessive, abominable, putrefying greed.

The author tells it all in an honest, engaging manner. He holds a mirror unto ourselves.

Book Link:

About the Author:
I hail from a middle class family. Son of a soldier, I did my studies in Bengaluru obtaining a Bachelor’s degree (from St. Joseph’s College) in Science and then in Law from a different college. 

Though not very serious about studies, I took to books with keen interest in social sciences history in particular, literature and natural sciences (in general) and current affairs. I am drawn wittingly towards that abstract thinking – that is, philosophy.

Worked in a Government-owned Insurance Company - United India Insurance Co Ltd - as a Salesman (designated as Development Officer) and retired voluntarily a decade ago.
I spend time reading and writing, travelling both within the country and outside. I ardently believe in community work; I concentrate on education of children, obviously from poor background.  

Nationalism – i.e. love of fellow citizens - is my creed. I am passionate about friendships, am devoid of all other -isms.

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#Spotlight ; Matsya: The First Avatar by Sundari Venkatraman

MATSYA: The First Avatar
Sundari Venkatraman


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.

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About the author

Sundari Venkatraman is an indie author who has 16 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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Monday, 11 June 2018

#BookRelease ; Mauri by Saiswaroopa Iyer

~ New Release ~
Mauri by Saiswaroopa Iyer

About the Book:
She wanted to kill the man who others called a God.
Love is but an obstacle in her path

With her father’s death shattering her world, Mauri is torn away from everything she had once loved. Anger replacing every emotion within her, she seeks only one thing. To kill her father’s killer. Even if the man is none less than Krishna Vaasudeva, the man who people worshipped as a God! Someone stands in the way, reining in her bitterness when she is the least prepared for it. The Rakshasa Prince Ghatotkacha! But by the time love sprouts within her, Mauri has gone too far in her thirst for vengeance. 

Can Mauri save herself and Ghatotkacha before the consequences of her own actions can destroy both their worlds?

Book Link:

Read an Excerpt:

“Good aim! But that sorry-looking insult to all weapons is not going to take you very far.”
Mauri jumped out of her skin. The man who had found her out was a complete stranger. A closer look at him told her he was a Rakshasa. Her first instinct was to make a run towards the exit. It would be only a matter of time before this Rakshasa would go and tell Ghatotkacha. Then it struck her that she had never seen this man in Ghatotkacha’s team! Who was he?
“Your secret is safe with me, little one!” He beamed. The broken canine on his upper jaw could not be missed. He took her arm but she shook him off. “Alright! Remember girl, I am your well-wisher.”
“I don’t even know who you are!” Mauri backed away.
“Someone who can protect you from…,” he smirked and pointed to the gap between the two ornate pillars close to where she was hiding, “them”
Mauri peered through the gap. She could count up to six guards furiously searching for the culprit who had dared strike Krishna Vaasudeva. The foolhardy nature of her attempt struck her now. How had she even dreamt of escaping the heavily guarded palace after doing what she’d done?
“Come with me.” He held her arm. “If you want to escape without being seen, that is.” His voice assumed a lower note. “And if you want to get another chance at your target.”
Unsure and still guided by her frustration, Mauri followed him towards a secluded section of the vast palace garden. When she left the place a good couple of hours later, her mind reeled at the task before her. It was too much, what the Rakshasa had asked of her. But she could not have afforded to be caught by the palace guards. Possibly she could have lied about her aim going wrong when she was trying to get some fruit. The news would still have travelled to Dhatri, though, and who knew how she would react? On the other hand, the prospects that this Rakshasa promised, though at great risk, seemed more welcome. Mauri continued to walk in a daze, aimless and unmindful of the maze of paths. A shrill cry calling out to her brought her back to this world.
“Mauri! Where on earth did you disappear?!”Nandini ran up to her, and not very far behind was Dhatri!
For the first time, Mauri found herself tongue-tied, at a loss for explanations. “I…I came with Ghatotkacha. I lost my way.”
“Any guard would have guided you out of this place.” Dhatri’s voice had traces of annoyance. “And why did you not even inform us before leaving?” She sighed as Mauri slipped back into silence again. “I found us a caravan headed eastward. Let us quickly take leave of our hosts and start this afternoon.”
Mauri followed her without a word. She needed to be in Dhatri’s good books. “Mahadevi…after going back to Kamarupa, can I live with you?”
She sawDhatri halt in her steps and look visibly delighted. She heard Nandini squeal with joy. Neither had a clue of what was going on in her mind.
When they left Indraprastha later in the day, Mauri looked back at the glorious looking arch receding into the distance. She had not taken leave of Ghatotkacha. It would have been nice to see him just one more time!

About the Author:

Formerly an analyst with a Venture capital firm, Saiswaroopa currently writes Puranic fiction, with a focus on lesser known heroines of Ancient India. Mauri is her third work of fiction after Abhaya and Avishi. Her interests include Carnatic Music, Philosophy, History and Literature of India. She won a state level gold medal from TTD in rendering AnnamacharyaKritis. She holds an MBA from Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur.

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Saturday, 9 June 2018

#BookBlitz ; Mind, Body and Soul by Shree

Print Length: 30 pages
Publisher: Flaming Sun (Indie published) 
Publication Date: February 11, 2018
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
Language: English
Available on Kindle Unlimited
Genre: LGBT, Short Story 

Vanyaa, obsessed with an Indian television star gets the chance to meet her idol and get to know him—but the secret he hides may tear them both apart, and reality offers a sharp contrast to the glamour of the onscreen world.

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

Shree is an IT Pro turned author since 2015. Her works include short stories collection 'Secret Expressions: Two Stories', novella 'Silent Invaders', which has entered the quarter finals of Screencraft Cinematic Story (for Hollywood) Contest 2017, and Bengali poetry book 'Onuronon', released in International Kolkata Book Fair 2018. Shree is a contributing author of 'Flock-The Journey' and 'Different Strokes'. Her upcoming anthology of love poems is 'Petals of Love'. She is a regular writer on several writing platforms, portals and magazines. She is currently working on some stories and poetries for an American and a Commonwealth journal.

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