Wednesday, 26 September 2018

#BookReview ; Shahryar by Rakhshanda Jalil

One of the most important voices in contemporary Indian poetry, Shahryar (1936-2012) casts a mesmeric spell since the publication of his very first collection, Ism-e Azam, in 1965. In a career spanning five decades, it is interesting how Shahryar always managed to remain topical and his poetry could always be called 'the call of the time'. This ability to remain relevant and to always have something to say consistently over a period of time is a singular quality. This book locates Shahryar's considerable body of work in the trajectory of contemporary Indian writings and evaluates his extraordinary contribution to not merely modern Urdu poetry but, more significantly, modern Indian poetry.

Shahryar: A Life in Poetry is a book which traces the life of Kunwar Akhlaq Muhammad Khan famously known as Shahryar written by Rakhshanda Jalil & published by Harper Collins. She is a writer, critic & literary historian and has published over 15 books and written over 50 academic papers and essays. She runs an organization called Hindustani Awaaz, devoted to the popularization of Hindi-Urdu literature& culture.

Born to a darogha in Bareilly district in 1930s Shahryar was destined to be in the police just like his father and brother. As he finished his primary education, he was sent to Aligarh for further studies where he was introduced to Urdu. With time the pressure to join the police also increased which compelled him to leave his home & continue his studies at Aligarh University, his friends helped him throughout while Khalilur Rahman Azmi gave him a place to stay & also encouraged his poetic talents to flourish. As we read further about his life we follow his journey from a young student to a famous poet, we see disagreement to be put into any kind of box & how he never let his art be constricted under labels. Get this book here to read the magnificent journey of not just an artist but also his art,
I am not a fan of poetry and I find it difficult to read such books because I don’t find all poems in any collection appealing. When I picked up this book I was quite worried that my bias would cloud my judgment but I think it didn’t. First of all, this book beautifully amalgamates the poems with the life story of Shahryar. The author has aptly translated the poems which honestly helped me a lot to understand certain Urdu words & maybe because of that I even liked reading it. The author mentions the ghazals, nazms & film lyrics and the story attached to them. The language used is simple yet elegant, the title & cover fits perfectly. In short, I think anyone who is interested to read about a different kind of poetry & the poet who wrote them should definitely pick this book up.

Tuesday, 25 September 2018

#Spotlight : Plot Your Health by C.J. Ellisson

Plot Your Health, a Journey to Wellness Planner
C.J. Ellisson

Genre: health/medical non-fiction

Publisher: Red Hot Publishing

Date of Publication: September 25, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-938601-583
ISBN: 978-1-938601-590

Number of pages: 220

Cover Artist: C.J. Ellisson

Book Description:

Are you struggling to stay on top of multiple medications and supplements throughout your day? Or maybe your doctor has asked for daily details on your symptoms? Do you miss treatment appointments, or have problems juggling all the details? If you need space to log your steps, moods, hours of sleep, blood sugar levels, or even foods — we've got you covered!

Introducing a one-year wellness planner for managing severe and chronic health concerns! Terrific for parents managing a child’s complex care, teenagers or adults who need to organize their health concerns, or for caregivers and adults managing the care of senior patients.

220 pages in length, with a repeat of multiple tracking pages for twelve months.

Notebook Contents:

-        Owner’s Info page with room for doctor info, personal data, emergency contacts, allergies and more!

-        Two pages for Condition Details, room to list six per page.

-        Four pages of Medicine and Supplement Records, six per page.

-        Four pages for tracking test results, scans, and blood work throughout the year.

Twelve monthly sections, each with the following:
  • Undated monthly calendar pages, for jotting down doctor appointments, wellness visits, physical therapy, IV infusions, or whatever you need.
  • Two Doctor/ Wellness visit pages, for questions to ask at each appointment, room for notes, and an area to jot down tests needed.
  • Treatment Record pages, with room to track nine treatments per month, plus an extra lined page for notes or more appointments.
  • A two-page Symptom trackers, each with room to track twenty symptoms for an entire month.
  • Three-pages per month of Medicine and Supplement tracking grids. Each contains room to track four meds that need to be taken three times a day, and room to track twenty-one meds required twice a day. (This area can be customized for more meds if they are taken only once per day).
  • Mood-tracking coloring image. Assign a color to a mood and color each section per day according to how you feel.
  • Additional two-page grid for tracking sleep, food, blood pressure, habits, blood sugar, oxygen levels... pretty much anything you need! Eighteen spaces to track for each month.
  • Two lined pages per month for additional needs.
  • Future planning area on the last page for appointments and scheduling for the next year.

About the Author:

C.J. Ellisson is a NYT and USA Today bestselling author who writes urban fantasy, mystery, romance, and has ventured into non-fiction with Plot Your Work, the Writer’s Project Planner and Plot Your Health, a Journey to Wellness Planner. She lives in northern Virginia with her husband, two teenagers, three dogs and two cats—reporting to love the energetic zoo that’s become their home.

C.J. turned to writing in 2009 when she could no longer work outside the home due to chronic illness, and claims the escape of writing fiction helped save her sanity. A self-proclaimed Lupus and Lyme Warrior, she is working toward getting stronger, putting her Lupus back into remission, and staying healthy.

Instead of dozens of pills, IVs, exhaustion, and pain, C.J.’s days are now filled with writing, walking dogs, exercising, eating healthy, and leading a novel-writing club in her daughter’s school. It all leads to a fun-filled, busy day, and she’s incredibly grateful to be so involved in life again.

Plot Your Health FB Page: 

Plot Your Health FB User Group:

Plot Your Health on Etsy:

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Tuesday, 18 September 2018

#Spotlight ; 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. 
Grab your copy @
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.
You can stalk her @
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Sunday, 16 September 2018

#BookReview ; Requiem In Raga Janki by Neelum Saran Gour

Allahabad, early twentieth century. The British rule across India, but Avadhi culture is thriving. In this city where singers, musicians and poets assemble, a star emerges. Janki Bai Ilahabadi enthrals listeners wherever she performs, and counts as her fans maharajas and maharanis, poets and judges, nawabs and government officials-everyone. She is Janki 'Chhappan Chhuri', Janki of the fifty-six knives-attacked in her youth, she survives miraculously. Brought up in a nautch house, she rises to become the queen of Allahabad, her voice taking her from penury to palaces and royal durbars.
Based on the real-life story of Hindustani singer Janki Bai Ilahabadi (1880-1934), Requiem in Raga Janki is the beautifully rendered tale of one of India's unknown gems. Moving from Hindustani classical music's earliest times to the age of the gramophone, from Tansen's mysticism to Hassu Khan's stringent opposition of recordings, this is a novel that brings to life a golden era of music through the eyes of a gifted performer.

Requiem in Raga Janki is a historical fiction written by Neelum Saran Gour. The author has written multiple books like Grey Pigeon and Other Stories, Speaking of ’62, Winter Companions and Other Stories, Virtual Realities, Sikandar Chowk Park & Song Without End and Other Stories. She is a professor of English at the University of Allahabad. You can know more about her at

The plot is set in the early twentieth century Allahabad, our protagonist is Janki Bai Illahabadi & this is her story. India is still under British rule but culture and art is still flourishing, it has proven to unite people together by not just describing the beautiful facets of life but also raising the voice against oppression. We trace her journey from being abandoned by her father at a young age to get sold along with her mother to a nautch house (kotha), we trace her journey from there to the great artist she came to be. She is also known as Janki ‘Chhappan Chhuri’ & behind this name lies a horrific story but don’t let that define her as she is much more than that. Her art even mesmerized King George V so much that he gifted her with 100 guineas. Do get this book to follow the life of the legendary singer-song writer of India,
I get very excited to read a book about Allahabad or a story set in the city, since it’s my hometown I love to learn about its glorious history or even read fictional works around it. So, when I got a chance to read this is book I was quite excited & luckily it didn’t let me down. We get to know a larger than life character who went through so much in her past but it just made her stronger. The scenes have been described in detail & beautifully, the whole aura of the singer as well as of that particular time period has been entrapped in this book in a way which honestly I haven’t read in a long time. Beautiful cover & title, language is quite easy. A rare piece of literature, not to be missed.

Monday, 3 September 2018

#BookReview ; Ghachar Ghochar by Vivek Shanbhag

From a cramped, ant-infested house to a spacious bungalow, a family finds itself making a transition in many ways. The narrator, a sensitive young man, is numbed by the swirl around him. All he can do is flee every day to an old-world cafe, where he seeks solace from an oracular waiter. As members of the family realign their equations and desires, new strands are knotted, others come apart, and conflict brews dangerously in the background.

Masterfully translated from the Kannada by Srinath Perur, Ghachar Ghochar is a suspenseful, playful and ultimately menacing story about the shifting consequences of success.

Ghachar Ghochar is a fiction written in Kannada by Vivek Shanbhag, translated into English by Srinath Perur & published by Harper Perennial. The author has published 5 short-story collections, 3 novels & 2 plays, and edited 2 anthologies, one of which is in English. Srinath Perur writes on a variety of subjects, often to do with travel or science. He is the author of the travelogue If It’s Monday It Must Be Madurai.

The story revolves around the narrator & his family, we follow their journey from an ant-infested 4 room house to a large bungalow. We get to know Amma & Appa parents of the narrator, Amma basically controls the household throughout the book while we see a shift in Appa’s character. Then we meet Malati, narrator’s sister & Chikappa, the younger brother of narrator’s father. Both went through drastic changes in their lives in different ways. At last there’s Anita, the wife of the narrator who is a fierce woman who speaks her mind out loud. As the family gets rich eventually but in a short period of time, a closely knit family experiences different changes in their lifestyles. Get this book in order to experience a story which will indeed touch every single one of us,
First of all, let me address the elephant in the room & that is the title of this book as well as the cover and let me tell you that when you’re done with this book it’ll all make sense. Honestly this is one of the few books where both the cover & title makes so much sense. All the characters are so believable that it’s uncanny, we get to see how the dynamics in the household changes and how each character changes their perception accordingly. We also see how greed in a family is made a priority over everything. This book is basically a window into the lives of innumerous families & their collective psyche. Something I haven’t read in a long time & deserve to be read by everyone.