Saturday, June 28, 2014

The Evolution of Gods: The Scientific Origin of Divinity and Religionsby Dr. Ajay Kansal




Book Details:
Print Length: 214 Pages
Publication Date: August 2012
Language: English
Genre: Non-Fiction, Religion and Spirituality, Comparative Religion,
Atheism



Blurb:
Did gods create humanity or did humans create gods?
Did gods create mankind, or did mankind create gods? Why, when and how did mankind begin to worship gods? 

Religious scriptures the world over claim that one or the other god made all plants and animals, but science has not yet identified any supernatural power that created and overned living beings.  Was it man who came up with the idea of gods to help him cope with his own fears? Could it be that ancient people attributed natural phenomena-unfathomable and frightening to them-to the working of invisible gods?  What kind of sufferings or fears made people bow before unseen powers or gods as we call them? When were these gods
createdWho invented morals and methods of worshipWho wrote the ancient scriptures such as the Bible and the Vedas? Most crucially, have gods and the scriptures shaped our responses to the world around us? 

The Evolution of Gods seeks to answer these questions, and explains scientifically how, when and why religions and gods came into being.Ajay Kansal marshals anthropological and historical facts about the development of religions in a simple and straight forward manner to assert that it was mankind that created gods, and not the other way around.


Buying Links:
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Review 

How many of us have questioned why 'God' came into being? How many of us have dared to ask this question? I have. Have been hushed all the time. So when I came across this book, it brought forward all the so called rebellious thoughts of mine. I, as a 'Man', have evolved. According to the Darwin’s Theory of Evolution- from the apes. But what about our Maker? Who thought of him or about him? What is the story behind the Evolution of God?
Ajay Kansal has very beautifully portrayed how the concept of religion and the fear of religion came into being. Whether I agree with him or not doesn't matter or is of no consequence. I, as a reviewer, am only presenting how he wrote the book and his thoughts. I necc. don't have to agree with him. 

Few of his concepts that caught my eye: 

1) How did priests come into being?
2) Why we started burying out dead or burning them?
3) Concept why hymns came into being or rather why priests chanted them? 
4) Why different religions sacrificed animals?

His language is impeccable and his thoughts are clear. But as a reader, I found it more of a history lesson than a belief. My problem is only one thing – the same one I had from my childhood. A why? How did Mr. Ajay Kansal come to this conclusion? How can he back his thoughts up scientifically? Yes, he has traced the roots back to history. Why man feared and worshiped fire…. But who created the fire? He has answered questions like why man feared the flood and worshiped Jal Dev .. my question would be who created the water. It is like old wine in a new bottle. My moral science teacher told me the same thing. 

But if I go alone with his thoughts, I found them well researched and well written. His voice has a commanding tone, makes a reader want to sit up, to understand the concept. A great writing trait indeed.
Rating 


Reasoning
As I have already mentioned the questions which he attempt to answer, the answers to the question I am searching – is still a question to me. I hope Mr. Ajay Kansal can answer me those one day. But he is one powerful writer whom I will surely look out for when his next book is published.


About the Author:

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Ajay Kansal is a professor and consultant pathologist. It was during his medical practice that he encountered human suffering in a big way that made him question the concept of Gods and drove him to write this book.
The Evolution of Gods is his first book and the only book written by an Indian author on the concept of the existence of God which talks of all religions and is not based on any one particular form of it. His next work is a romance which is currently in progress.


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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

When Hari Met his Saali by Harsh Wardhan



Blurb :

The only magical thing missing from her life… happened to her sister!His idea of romance is that it is unnecessary.Tia was in love with her career and her lifestyle in America. And she was madly in love with Hari. But where was the romance she craved?
Simi was the young girl left behind in a small town in India who hadn’t seen her sister for years. She was a dreamer. But what did she really want out of life?
And then there was Hari. Straight-forward and uncomplicated, it felt like nothing he did was ever good enough for Tia. But didn’t every man want an ambitious and successful wife no matter how demanding they were?
Theirs was a love story that was never going to be conventional. But what happened to Hari and Tia was something that nobody would have predicted.
Mix two sisters with bad history between them and one clueless man, to form one whacky triangle, and you get a cautionary lesson in how you should be careful of what you wish for in the name of love?
Set in Los Angeles and Nagpur, India, ‘When Hari Met His Saali’ is a funny, fresh, and outrageous look at young people and their dreams, longings, aches and heartbreaks. It is a fascinating take on the grand idea of love and the reality of romance. In a breezy, humorous narrative anchored around a magical twist, the story of Tia, Simi and Hari unfolds from romantic comedy into a climax full of suspense.

Buy@

Review

Harlequin India  is sure going through many changes – good ones. When I read WHMHS, the first thing that struck me was now the doors for many writers have opened up. How often I have heard writers crying out –‘who is an alpha hero?” “do such Heros really exist. For the cynic in me- a definite no and  for the Romantic in me – Please lord, let this one wish of mine come true!
Hari is really a funny character. Funny is maybe not the right word. Let’s just say I know that guys like Hari do exist. His insecurities, his idiosyncracies and his goof ups all add up to create the species we call MALE. Tia and Sim Sim – oops sorry!.. Simi are also very realistic characters. 
When I started reading the novel, I had my doubts. A male’s perspective in Mills and Boon – after Victoria Gordon I did not think we would see this day.  But I suppose now it will be interesting to see what else Harsh Wardhwan will pull out in the near future. 
Tia and Simi are sisters. While Smi in in India looking after her mother, Tia had left home for greener pastures in the US. She  has a life to be envied, a good salaried job and a rich and loving fiancé, Hari. Well, loving being debatable.  But they both live in the bubble of a happy life and being perfect for each other. 
That was till Hari hadn’t met Simi, his would be Saali.  But here again, it is nothing like alpha heroes meets a damsels in distress. In fact, I was wondering if I have missed a line or two where the heroine blushes and the hero looks deeply into her eyes and smiles sardonically. I hadn’t. In fact the Hero was scratching his ….. (Me shaking my head in utter surprise!)
Now Hari is caught between the sisters! Now, as a writer or reader, please don’t think ordinary. Harsh came out with an ‘out of the box’ idea- Hari is hypnotized into falling in love with Simi. 
So, what does Hari do after he comes out of hypnosis ?
Tut tut.. don’t let your jaws drop !
Rating 

Reasoning

Any novel, which makes  the  reader to ‘want’ to reach the end deserves a five star. The language is not perfect, but it is exactly like Indians in the USA speak. It is so damn relatable. The Indian family life in the USA or the Nagpur counterpart both are brought out well. In fact, I have experienced two of the incidents mentioned by Harsh Wardhwan. 
1. The Itinerary
2. The Taxi :) Read to find out more !

The best thing I liked about the characters – all the characters are the gray shades.  Even Simi is no good two shoes. Hari is no knight in the shining armor. They are ordinary people like you and me. Making mistakes, being bitchy and naughty and not shy in showing their emotions. 
A FAIR WARNING:
After reading this book some of you might be off certain flavors of ice-cream!



Monday, June 23, 2014

Review of Spent Lives by Mila A. Ballentine


  

The Blurb:

François Laurent grew up in the shadow of what happened all those years ago and his life hadn’t been the same since. He tucked the memories of that day away in a dark corner of his mind, but hurtful things don’t stay hidden for long. His painful secrets resurfaced when a crime fragmented their charming town and François Laurent found himself in the midst of it all. As a result, he pursued Maureen Leatherby, the town’s kooky foreigner. She was always willing to assist patrons when the occasion arose, but it always came with a
price.

My Review
When I started reading this book I was not impressed at all. In fact, the influx of characters and what they were doing made my head dizzy. But I trudged along and I am glad I did. After a few pages when the character grip you, you find yourself in a small town with its hidden secrets and character flaws. To whom does this story actually belong to I am still confused. But on the whole I might say it is a story of a small town where the characters are all affected by a medium/tarot reader/fortune tellers prophecies. 
A young girl goes missing and her brother, Francois  grows up bearing the sibling guilt of why not him. A woman kills her fiancé because of being forewarned by Madame Leatherby that her fiancé would kill her in the future.  But Madame Leatherby’s character is very fascinating. I felt she is the one who is like a string –tying all the characters together in this story. And then there is her own guilt, her own questioning of whether what she is doing is the right thing or not. Being a medium, she can see the future, but after telling her client that, they try to change the future and this changes the course of many lives. 
The disappearing girls is also a mystery which makes you want to turn the pages of the book. And the biggest asset for me in this story was I FINISHED IT IN ONE READ AFTER TELLING MYSELF AGAIN AND AGAIN THAT THIS STORY IS NOT FOR ME.
Rating


Reasoning

The beginning of the story is very confusing. I kept on asking myself where is all this leading to? Why are there so many characters? And most of all how the heck are they all related? Once I got into the story I was caught by it but to keep plodding on for the first few pages was a bit daunting.


Spent Lives Book Trailer

  
 
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Saturday, June 21, 2014

Review of The Madras Mangler by Usha Narayanan


The Madras Mangler by Usha Narayanan






The Blurb

Five pretty girls from around the country, enjoying college life in Chennai, chasing their own dreams. Until a psychopath comes to town, killing girls and dumping their bodies in the rivers. The killer is smart, dangerous and very angry. Just like Vir Pradyumna, ace criminologist from New York, who is fighting his own demons from the past. Ruthless politicians, bumbling cops, beer barons and cyber criminals run amuck. The killer snatches a girl whom Vir has sworn to protect. A Hollywood action crew and the crowds at the India-Australia cricket one-dayer get sucked into the relentless buildup to a nail-biting climax. Will Vir be in time to stop the maniac and save the girl?

Buy @

Review

The story itself starts with a very nail biting incident. College ragging at its brutal worst! How can young minds be so cruel? This is one question that  has always troubled me. So, you can very well understand when it started with this incident, I was caught up in this book totally. Kudos to Usha Narayanan for writing such action packed novel. She is no shrinking violet when it comes using words to create a college ragging scene. I felt angry and anxious at the same time. But then enters our hero and heroine. And I breathe in relief. 
Kat and Vir. Lively pair and adventure certainly  follows them where ever they go. When Kat protested against the college ragging, she too was dragged inside it. But the timely intervention of Vir not only saved her but all the other students too. Soon Kat and her friends Minx, Lolita, Moti and Deepika found themselves in huge problems. The college nasties were making their lives miserable with cyber bullying and eve teasing and also politically backed A-holes were were making their lives a hell. [Sorry for that, but this is one thing that annoys me, especially in a country which prides itself in its democracy). To top it all they fell the radar of a serial killer. After that, I do not envy the girls one bit, for their lives became a roller coaster ride of lust, betrayal, greed and untimely death. 
The story is gripping. It had its nail biting moments and though I guessed who the killer was after the first clue was given, but it has nothing  to do with Usha’s way of writing a mystery. I am just too good :P. Though  I am itching to say something about the killer but it will be taken as a spoiler, won’t it?  Let's just say you will love him when you meet him and hate him when he leaves you dead  :O
I have to mention something about the writing style of the author. She has created a wonderful college scene. The student lives with all its ups and downs,  the raggings, the weeds, the hidden drug sellers and the chaiwalas (tea sellers ) all combine to create the ambiance of a college life. Moreover, her words etches the scenes beautifully. The gory details of the murder, The Hatchet office has been beautifully described as has been the fetishness of the serial killer. She is a gripping story teller no doubt.  
Rating 

Reasoning

Whenever a story leaves a question in my mind I feel uneasy. Here I had two -

1. Why is the relationship between Lolita and Charan Raj not explored? It had so much depth into it. The ending was tied up too neatly, especially after the news came out, wasn’t Charan Raj affected politically?
2. Why did Vir come  the college? Here I cannot say much without spilling the beans. But I am sure the author will understand when I say that a heart- broken man will not come for what he had come for. Love could have been a motivating factor but …… (band aid on my mouth….:).)





           
Watch it

Meet the Author
Be crazy, be creative. That’s been my mantra as a writer and a creative director ― in advertising, radio, corpcomm and web-writing. I turned up the craziness a notch by becoming a novelist, with the freedom to write exactly what I wanted. I started a romcom, changed it into a thriller and sweated and slogged to get the pieces to work together. Research, cliffhangers, suspense, clues, red herrings ― my brain was in a tizzy for days and months. 
Done, dusted off, dispatched. A few rejections, heartbreak. A contract from Leadstart, bliss. Creating a spooky book trailer with images and music I bought online. A tweak here and there, with my editor. Poring over images for the cover. Suggesting the artist turn ‘The’ in the title sideways. The book comes out on Flipkart and Amazon first. And after some nail-biting suspense, in bookstores. Organised a launch with Suhasini Maniratnam and Rudra Krishna. Great media reviews. Lovely, wonderful blogger friends. I love being an author 
Stalk her @
      

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Spotlight :The Madras Mangler by Usha Narayanan


The Madras Mangler by Usha Narayanan






The Blurb

Five pretty girls from around the country, enjoying college life in Chennai, chasing their own dreams. Until a psychopath comes to town, killing girls and dumping their bodies in the rivers. The killer is smart, dangerous and very angry. Just like Vir Pradyumna, ace criminologist from New York, who is fighting his own demons from the past. Ruthless politicians, bumbling cops, beer barons and cyber criminals run amuck. The killer snatches a girl whom Vir has sworn to protect. A Hollywood action crew and the crowds at the India-Australia cricket one-dayer get sucked into the relentless buildup to a nail-biting climax. Will Vir be in time to stop the maniac and save the girl?

Buy @
           
Watch it

Meet the Author
Be crazy, be creative. That’s been my mantra as a writer and a creative director ― in advertising, radio, corpcomm and web-writing. I turned up the craziness a notch by becoming a novelist, with the freedom to write exactly what I wanted. I started a romcom, changed it into a thriller and sweated and slogged to get the pieces to work together. Research, cliffhangers, suspense, clues, red herrings ― my brain was in a tizzy for days and months. 
Done, dusted off, dispatched. A few rejections, heartbreak. A contract from Leadstart, bliss. Creating a spooky book trailer with images and music I bought online. A tweak here and there, with my editor. Poring over images for the cover. Suggesting the artist turn ‘The’ in the title sideways. The book comes out on Flipkart and Amazon first. And after some nail-biting suspense, in bookstores. Organised a launch with Suhasini Maniratnam and Rudra Krishna. Great media reviews. Lovely, wonderful blogger friends. I love being an author 
Stalk her @