Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Book Review: 1857 Dust of Ages Vol 1: A Forgotten Tale by Vandana Shanker

Name of the Book: 1857 Dust Of Ages
Author: Vandana Shanker
Star Rating: 5 stars 
Goodreads: Read the Blurb here 

An Introduction

This is not a novel nor a novelette. Having said that you need to read this short introduction to the series to fall in love with Vandana's writing. 

What is it about?

Set in the period of 1857 when the British Raj was controlling the privy purses of the small kingdoms of India, a British soldier falls in love with  Princess Meera. The gateway to this period is through the POV of Shiv who has found some old documents in his grandmother's old haveli.  A tale that spins over time and crosses the boundaries of past and present, will keep any historical romance lovers enthralled. 

But keep in mind that this story ends abruptly and you will rush to pick up the Volume 2 in the series like I am doing. 

The language of the Author

Is beautiful. Very descriptive and her strength is the way she describes an environment. Very apt for this genre where visualization of a scene is very much needed. 

Shiv's grandmother owned an old haveli. Since his parents were settled in Singapore from the time he was 6 years old, they now felt that she had become too old to stay alone. Shiv got to see the old documents that belonged to generations of his family. That excites the historian in him.

"The room held all the memorabilia of the past – discarded cartons and boxes, old utensils, some broken furniture, out-of-date fittings, Shiv’s old cycle and a cricket bat.  Through the golden motes of dust, Amma pointed at the wooden chest in one corner. Shiv dragged it out and carried it to the living room."

In some of the scenes, I got goosebumps the way she has described the period of 1857. Those creaking doors and the glitter from the past - the abandoned and the false sense of securities of the rajas of that period have are well written. 

Interesting topic 

I found the period she chose very rare. Not many stories of this period in the Indian history is available (I think) Women are not shown in their subdued forms but rather as equals. Though she was not given the right to rule but it was not due to the rules the Indians had for their women but rather the political aspirations of the Britishers. Or maybe a mix of both. But this short introduction to the series got me ready to read the already published books of this series. 

Weaving a periodic tale

Historical romance is a difficult genre to write. Not only are the stats need to be correct but weaving the tale around those stats is equally challenging.

Bhanu Pratap had seen these privileges erode with time. The relationship with the neighboring kingdoms had changed. The British Company became too strong.

The changing period from monarchy to the British Raj. The changing attitude of the natives from nationalists to British loyalist of this era weaved as a story from the point of view of Shiv, John, and Meera. Looking forward to reading the remaining in the series from Vandana.


Grab your copy here 



Finding The Angel: Where it all Began


Have you ever seen a writer's face when they see a review on Goodreads or Amazon? I never knew the feeling till I got my very first review of Knitted Tales. Well, that is the tale for another day. One of my readers asked me why I chose a Faberge Egg as the subject of my story. Here is a small tale attached to that.


The year was 1983 (I think).

Have you seen those egg toffees in India?

They looked something like the picture on the left side of this post but more colorful. I couldn't find a more authentic pic than this. So as the tale proceeds, my two-year-old bro was crazy after these colorful eggs but we were forbidden to eat it. You would get this from the local small grocery shops at I think 12 pieces for Re.1

My mom found it out that I have bought him those eggs without asking anyone and I got all the verbal thrashing. Now my mom had a peculiar way of thrashing her kids. She would tell us stories which generally had a moral in the story. But this time she told me a love story. The love story of a Russian Czar who stole a very expensive egg for his Princess and had to face many difficulties to find the egg. It was nothing to do with my Re.1 eggs but it stayed in mind for a long time. It was such a beautiful tale. Later I realized that she was telling me a story about a Faberge Egg. The history of which I will continue in my next post. 

Thank you +Dola Basu Singh for this lovely review. You can find her review for my Finding The Angel in Goodreads 



You can always grab my book from  Amazon and it's also available on Kindle Unlimited. 


Monday, April 17, 2017

Book Blitz: The Princess of A Whorehouse by Mayank Sharma


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THE PRINCESS OF A WHOREHOUSE: THE STORY OF A 
SWAMP LOTUS
by
Mayank Sharma



Blurb

Aparajita is a tenacious go-getter. Her name means unconquerable in Sanskrit, and she lives up to its meaning. 

Just like any other ambitious girl, she desires to fulfil her dreams and become an independent individual. Far and wide, the shadow of her melancholy past chases her passage. The fact that her widowed mother is a former sex worker irks the community. Nonetheless, she is not ashamed to reveal her mother's past. 

Will she lose hope, or will she defy an enigma that is centuries-old? Will she ever conquer the hearts of a prestige-obsessed community? 

See the world through Aparajita's prism in a tale stirred by some real life events.

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About the author


Mayank Sharma is a computer engineering graduate with post-graduation in business management. He works with a leading technology multinational in Delhi. He has authored a number of articles and white papers on software technology and processes. For the first time in April 2014, his article was featured in Better Software magazine published in Florida, USA. Writing has become Mayank's greatest passion when he observed how it can trigger the winds of change. He is gradually transforming from a “left-brained” writer to a “right-brained” writer. Besides writing, he is passionate about sketching, painting, and making sculptures since childhood.

India is the fifth-largest economy in the world with the Gross Domestic Product growth at 7.1 percent. Contrary, India ranks 118 out of 157 countries in the happiness index. The fact seized Mayank’s attention towards social problems affecting social support, freedom of choices, and generosity, to name a few. Having travelled across continents and associated with people with diverse beliefs and values, he became more curious about the social riddles curtailing liberties across societies. He penned his debut novel, The Princess of a Whorehouse, when he came across some real life incidents that quivered his soul.

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Saturday, April 15, 2017

Book Blitz: Key to My Soul by Probal Mazumdar


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KEY TO MY SOUL
by
Probal Mazumdar






Blurb


"When Siddharth, a lonely young man with a failed marriage gets a sudden phone-call from a mysterious person about his lost childhood lover, Hazel, and learns that she is battling for life, he is shaken to the core. He also learns that she had left certain letters for him fifteen years back that never reached him. It disturbs him so much that he rushes to the hospital in his old hometown. There he discovers an eclipsed past buried in time that is riddled with dangerous surprises, trauma, twists of fate, sacrifices that exemplify true love and the real reasons for the tragic end of their childhood love story. But will Hazel ever open her eyes to see him..."

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About the author


Probal Mazumdar works in an IT company. He is an NIT engineer by societal pressure, singer by accident, guitarist by love at first sound, poet by soul, writer by passion, a world class badminton player in childhood dreams, rebel by day, recluse by night, a samosa in a family of laddoos, a Jughead at the dining table, a shameless and congenital dreamer. 

Oh! An arsonist too – when his wife is not around, sets his own house on fire with his little son. 

He won the FIRST prize in the All India Poetry Competition, 2014, conducted by PSI (Poetry Society of India). Click on www.indianpoetry.org/awardsgeneral14.htm

His other poems have risen too from cold storage into literary journals like Indian Literature (Sahitya Akademi), Wasafiri (U.K. Vol. 67), Acumen (U.K.), OtherPoetry (U.K.), Chandrabhaga Literary Journal (Editor Jayanta Mahapatra), Dhauli Review, amongst others.

He writes short stories too. This is his first foray into writing a novel.

The Title of the Book is “Key To My Soul.”

The entire plot and story of the novel hinges on these words of the Title. Once the protagonist, Sidd, finds out the Key, he enters the Soul of his long lost beloved. The words, “Key to my Soul” is also a phrase used by his beloved in a letter to him which is the axis the story revolves around.

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Friday, April 7, 2017

Book Review: Her Secret Husband by Sundari Venkatraman

Name of the Book: Her Secret Husband
Author: Sundari Venkatraman
Star Rating: 5 stars 
Goodreads: Read the Blurb here 

"Ruma lifted the phone to call Ranveer’s extension. As the phone rang, she checked the taller of the two men." 

And with that Ruma meets Lakshman. Just the right kind of tingling feeling that makes the reader turn every page of the book. Sundari Venkatraman has this tendency to make the reader fall in love with her heroes. At least the female readers.  This time it's the baker who is not only handsome but also has a heart of a gold. A few cynics might point out that such specimen don't exist. Maybe in the real world, they don't. But they do in the world created by Ms. Vekatraman, where every romance reader can escape and forget realism.


The Love Story

Is passionate. Where the demand is not only from the man but from the woman also. Ruma knows her mind and she is anything but shy.

However much critics scream the word 'cliche' when such a beautiful moment is born, fans of die hard romance will always feel a tear of joy trailing down their cheeks when such a moment occurs. When Ruma meets Lakshman at Ranveer's office, little did they know that their chance meeting would turn into a beautiful romance?

But the title Her Secret Husband intrigued me when I first saw it. From the time I have been reading romance, titles like His secret wife, reluctant wife, runaway bride had always been there, but with role reversal, this turns out to be a pleasant change.

Lakshman woke up with a jerk from his dream.It was a recurring one about Ruma Malhotra.

Is this how a guy feels?

I have often wondered about the initial thoughts of my hubby was when he met me.  The very first thought which makes a man decide that he wants to meet a woman again. Did he too spend a few sleepless nights or did a silly grin made him feel foolish in front of his friends? Sundari Venkatraman has brought this out beautifully.

Her second-born spoke little, but she was attuned to his body language.

The Family Saga.

I often call her Sooraj Barjatiya of the Indie world. Ms. Venkatraman does not create novels. She brings to live her characters. Long after you close her books, the characters stay on with you. And when one character makes a special appearance in her other novels, you feel like you have won the prize of a treasure hunt.


Hotter and Bolder 
Sundari has really heated the scenes between Ruma and Lakshman. I like the way Ruma is not a damsel in distress. She can initiate a proposal, make love to her man and if need be learn every aspect of his business and walk along with him.  Even though Sundari's heroines don't carry the torch of feminism burning brightly, they create a space based on equality, passion.

The feeling of homecoming 
With every book of Sundari, I feel I am watching a daily soap. Characters from her previous books make an appearance and I feel excited every time that happens. From what I have read of Sundari, she does not do hate, she only spreads the love. 

Grab your copy here 


Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Book Review: Fighting For Tara by Sunanda Chatterjee

Name of the Book: Fighting For Tara
Author: Sunanda Chatterjee
Star Rating: 5 stars 
Goodreads: Read the Blurb here 

A heart touching subject 

I had read this book quite a while back but if I am to blame anyone for not writing this review, I lay the blame (gently) on the shoulders of my ....ummm kids. :D But this story had been gnawing at the back of mind and it's one of those tales which one will find hard to forget. The settings are perfect, heart touching and make you question humanity.

A child married to an old man when it was time for her to play with dolls. Instead of making a dollhouse she had to feed the baby girl, Tara.  The birth of Tara itself heralds a stream of question is Hansa's life. Can she keep her girl child? What are her priorities? Her husband's death brings on another facet of life in front of her. Widow remarriage to girl infanticide.

Why are not laws implemented?

I don't understand what our lawmakers do when such a thing happens. Just as Hansa runs away from one trouble, she lands up in a ring of prostitution. Escaping that, she finds life in another country.

Another country. Sadly, that is the truth behind our lives. Are we Indians all closing our eyes and not seeing exactly what is happening? When hundreds of children are forced into prostitution due to a few greedy pimps. Where are our lawmakers? Hansa is lucky but can others feel the do the same? Oh yeah, Fighting for Tara will bring out a few strong emotions in your heart.

Girls like Hansa 

Are not rare in any part of the world. While I understand sex education and moral science classes are very important in all schools, I think every child should be taught how to defend themselves. Hansa shows a logical  thinking process from an early age and this helps her to face many situations. Like running away from the man who wanted to marry her, running away from prostitution and ultimately fighting for the child who was the reason for her living - Tara.

Hansa gets lucky 

When she is saved by a loving childless couple. I almost pitied the mom in this case. She adopted without knowing what she was getting into. Adoption can be very complicated if secrets are kept from the adoptive parents. But do I blame Hansa for doing what she did? I don't know. Sitting in my cushioned den, it's very easy to be moralistic but a girl has got to do what she has to do to survive the odds.

Many issues raised. 

Sunanda has done a lovely job in raising many issues.  Child marriage and a girl without support once her old husband dies. If this part was taken care of India, she wouldn't  have had the need to cross the seven seas.

Neat ending 

A few questions churned within me when I probed deeper into the story. Hansa's adjustment to the western culture was almost seamless. True she was learning English for a long time but dialects? Adopting a new culture must not have been easy, especially for a girl from her background.

But keeping this one point aside, the jealousy of the mothers, the fighting spirit of Hansa and the growth of Hansa as a woman will leave a lump in your throat. It's definitely one of those books you would want to keep on your shelf for a long time.

Grab your copy here