Friday, June 30, 2017

Blog Tour: Just Me, The Sink and The Pot by Sudesna Ghosh



JUST ME, THE SINK & THE POT
by
Sudesna Ghosh



Blurb

Meet Pamela, an overweight girl who's looking back at her school days. From longing for a Valentine to dealing with a sibling who hates her, Pamela has a lot to deal with. She even has a special bunch of friends at home who she can turn to - but they aren't the kind of friends you'd expect. Life sucks when you're fat. Can Pamela ever be happy?

Read an excerpt of the book here...

One day a classmate asked me, “Where is your lunch?” I told her that I had already had it and went back to my fake laughter and smiles. The others chatted and laughed while they ate from their tiffin boxes. Some brought samosas or ice cream from outside the gate. My hunger pangs got worse as I saw all the food and smelt the delicious odours around me.

The ice cream cart was run by a sweet old man who knew me since I’d started school. He would ask me some days, “Child, you don’t want your favourite orange stick?” I would say no thank you and smile before running away from him and his cart. One day he seemed to be desperate to make me have an ice cream. “Child! Come here and have an ice cream. You don’t have to pay me,” he called out. I smiled, turned around and went to hide in an empty classroom. Two minutes later, I shrieked; the old man had found me. He was carrying a dripping ice cream for me. I started laughing. Then I started running away from him. The old man started running after me!

My classmates were shocked. The sports teacher was happy to see me run for the first time – I had never run before because fat moves when you run. Everybody would laugh. The lunch break ended with me accepting the mostly melted orange stick from the kind ice cream man. We were too tired to talk about the whole event. But it did make me a bit popular that year, with the school Yearbook including the story and a picture of me running away from a 6 feet tall man holding an ice cream.

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About the author



Sudesna (Sue) Ghosh is a writer based in Kolkata. She was born in the United States and moved to India when she was 9. After completing high school there, she went back to the US for her higher education at the University of Rochester. She has also penned What Would I Tell Her @ 13 and News Now, along with several short stories. When Sudesna isn’t writing, she tries to do her bit for animal welfare.
       

                          

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Schedule: Just Me, The Sink and The Pot by Sudesna Ghosh




Your Name :Type of post :Date of Posting
artiSpotlight7/3/2017
Chitra IyerSpotlight7/4/2017
Surbhi SareenSpotlight7/4/2017
Nilima MohiteSpotlight7/5/2017
Chittajit MitraSpotlight7/5/2017
Sundari VenkatramanSpotlight7/5/2017
Rubina RameshSpotlight7/6/2017
Devika FernandoSpotlight7/6/2017
AnkaReview7/6/2017
DeeptiReview7/6/2017
Aparna NayakReview7/7/2017
artiReview7/8/2017
Geeta NairReview7/8/2017
Chitra IyerReview7/9/2017
indyReview7/9/2017
Kavita RajeshReview7/10/2017
RC BeanReview7/10/2017
Mayuri NidigalluReview7/11/2017
Rubina RameshReview7/11/2017
Reet SinghInterview7/11/2017
Nikita JhanglaniReview7/12/2017
Ruchi SinghReview7/12/2017
Paromita GoswamiGuest Post7/12/2017
Nilima MohiteReview7/13/2017
Ruchira KhannaReview7/13/2017
Surbhi SareenGuest Post7/13/2017
FloryieReview7/14/2017
Sunita SaldhanaReview7/14/2017
Chitra IyerInterview7/14/2017
Rajan MoghaReview7/15/2017

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Thursday, June 22, 2017

Book Review Opportunity: The Money Lender by Manju Nambiar

Name of the Book: The Money Lender
Name: Manju Nambiar
Publication Date: June 1, 2017
  • Publisher: Amazon 
  • 59  pages

Satire



Blurb:


"I am a money lender by profession and belong to a small town in the Southern State of Kerala in India. I help people financially in their times of need, and demand exorbitant interest rates in return. I love money. I think the world revolves around money. Money is one thing that can bring happiness, peace, tranquility to my life. As I spent all my life dealing with money and people who yearn for it, I get to hear several interesting tales about the fascinating people around me. So I compiled few of such amusing stories for my readers. These stories reflect our town, our way of living, our thoughts and priorities and our deepest innermost fears." 

The book is a collection of short stories, narrated through the eye of a small town money lender. As the story unfolds, we see how the money lender gets involved in the town's problems and provide solutions in the most humorous and practical manner.




This is a review request opportunity for all those who love to read and review books. A few rules:
  • Only request if you want to read and review the book.
  • We are not only looking for reviews on your blog. So if you DON'T have a blog, that's fine. You can post your reviews on Goodreads and Amazon.
  • We will send you the book only after checking with your Goodreads review list. So if you are new, that's fine. We welcome new bloggers. But we have a right to refuse your request.
  • These books are not a part of the blog tours we host. You will be given an option to choose the date you will review.
  • It would be great if you could spread the word of our this program among your author and reader friends.

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Author Sudesna Ghosh speaks about the importance of empathy and writing honestly

Author Sudesna Ghosh

It’s tough to write on a subject that requires sensitive handling! As an author, what do you think are the key elements one has to keep in mind while writing about a sensitive topic?


Writing about a sensitive topic requires two things – empathy and the ability to write honestly. In my
case, writing a book that started with my own experiences of battling negative body image, was not a
challenge because I had these two traits in me. I have always emphasised the need to speak openly about mental health issues even though that definitely scares some people away. But you know, the
people who matter, appreciated my belief and responded to my frankness with empathy and often, opened up about their own mental health concerns.

I have read a great amount of fiction and nonfiction since my childhood and there are two books that
have touched me for the way that the author has handled a sensitive topic; first one is Sons and Lovers, a classic by D.H. Lawrence, and then there is Ramona and her Father by Beverly Cleary. Sons and Lovers is a must read for anybody keen on understanding psychology and human behavior. The author has handled the mother-son relationship and how it can be unhealthy, to perfection – with
no attempt to sugar coat the dark nature of the bond, and with adequate attention to the feelings of each character involved. In other words, the reader is allowed to visit each character’s mind to understand why the mother is behaving that way and why the son is responding in his way. Clarity and no bias towards any character. A fair representation of both sides of each relationship.

As for Ramona and her Father, it is a children’s book, which any adult can enjoy and love as well. In fact, I re-read it recently. The author focuses on the relationship between a little girl and her father, after he has lost his job. As expected, she worries. A lot. Some people do not understand how deeply children can feel, but if you read this book, you won’t make that mistake again. Cleary has done a fantastic job of sharing with the reader what goes through a child’s mind when her family is in trouble, especially her father. She spends a large part of the story worrying about her father’s smoking habit too, something that hasn’t been covered in any other children’s books I’ve read.

Writing something and writing something that touches the reader are two different tasks. I certainly
hope that I can achieve the latter with Just me, the Sink & the Pot.


About the Author

Sudesna (Sue) Ghosh is a writer based in Kolkata. She was born in the United States and moved to India when she was 9. After completing high school there, she went back to the US for her higher education at University of Rochester. She has also penned What Would I Tell Her @ 13 and News Now, along with several short stories. When Sudesna isn’t writing, she tries to do her bit for animal welfare.


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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Book Review: The Prince's Surprise Bride by Devika Fernando

Name of the Book: The Prince's Surprise Bride
Author: Devika Fernando
Star Rating: 4 stars 
Goodreads: Read the Blurb here 

Prince Erik of the Norse Kingdom of Eirik and Jessica's meeting was not at all what is expected in a fairy tale romance. A shift in their stars makes them become co-victims in a conspirator's act of kidnapping.  As the saying goes, strange circumstances make strange bedfellows.  So in the darkness when these two souls were forced to be 'cell-partners' they became each other's backbone. A friendship that carried them out of that world and into their own worlds. And now the question was would their two world, which was so different from each other, allow them to fall in love and think of a future?

Devika Fernando does it again. Creating two characters that are so beautifully meant to be for each other. A lovely read for any romance lover.

The Story line:
Is nothing new. In a romance novel, it's always a boy meets the girl and a conflict separating them anyways. But what made me turn the pages was the powerful attraction and the conflict that the author has managed to create.

The Opening Scene:

Where were they headed to, for God’s sake? Someplace secret and horrible where they could do unspeakable things to her?

Is one of the best subplots of this novel. You want to know where they will go from there. The hero is the knight in the shining armor and the heroine is in a bad situation despite being a strong counterpart to the hero. Good combination.

There was one scene which made me stop and re-read. A scene which brings out the uniqueness in the hero. A point where the girl is scared and the dashing prince sings a lullaby to her. It was so sweet and poetic and makes every romance reader wish that that could be true in their lives too. And not only in this scene. Later when he is thinking of their future together his thoughts were -

Flashes of her preparing breakfast for him and him returning the favor appeared in his mind.

Isn't that cute?

Devika Fernando has interlocked the characters from her previous books and series lovers will love it. One thing I couldn't help noticing were the number of action sequence this book had. From the kidnapping to the last scene, this book is studded with action scenes. All that was missing was the music :) Cinematographic.

Recommended for all those who would love an action oriented romance. 

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Monday, June 19, 2017

Blog Tour: Wrong Turn by Sanjay Chopra & Namita Roy Ghose



THE WRONG TURN:
Love and Betrayal in the Time of Netaji
by
Sanjay Chopra & Namita Roy Ghose



Blurb

1944, Kohima — a small, sleepy town in northeast India. Subhash Chandra Bose and his Indian National Army (INA) along with the Japanese, are on the brink of bringing the Empire to its knees and forcing the British out of India. But, inexplicably, the tables turn. The INA’s advance is thwarted and the victory march to Delhi is halted. Seventy years later, the British admit that the Battle of Kohima was the greatest battle they had ever fought. Even more so than the battles of Waterloo and Dunkirk. Was it then that old Indian curse — betrayal? Someone from within Netaji’s own ranks? Were there forces other than the British, waiting in the shadows closer to home, who stood to gain even more from the INA’s defeat? Or was it just love that irrevocably altered the course of India’s destiny? The Wrong Turn: Love and Betrayal in the Time of Netaji, is a sweeping tale of passion set against the freedom struggle. Debraj, the rakish playboy and scion of a distinguished Calcutta family, and Nishonko, the fiery revolutionary sworn to the cause of the INA, must not only fight their common enemy, but also for the love of Aditi, the rebel with the healing touch. A haunting tale of love, friendship and betrayal of an entire nation, The Wrong Turn veers inexorably towards a poignant redemption.

Grab your copy @


About the authors


The Wrong Turn is a story that traverses the cities of Calcutta, Singapore, Rangoon and Kohima caught up in the blaze of the Second World War. It is about the clash of four desperate forces as they come together in Kohima to vie for the brightest jewel in the crown -- India. Victory will come to those who possess not just the coldest steel but even colder hearts.”

SANJAY CHOPRA is an airline pilot and author of two collections of short stories.  Said and Done and Tailspin stories . He believes that his  office forty thousand feet in the sky and his travels provide him with a view that fuels his vivid storytelling that cuts a wide arc through time and space.

His stories have won the Invisible Ink, the Millennium writers and Southport awards in the UK and USA. In the words of his readers, ‘He is a storyteller like those of the old days, yet his stories are as modern as tomorrow.

He lives in Mumbai with his wife Tisca Chopra, an actress and he is currently working on a film script and a web series. 


You can stalk him @
      

              

Follow the Authors of The Wrong Turn @ Pinterest

  


This was a story waiting to be told. So much about Netaji was smoke and mirrors, partial views foisted on us by the British and other vested interests. Here was a man who was a personal hero, who was part of the lore of my childhood. And here was a chance to set the narrative straight - through the lens of a very human yet universal story of love.

During a school project on ‘The most memorable day of my life’, NAMITA ROY GHOSE wrote about a Russian girl on the day WW2 ended. She got her first rejection slip from the teacher for making things up. Ever since, Namita has established her storytelling skills through her scriptwriting, screenplays poetry, fiction, legendary advertising campaigns, and as a renowned advertising film director. A Creative Director with HTA, she left after 13 years to start her own film company, White Light, one of India’s top ad film outfits. A social activist, she is the founder of Vanashakti, an NGO that works to protect the environment. Namita has done pro bono work on issues like domestic violence, child welfare, sexual harassment and forest preservation. She is an avid traveller, a photographer, foodie and teacher.

      You can stalk her @ 

                          

   Praise for the book


Vidya Balan "I like historical fiction. This one is just gripping, racing along like a thriller. I am sure people will love it and I wish Namita and Sanjay all the best for the book".

Shekhar Gupta: “Gripping reading. This is one writer duo with story-telling imagination and uncluttered turn of phrase”.

Jug Suraiya: “A sweeping saga of war, love and betrayal, set at a climactic point of India’s fight for freedom”.

Lord Meghnad Desai: “An absorbing and indeed thrilling story of one of the most crucial events in India’s history”.

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Scheudule: Wrong Turn by Sanjay Chopra and Namita Roy Ghose



Your Name :Type of post :Schedule Date
InderpreetSpotlight6/22/2016
Reshma RanjanSpotlight6/23/2016
Nilima MohiteSpotlight6/24/2016
Chittajit MitraSpotlight6/24/2016
Sundari VenkatramanSpotlight6/25/2016
Sundari VenkatramanSpotlight6/25/2016
Geeta NairSpotlight6/26/2016
Devika FernandoSpotlight6/26/2016
Surbhi SareenSpotlight6/27/2016
Geeta NairReview6/28/2016
Rubina RameshReview6/29/2016
Nikita JhanglaniReview6/29/2016
Nilima MohiteReview6/30/2016
SwarnalathaReview6/30/2016
DolaReview7/1/2016
RC BeanReview7/1/2016
Aparna NayakReview7/2/2016
RashmiReview7/2/2016
Ruchi SinghReview7/3/2016
Devansh DesaiReview7/3/2016
Deep DownerReview7/4/2016
Mahati Ramya adivishnuReview7/4/2016
amar naikReview7/5/2016
JyotiReview7/5/2016
JAYASREE ROYReview7/6/2016
amar naikInterview7/6/2016
SanchitaReview7/7/2016
InderpreetGuest Post7/7/2016

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Friday, June 16, 2017

Book Review: Rose Garden International by Sundari Venkatraman

Name of the Book: Rose Garden International 
Author: Sundari Venkatraman
Star Rating: 5 stars 
Goodreads: Read the Blurb here 

He...
Is Jamie Scott, an Australian who travels to India to find out about the love his grandmother had for a particular land in Ooty. A strange restlessness was surrounding his heart and a call to go towards the unknown was calling out to him. And so after reading a diary of his grandmom, he sets on a journey to reach India. How romantic!

"The call of Ooty was too powerful. He had just one life to live. Might as well live his dream along with his grandmother’s wishes!"

She...
She is Rhea Bansal. She has a legacy as her base where the name Bansal Hoteliers is a name to be reckoned with. But Rhea wants to make her mark for herself and that is what makes her move to Ooty to carry on the family traditions in the name of the Rose Garden International.

The love Story begins...

"Jamie turned swiftly from the reception and almost knocked against Rhea who had been a couple of feet behind him. “Oops!” He placed his hands on her shoulders. “I’m sorry I didn’t see you.” He gave her a lopsided smile, his green eyes crinkling at the corners as they studied the woman in front of him boldly."

Do read the above lines. That small touch, the blink of an eye moment when two souls meet and your heart tells you - he is the one. Ms. Venkatraman does a wonderful portrayal of what I call 'when you meet him' scenes.

The description of the surroundings is becoming Ms. Venkatraman's forte. The rose gardens, the ambiance, and the hotel's work culture- all have been caught beautifully by the author. I especially loved the research she had done on this subject and woven the information into her story. It's almost like me getting a tour of the hotel and the words in the speaker are of Ms. Venkatraman's.

“Air curtains have been created between the kitchens while the smells get absorbed by powerful chimneys. They have the added advantage of keeping insects and dust away,” said Aftab with a smile, bringing an answering smile to the guest’s face."

I liked the way the political negatives crept into the story. Very different from all the books I have read of Ms. Venkatraman's. Rhea comes out strong and not at all like a damsel in distress. A woman who can fight against anything and that is what makes Rhea stand out as a complete woman.

The story has a villain, a couple actually. A few nasty boyfriends and a perfectly made of each other couple. A Bollywood flick in the making?

My take on the novel:
A perfect read for romance lovers. The girl is intelligent and can stand for herself. The boy is a perfect hero material complimenting the girl, yet not getting overshadowed by her. The political goons are perfect for trying your kickboxing skills and the scenario - has all the oomph factors that Ms. Venkatraman's novels are known for.


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Thursday, June 15, 2017

Book Review: Ponni's Beloved - An English Translation Of Kalki Krishnamurthy's Ponniyin Selvan by Sumeetha Manikandan

Name of the Book: Ponni's Beloved
Author: Sumeetha Manikandan
Star Rating: 4 stars 
Goodreads: Read the Blurb here 

During the times when treason was a part of life and spies were roaming the streets of India, Ponni's Beloved is set during those times. A time when the Chola dynasty was at their zenith.

The story is introduced to the readers by a brave, young man, who is a great fighter too, and a messenger of Aditya Chola (forgive me if I got my history wrong). Aditya Chola, heir to the throne was suspecting a conspiracy and had sent Vandiya Devan to warn the King. In his journey, Vandiya Devan meets the different characters who play a role in the conspiracies, love affairs and secrets that generally go around in such princely dynasties.

Vandiya Devan introduces us to the lives of the natives at that period of time as he walks quietly on the banks of a  lake named Veeranarayana and introduces the readers to their way of life. Sumeetha Manikandan has done a fabulous job in capturing the essence of the great Tamil Literature. Though I have not read the original work, I have heard a lot about it from the Tamil side of my family. A revered literature, that is what this book is remembered as and I can understand this since, after so many years, even the translation has kept me enthralled enough to keep on turning the pages.

Many cultural appropriations have been mentioned in this text, which is typical of the thought process of the people of those times.

"But please don’t think that I am talking ill of them, the entire women race is like that. The women in your family are dark-complexioned beauties, whereas Pazhuvetarayar’s beloved is fair complexioned. That’s why they don’t like her. They are jealous...”

As you delve further into the story, such small incidents are mentioned which will help in painting the visuals of those times.

Keeping track of the names and places is a bit tough. But that can't be helped. It's the stories within stories that will fascinate you. Of betrayal, spies stories which will connect you to the thought process of that period. The fights between the followers of Shiva and the Vishnu bhakts bring out many of the philosophies followed during those times.

 The conspiracy against the heir to the throne and above all the power plays makes this an interesting read. In all these stories the character of Vandiya Devan is the one experiencing all the tales.

This book is the first in the series and we will have 4 more volumes coming up (I think) I will be eager to see if Sumeetha Manikandan has been able to do justice to all the volumes.



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Book Review: The Indus Challenge by Dr. Durgadoss

Name of the Book: The Indus Challenge
Author: Dr. R. Durgadoss
Star Rating: 4 stars 
Goodreads: Read the Blurb here 

It's a war zone:
When the title of a book is "The Indus Challenge' how can a mythological lover like me not pick it up? One cannot help but stare at the image of the book, wondering how much a war will influence the characters in this one. None of us are ignorant to the bloody times of the Mahabharata Period, where every character seemed to be born to play a role in the war.

The young lad who set an example of determination:
We have heard about Abhimanyu's spearing through the Chakravyuh but none of us can ever imagine how a chakravuyuh looked like.

Dr. Durgadoss showed it to us. By an illustration which is like a maze- a very difficult one at that. I even tried to trace lines to reach the ends of the maze. It's not easy. One must see the diagram to see what I am talking about. It made me close the book and think about the young lad who knew how to enter this "chakra" and entered it knowing well that he might not be able to come out of it. Our ancestors had guts, no doubt about that.

The Bold and the Beautiful
One story that fascinated me was that of Rudra and Swastika. His bravery and her boldness were complimenting each other. And I had never heard of this story before. Reading a modern day mythology is like hearing stories from the past in a new packaging. But Dr. Durgadoss has brought in new anecdotes which are very interesting. I suppose watching the serial Chandra Nandini made me visualize it more. Hailing from the land of the Mauryans, I was always fascinated by Chandragupta's story. He was my first historical love affair anyway.

But it has been always been from the Royal's POV. This was the first time I was standing along with the characters outside the palace and watching history unfolding.

Swastika, even from poison we extract nectar, we wash and take back gold if it has fallen in filth, receive the highest knowledge from a lowborn person; so also is a girl who possesses virtuous qualities, even if she is born in a disreputable family.
The Storyteller:
The author lets us travel across time using narratives and stories of the great men of those days. Many anecdotes surprised me. Draupadi asked to sleep with a horse - which she refused but instead put a bindi on the horse as a symbol of completion of the ritual. It was not her sleeping with the horse that surprised me - our ancient culture does not surprise me anymore. Sometimes I feel, symbolism has been twisted as the stories were mostly word of mouth. But what surprised me was the women of India - be it Draupadi or Swastika were bold and knew what they wanted. When Swastika's uncle wanted to marry her, he could have just forced her to marry but still, her consent was necessary. So when did women are the weaker sex syndrome start?

As mentioned above, we have many more philosophies and code of conducts discussed in this book. Some of them even surprised me to think they date back to such an extent. This is no doubt a very well researched book.

The language of the book:
The author has kept the tone of the book a bit archaic. It can be due to the subject, I don't know. It has a soothing quality - a narration, every mytho lover would love to go on and on. Some of you might find it a tad old fashioned but once you get used to it, believe me, this book is something one must read to get a glimpse of our ancient culture, where science, art, politics, and economics were not mere subjects, but a way of life.

My views:
I enjoyed reading this book. I think the story of Rudra is very well placed - for it captures a reader's attention from the start. In fact, I hated it when the author diverted from this story. A must read for all historical and mythological lovers.


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