The Return of Damayanti – Book Review

On his second adventure, Bhrigu Mahesh is called to help by a hapless, retired clerk named Nataraj Bhakti, who thinks he is being haunted by the spirit of his dead wife. As he investigates, the mystery deepens and takes a sinister turn. A woman gets brutally murdered, and the great detective faces the challenge to either catch the killer or risk the destruction of many innocent lives.

My Thoughts:

This is the second book in the Bhrigu Mahesh Phd series and I have not read the first book in the series. As i was provided a paperback copy for review, I was given an option to download the first book in the series using a book stub that was provided along with the review package. I was already in short of time, due to a mishap with the Postal 34630759services and I had only a day for reviewing this book so I couldn’t check the first one.

I believe this can be read as a standalone novel, but there is little background story offered for the two main characters of the book.

Bhrigu Mahesh and his friend Sutte are portrayed like Sherlock and Watson, and to a degree Bhrigu is more like Hercule Poirot. While reading the book, my mind went to these fictional heroes because of several similarities in character especially the one I most hate – belittling the companion. When Sutte doesn’t understand Bhrigu’s perception, he never clears it out for his friend and gets irritated at his superficial knowledge.

In this book, the duo are approached by a retired government clerk as he fears that his dead wife’s ghost has returned to haunt him. Bhrigu takes upon the offer of visiting Nataraj Bhakti’s ancestral home to investigate further on the case. Whilst Sutte isn’t happy with the arrangement, as the house in itself looks haunted and basic necessities are a big problem, he settles in after meeting Nataraj’s widowed sister, Savita. Bhrigu keeps observing thinks and when the paranormal activities subsides after his stay, he doesn’t immediately offer his client the cause of the problem but rather returns home. The detective and his friend are rushed back to the village of Krishna Dwar after hearing the news of Savita’s murder. They investigate the murder with the help of local police and identify the murderer by page 300 itself. The rest 140+ pages go on about the person behind the scenes and his influence on the murderer.

Personally I felt the book dragged at places. Instead of introducing the main characters and a little background story on them, there goes a chapter long discussion with Bhrigu’s friend Daisy. Big descriptions that were not needed or repeated could have been edited.

As it is a thriller, readers are bound to be intrigued on the happenings of the story and when a murder is involved, we need a lot of action. Be it the phantom part or the murder investigation, the detective kept most things to himself until the final reveal. So naturally, I started getting bored. After the murderer is revealed, I pretty much got an idea about why he/she was influenced and who had influenced.

The writing was okay but there were too many mistakes like “there parents/her wife/there profile pictures etc. The common mistake was there instead of there.

The book talks about the alpha-male, how women are mistreated still in some rural areas and asking them to fight for their rights, but playing around with the minds of the weaker sex isn’t what I expected.

My rating would be 3/5.

This review is a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!

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Open-Eyed Meditations – Book Review

People who know me better definitely wouldn’t believe i’m reading a non-fiction book. Hell, I wouldn’t believe me either.. 😀 But when this book was given for review I just couldn’t resist. I’ve been trying to grow out of my favorite book genres and this was a welcome change.

The book blurb…

Open-eyed Meditations is a beautiful compilation of thoughts wherein each meditation takes you on a journey to the past, bringing a secret herb to heal a problem of the present.
A true distillation of ancient wisdom tips for modern lives, this unique self-help book uses the wisdom of the Ramayana and the Mahabharata to solve your everyday problems.
Beyond the storyline, something deeper is waiting to be discovered from these ancient texts. This book is an attempt to uncover the hidden layer of wealth that is cleverly packaged within the commonly known storylines.

The book is written by Shubha Vilas -a motivational speaker, lifestyle coach, and a storyteller par excellence.

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My thoughts..

The very first lines from the Introduction drew me to the book and despite my disinterest  towards non-fic I was sure that this book would be an exception.

When you are open to life, life opens to you. The upper limit of your ability to learn is determined by the upper limit of your desire to learn.

The reason i loved that line was a certain colleague of mine is driving me crazy because I have to keep telling him the same thing a 100 times. I’m usually not that annoyed about training someone, but this person is a senior and he has no desire to learn and me teaching him something is completely a waste of my time. Okay, moving on 😛

This book offers you really great nuggets of wisdom suitable for everyday crisis and encounters. And it does so by comparing situations in the Ramayana and Mahabharata and how the epic heroes themselves acted on their issues. I for one, haven’t read both the epics and loved the little stories in each topic.

The contents of the book are divided into 64 chapters or meditations like the author refers them to. Each of these meditations are centered around character building, modern day problems and self motivation. And this book isn’t something you read and put it back in your shelf, it’s like the go to book whenever you meet those problems or in need of a little help in analyzing them. And Shubha Vilas has taken care not to elaborate too much, keeps it simple in 2 or 3 pages and also provides a concise version of that particular topic towards the end.

My favorite ‘meditations’ were “Conditions apply – in Love’ where he explain how conditions in a relationship can destroy the happiness in it by comparing with life of King Shantanu who fell in love with Ganga who puts a condition that he should never question her actions. Their relationship ended because it drove Shantanu to heights of frustration when he couldn’t question her about throwing away every child born to them into a river. But Draupadi’s marriage with the Pandavas worked because of conditions of mutual respect and cooperation. When the condition is constructive, it is welcomed in relationships, but if its laid on self-interest and restricts the other person, it only adds frustration and bitterness!.

Another one was “Crossing the LoC in Relationships”. Here the LoC is LoR (Line of Respect) and Shubha Vilas stresses that respect and care should never be lost in relationships and boundaries need to be respected.

Love is the force transforming self-centered babies to non self conscious mature adults

How to win relationships and maintain healthy bonds with others is beautifully explained in “The investment that returns hearts”. He compares Vali and Sugriva’s relationship and how Vali being a self-focused, unforgiving brother strangles their bond and how Rama was a Sugrive-focussed stranger who helped him get back his kingdom and dignity. Doing something for others, depositing your love will only give loads in return.

A few lines from it :

When we meditate on what we can do for other, we are actually watering the root of the relationship. When you enter into the relationship looking for massive doses of gratification, you are strangling the relationship even before it has begun to breathe normally

All in all, I liked the book and even though it’s a non-fiction, self help book it does not bore you mainly because of the analogies and the little stories from the great epics. There’s nothing much to say about the cover, as these kind of books have abstract images only. I did love the way the topics (meditations) were named. Very catchy!

If you are into self-help, motivational books, do give this one a try.

I’m thankful to Blogadda for sending me this copy for review. My rating is 4/5.

This review is a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!

The not-to-do list 

Ordinary people make the to-do lists. The Extraordinaire make a not-to-do list. 😜 So here’s the I’m-not-doing-this resolutions for 2016. 

*I will not watch a movie on the first day of its release and worry later about how I had wasted 250 bucks. I will duly wait for a week, look for reviews and then proceed. 

*I will not give in to spur of the moment decisions and end up buying things which I will never touch later 😬

*I will never attempt to curl my hair on my own. Period. 

*I will not read cookbooks to sleep and end up cooking in dreams and none in real life 😆

* I will not ask my manager for leave like a good kid and end up listening to an hour’s lecture as if my absence is gonna shut the company down. 😏

* I will not ask the husband to go shopping with me when I’m in desperate search for ‘the kurta’ ( you know the one which is in our mind, but difficult to find in shops, so we go through 5-6 shops in search of it) because he is not that patient. 😝

* I will not wait until the last dress left in the closet is unfit for wearing, to do my laundry. 

* I will not attempt to make ice creams, especially the store-bought ones which claim to be easy-peasy. (I ended up eating all of it last time)

* I will not buy any more indoor plants because I have this rare talent of letting even succulents to die. 🙈

* I will not turn the front camera ON until I reduce my weight. 

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.

The Bestseller She Wrote -Book Review 

I was over the moon when I received the author-signed copy of  ‘The Bestseller She Wrote’ for review from Blogadda. Ravi Subramanian is one among my favorite Indian authors and I’ve already read and loved his previous books.

The title is followed by the tagline LOVE. BETRAYAL. REDEMPTION. So I’ve split my review based on these three.

Love..

Aditya Kapoor, an acclaimed writer and successful banker, is in love with his career – both writing and heading the Branch Banking division of National Bank. He marries his college sweetheart and has an enviable married life. Despite middle age creeping on him, he is still smart, handsome and fit. His wife Maya, a banker prior to marriage, gives up her banking job to focus on family. They lead a content life with son, Aryan.

During a lecture in IIM Bangalore, Aditya is interrupted by Shreya Kaushik who questions his choice of words for referring a book as a product and goes on branding Indian authors as rubbish. Though irritated, Aditya subdues her by requesting her to first read his books before judging him. Shreya ends up reading one of his bestsellers overnight and finds herself apologizing to him via email. When Aditya and his friend Sanjay from HR, interview her months later for National Bank, she charms him by  expressing her desire to write a book. After joining the bank, her relationship with Aditya turns flirtatious and slowly they fall for each other based on their common interest towards writing.

Betrayal

So, here comes the betrayal part- extra marital affair – where Aditya goes behind Maya’s back, breaks her trust by falling for Shreya. He helps her in fine tuning her first book and due to her constant push, seeks help from his publisher friends for publishing it. There is, ofcourse, yet another betrayal in the book that is revealed towards the end.

Redemption

What happens when Maya learns the truth? Why Aditya’s life turns downhill all of a sudden? Will Shreya’s book become the bestseller she wants to be? When and how the other betrayal is revealed? All these questions are answered in the final part of the book.

The book is written in very simple English and does not leave much to the reader’s guess. Unlike Ravi Subramanian’s other books, it’s different in the sense it revolves around a love story and has, maybe 20% suspense. There is no money laundering, murder, drug mafia or any of those essentials required for a thriller and maybe that’s why I felt this book was different. So the author has a really tough job in keeping his readers glued (due to lack of above mentioned elements) and therefore felt justified in including in-detail romantic endeavors.

Ofcourse, i hated Shreya Kaushik, home breaker. :@

From the first few pages of the book, I had assumed she will be portrayed as the independent, sassy and career-oriented female protagonist. Which she was not. I wonder who will play her role in the movie.

My Verdict – Not the combustible cocktail as mentioned in book cover, but an easy, light read with more or less predictable story.

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Please find my review here in GoodReads as well..

I am reviewing ‘The Bestseller She Wrote’ by Ravi Subramanian as a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!

Day 30: Second chances

Blog about the three things that you have been putting off for the future, which you would do right now if given a chance.

Second chances are like God-given. To right the wrong.. To undo the past.. A chance to turn your if-only’s to I did it! If offered a second chance in life, I would definitely ask to go back to the past, to not grow up and stay with mom. But since I’m given a chance to do something I’m putting off for the future, I cannot list time-travelling 😜
Sigh!!

Something I’ve been putting off:
1) To join baking classes – Even though I suck at cooking, I love to bake. There’s nothing in the world that I would want right now. Not even a free trip to Hawaii. Ok, scratch that, I might wanna go. Such a traitor I am.. 😜 But on a serious note, I’ve been wanting to join some proper classes for baking, but the non-availability of said class that would suit my free time or the distance from the place to my house, makes me wanna cry loud. And, the fee! Of course.
If I were given an chance, say like a two or three week holiday, I would run to my school senior, even sleep in her house and learn all that’s there to bake a cake as beautifully as she does.

2) The trip to Bhutan
– Ever since I saw some super duper pics of Bhutan, I just wanna live go there. I have to save more so I could manage to enjoy an international trip with the husband without blowing up our savings. But if given a chance, say, I won a lottery I could easily go. Along with a paid holiday!!

3) See, the thing with the above two wishes is, either I must be paid a hell lot of money or I should be unemployed to take up classes. So, my long time dream is to open a books-cum-cupcakes shop. I can get both my wishes come true, if this one is made possible. Baking like a pro and don’t-have-to-beg-for-leave situation at work !!
Again, if I had the guts and confidence to face my manager, to talk right in front of his nose, to walk off with pride saying that I quit.. If I could do all of that.. I will open my shop!!
If only!!!!

“This post is a part of the #SecondChance activity at BlogAdda in association with MaxLife Insurance”.

God is a Gamer – Book review

What can i say, such a gripping novel indeed, like the back cover says..Loved it 🙂

What is it about

Aditya runs a gaming company that is struggling to break even. A banker slips off a highrise building, plunging to her death. The finance minister has made some promises that he is finding hard to keep. The LTTE has unleashed terror in America that sends the FBI on a wild goose chase, bringing them to Mumbai. Enter Varun, parttime drug dealer and fulltime genius. He turns around the gaming
company before disaster strikes. Meanwhile, the investigators plunge headlong into the shady world of bitcoins and the Dark Net, websites that only exist for illegal transactions—drugs, sex and money. God Is a Gamer culminates in a stunning climax where money means nothing, assassination is taught by the ancient Greeks, and nothing is as it seems. (Goodreads excerpt)

Honestly, I know nothing about bitcoins. Not till i read this book. And Ravi Subramanian gives you a brief intro to what they are. And in his signature style there are different parts of the story in every chapter and he connects all the dots towards the end. Too many characters, I’m not even sure how to outline the story in a nutshell 😛

A US senator is murdered and the death is soon followed by a phishing scam which affects hundreds of New York International Bank (NYIB) customers in India. While the FBI is hell bent on finding out who killed the President’s closest aide, the phishing scam throws some light into the investigation. The chairman of NYIB, Malvika Seghal ends up dead on her birthday party which is attended by some high profile friends. While the police and media claim it to be a suicide, Malvika’s daughter Tanya Seghal accuses the Finance Minister of killing her mother, as he had been using her for years. Aditya Rao, a legend in the banking industry who had worked for NYIB for years, owns a gaming company Indiscape as well as eTIOS, a BPO which caters to the card operations at NYIB. Varun, his long lost son of his past comes back in his life and soon takes over the gaming business. After Malvika’s death, Tanya and Varun get closer and he helps her get through her loss. The story follows  the who what why and how aspects of the Senator and Malvika’s deaths and how they are connected. (I’ve tried hard not to give away anything anywhere :P)

When there are technical jargon introduced along the story line, the author makes sure, the reader gets an idea of what it is.. like he explains about the TOR network or the bitcoins. The front cover has a tag line ” Is revenge a crime” and the revenge part is not revealed until the anti-climax. The story keeps you guessing who the bad guy is, but one cannot guess how the game is played. Like I said earlier, there were too many characters which makes me wonder were all of them necessary. Also, bitcoins could have been inserted into the story line a little more frequently.

A complicated thriller thrown together with murders, heists, love, treachery and lots of lies. Pick up this book on a Friday night and I’m pretty sure you will not rest without finishing it. After all, Ravi Subramanian is India’s John Grisham of banking 🙂

This review is a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!

Good times ahead..

Well, when things do happen your way, they happen all together I guess.. A whirlwind of events… all good ones..

And I was travelling to and fro to Chennai and home, every weekend, for a whole lot of wedding shopping. My last post about the wedding shopping saw me at a state where I was sulking about nothing wedding-y happening. But that was totally in the past. With the amount of shopping and all related preps, I’m desperate for some peace. That chain of good things – first of which was – parents and the rest of the family warming up to the fact that I’m marrying someone of my choice. Then I got promoted!! Then the stats in my blog started booming (which i hate to admit was because of the Half-girlfriend review.) And then my favorite author’s book was released on Oct, and the pre-ordered copy reached me on time, Also I couldn’t stop smiling from end-to-end when I got a mail to review a book at the exact same time I got the author signed copy of God is A Gamer from BlogAdda. Not to mention the runner up badge i’m flaunting in the blog for the Indiblogger contest. Andddd in 10 days I’m getting married. Phew!!. Too much happiness.. Touchwood!!

  Surprise from Blogadda 

Shopaholic to the stars

 

 

Happily dreaming,

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