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The Blurb:
A small princely state in Rajasthan is the last bastion of resistance against the might of the British Empire. While unrest surrounding the sudden death of the king of Devangarh grows, young prince Rudra Pratap Chauhan prepares to ascend the throne.

But the kingdom is in turmoil. The Devangarh army is outnumbered and the British forces are closing in. To make matters worse, Rudra discovers the king’s death may not have been accidental after all. The strange appearance and disappearance of a mysterious hooded stranger and a series of ritualistic murders in which the bodies have been drained of blood, spread panic across the realm.

As Rudra struggles to manage his new responsibilities and investigate his father’s death, dark secrets will be uncovered that will disrupt life as he knows it.


The Book:
The moment my kiddo looked at the cover, he asked me if I was reading a ghost story. I smiled and told him that yes it's kind of that. He innocently told me not to read it before bed or I would have nightmares. Believe me, I gave it a thought as I read the first few pages.

The book along with mysterious creatures has a little of British rulers and the Rajput’s. There is one section where the characters discuss about Bharat being ruled by individual kings in different regions and the Englishmen being just British. I honestly think that this was the major reason of our country - despite being filled with brave and smart rulers, was ruled by someone else. They got it right - divide and rule. And they did it for over a century. So, there are a few learning here and there in the book about Good VS evil and a little history of India.

I Liked:
1. The Beginning: The prologue is so well written and truly sets the mood of reader. The very first pages was the reason I built up high expectations from the book.
2. Fantasy told simple: The language and flow of writing is very simple and can be easily understood by new readers as well.

I did not like:
1. Slow Pace: While the prologue set high expectations, I was disappointed from the first half of the book. Initially I kept my patience and waited for the actual plot to take shape, but then, half of the book had passed!
2. Confusing: While nothing much happened in the first half, the second half had too many revelations and back to back unfolding of various mysteries. For me, at many times, there was too much to divulge into and I lost track or to say it better, not able to grasp it all a few times - specially the end.

I enjoyed reading about the mythological era - and I do not care to find out if its perfection or true as per mythology. The last chapter was icing on cake - I was laughing and I am not sure if I found it funny or amusing, but yes, I liked that part.

At the end, I had mixed feelings towards the book. I liked it and at the same time, I did not like it enough. So, for me, it was an average read.


The book is available at amazon from below links:

           
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The Blurb Says:
Circa 1969, Uttar Pradesh, India

When Vishnu Vyas Thakur, who belongs to a politician's family from the Shambhala village in UP, insists on marrying Princess Parvati Devi Singh Sahib of Arjungarh, they are both aware that their child will be Kalki - the tenth avatar of Vishnu. What they are not prepared for is the viciousness with which their family will be ripped apart by the Daughters of Mara, as the evil creatures start the descent of humankind towards a kind of evil that can cause the end of the world.

It’s not just the supernatural Kalki has to contend with. Both sides of his family want to use Kalki’s fame as an Avatar for their own political and personal ends.

But even before he is born, Kalki has protectors – the most powerful of them being Parvati’s older daughter, Chandika. And then his twin sister – Kali. She’s so powerful that, even as a baby, she becomes a target for humans and immortals alike who are scared of what she’s capable of?

As Kalki gets caught in human and superhuman power struggles, Kali must survive. And to do so, like her mother and sister before her, she will have to start making choices that weigh survival against humanity and life against love.

Ritika Kochhar delivers an epic magic-realist series that is equal parts suspense and philosophy, adventure and fantasy, in this unsettling novel set in the near present.

How I Felt About The Book:

The Cover:
The image of the remains of a palace gives little justice to the book and could have been much more creative and expressive.

The Book:
It is an absolute treat for the Hindu mythology lovers. For those who follow Lord Vishnu, it's an icing on cake. It would be unfair to state here that the author clearly states in the very beginning that it's a work of fiction based on her imagination as well as versions of mythology and all characters are fictional. She also clarifies that there are many versions of each mythological story although the overall directions more or less the same. All characters are fictional.


Honestly, I do not like mythological books much and was bit confused as I started with this. To my pleasant surprise, it turned out to be an interesting fictional story engraved with a few stories I have already listened all through my childhood. There were of-course a few pages, I turned over. All off them were the lengthy descriptions of the story of the creator - it reminded me of the "Mein Samay hoon..." saga from the epic Mahabharata all Indians of my age have witnessed on the television. The fictional aspect is the one which kept me glued.


Talking about the plot and story line, I found it gripping enough to immediately head on to the next chapter. At the same time, there were section, it felt little slow. Bu then, the moment I got bored, there came a twist or a thrill to take the story to other world.

The author takes the reader back and forth to two different time periods which are centuries apart and introduces the characters which are ever debatable. All the characters have their significance in the story and were sketched quite well.


There were times, when I absolutely hated some character and then, felt so sad about some. Have a look at the below ...

"Her own family had sent her away because she was different. And her name had been changed without her consent – she no longer existed."


I actually had tears in my eyes on the fate of little girl - "Kali". Whatever the future had in store or the stars predicted, she was just a little girl who longed for nothing but love... :(

Then, below story of Rama reminded me of story my grandma used to tell us when we insisted and she was not in mood:

The story of Ram:
Once there was a Ram, and there was a Ravana. Ravana stole Ram’s wife, so Ram burnt down the village of Ravana

The story goes:
"Ek tha Raja, ek thi Rani. Dono mar gaye, khatam kahai".


To wind up my thoughts, I liked the book and am a little disappointed as I would have to read the book two whenever it comes out to complete the story. Even still, I can recommend to any lover of mythology books.

Wait, there is more. I am sure you must have noticed the little quotes/one-liners I noted in the book. There are a few more. Here is the link to them -   My Favorite lines from "Weapons of Kalki: The Book of Love - Book 1" by Ritika Kochhar



   
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The Blurb:
A land of countless customs, few things in India get bigger than a big fat wedding. A marriage is a celebration which brings families and friends together. And the ceremony ends with the tradition of the bride leaving her parents' home and moving in with her husband. The groom always has a choice-he can either stay with his parents or stay separately. However, for the bride her 'home' is now a strange place.
Meet Aakash, a young dental intern, who falls in love with Kashish. However, what he doesn't know is that winning her heart was never going to be easy. Kashish is resolute-nothing, not even their budding romance, will come in the way of her devotion to her parents.
Cut to four years later. Akash has fallen in love with Aneri, the only daughter of her parents. However, his father is clearly miffed by this development, and enlists the help of a psychologist friend to help Aakash. Furthermore, his father is also not surprised at the couple's request of entering into a live-in relationship before the marriage. But is Aakash ready to challenge the existing customs for his love? Is he prepared to go to any lengths to see that his love does not shed another tear?
Take this tradition-defying journey with Aakash, Kashish and Aneri as they dare to delve deeper into the web of love and relationships. Warm up to their crazy antics which will leave you wondering-why can't this be my story?!

The Cover:
The title of book goes well with the cover. Anyone with the first glace would easily predict that the book revolves around marriage(s). But as they say - "Never judge a book by it's cover", there is more in store.

How Did I Like The Book:
"A daily soap opera" is the phrase which comes to my mind when I try to describe this book in words less than a sentence. In no way I want to take it to negative direction. Daily soaps are addictive at the end - arn't they. Yes, The story is actually apt for the base of some new TV series which could be enjoyed by all generations.

It's not a love story but a true family drama in all senses.. The writing and narration is smooth and writer was successful in gaining the interest just when I felt bored. There is a good mix of short twists and turns right till the very last page. The plot felt very much relatable and strike the right chord of current generation when it comes to align with their parents.

Being a girl whose own only brother is living abroad could relate to the whirlpool of various emotions portrayed in the story. I must mention that I and my husband have had the discussion of very much live-in relationship the novel is set around many times. Obviously, we expect the same amount or may be even more intense opposition from our parents if we ever need to get it in action.

Picture below extract:
"‘Dad just asked me yesterday why I am not ready to settle down with a family in Pune or Ahmedabad? What is wrong with settling abroad if the proposal is really good?"...

I was smiling while reading it as I have had similar discussion with my grandfather many years ago when I turned down the co called dream marriage proposals stating that I do not want to go and settle abroad forever away from my parents.

What I Did Not Like:
1. The two halves: I know it seems strange, but I had issues with both halves of the book. The first half seemed exactly similar to "Two States by Chetan Bhagat" while the second half felt a bit dragged along.
2. Character of Kinjal: Since it was a family drama, I would have love to read more about Kinjal and her bonding with Akash - her brother.

Guess what, I managed to sneak two one-lines among all the melodrama - a thing which is quite difficult to find in new Indian writings and when it is there, it's too much to take a note! Hope you noticed them in between my talks about the book. Here they go:



The book can be brought from amazon at below link:

  
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Blurb:

A collection of love poetry like no other. There are forty five poems composed in different formats to suit the mood of the poem - Sonnet, ballad, Ode, Villanelle and Tanka. or those interested in Persian poetry, there are many in the form of Ghazals and Rubaiyat too.



The cover:
The cover page I found a little average and could have been much more attractive and romantic.

About The Book:
As mentioned on the cover page, it is a collection of love poems. There are 45 short poems which includes sonnet, Tanka, Acrostics, Ode, Rubaiyat, Rondeau, Triolet, Minute poem, Ghazal and a few more. The title - “Lady In Red”, is based on one of the poems from the book.

The very fact that these are love poems attracted me to the book. The poems are mostly love struck and depict the feelings of man towards his lady love. The language and choice of words is very simple and that makes the rhyming lines easy to interpret.

Although I am all ears and eyes for love stories, at a certain point, I felt too much of it! The author did added a few poems about betrayal and lost love - but that came towards the end of book. Also, I could very easily spot repetition of thought process, phrases and comparisons all throughout the poems.

Apart from these small hiccups, I feel that it’s a one time light read and definitely a great source to add those little sticky notes to your loved one!

Grab the book from amazon at below link:

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The Blurb Says:
Empyrea, an island in the Andromeda galaxy belonging to planet Vathura is serene. Everywhere your eyes turn, you will feast on the lovely birds singing their heart out in the lush green vegetation. Osiris Mysterio ruled the regions of Empyrea with his brother Tyrant Seth and with their children Pitheceus Babi, Kraity Wadjet, and Horus Mysterio.

5000 years ago, the ancient Egyptians were the only humans to receive the invitation to enter Empyrea. They gladly on-boarded into a Pegasus chariot and took their journey to Empyrea. Their journey is indescribable. Empyrea by itself was like a fairy-tale garden, an ocean of flowers and exotic trees.

As the Egyptians went further inside Empyrea, they saw its netherworld. They had mixed feelings when they saw the triangle shaped tombs and the bizarre headhunting people. Empyrea also had the blood-curdling creatures like the deadly dinosaurs, gigantic snakes, furious apes, ruthless rhino’s, massive mastodons and many other creepy creatures. This showed the power of the Empyrean Army and that no other army could survive their wrath.

The Emperor Osiris and the kings ruled Empyrea with powerful Scepters. With those powers, they were not only considered as kings but also worshipped as Lords. The Lords with the help of their scepter had the crucial power to transform themselves into giant creatures.

Egyptians while departing from Empyrea was gifted with a shortcut portal to earth and also with some people and creatures of Empyrea to build the Empramids in Egypt. Overwhelmed with happiness they took the shortcut door and returned to Egypt.

However, the happiness was short-lived in Empyrea. The Empire of Empyrea was betrayed for ruling earth avariciously. Somehow the Emperor of Empyrea locked the shortcut portal and asked the Egyptians to safeguard it. The Egyptians, on the other hand, failed to safeguard the portal. And some gangsters accidentally opened the shortcut door in 2017 A.D, entered Empyrea, and inadvertently got access to the Lord scepters.

So, now the Earthians were left with no choice but to battle against the merciless predators and headhunting people in their heroic journey. Their ultimate fate lied in an empire beyond imagination. They would take their stand against the powerful lords, who brutally led their people to war against planet Earth.

Did the gangsters protect the earth from danger, or left the other world to accomplish their tyrant rule on Earth? Explore the world of Empyrea to unravel the truth behind this mystery.



The Cover: A white ape humongous in size and a small but equally confident looking green man facing it with calm... To be honest, I did not pay attention to the cover until I entered the fantasy world and then obviously went back to it to refer and verify what I read and imagined. So yes, I do like the cover page. It does not spill any beans and is relevant with the theme.

How did I like the book:

In the minimum words possible, I would call this book as an absolute page turner. Treasure hunt, pyramids, life beyond pyramids, puzzles, Serpents, Dinosaurs, Gorillas, Mammoths, White magic, Dark Magic, modern day action, laughter, tears... Name an element of Hollywood movie and it's there.

I would not say that it was a perfect read - I noticed some typo's here and there mostly related to tenses (The author moved to and fro in present and past tenses a lot) which did break down the enthusiasm. Although a parts were a little predictable, but yet, there was a smooth blend of two worlds!!!

I could not stop laughing at the mention of Thunder god - Thor!!! Seriously, there was no need of taking a cue from Avengers! Then, who would ever imagine a call from bank for a credit card when you are fighting for your life!!!

The language of the book felt simple and easy to go along. I also liked the narration style - the fantasy world was all alive right in front of my eyes while reading it. Yes, It's a thick book and I did skimmed through a few pages - specially the war part, But I am still impressed and really liked it. The little illustrations also helped me relate to the imagination as a reader. Only if they were as in number as portrayed in the trailer! But then, I did admire the ones which were there.

Truly I am pleasantly surprised at the fact that it's Mr. Vignesh Ravichandran's debut novel. Would I recommend it to anyone? Definite yes to any fantasy lover.

PS: I wanted to give 3.5 stars (0.5 stars minus for the typos, grammatical errors), but then since I did enjoy it, I preferred to get the author an upper hand... :)

Buy the book at amazon:
          
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The school my elder son goes to allows birthday gifts to be distributed in schools but only story books or small useful educational materials. This hardcover is among the gifts he received from his friends on their birthday.


“Fairy Tales for Early Readers – ‘Golden Goose & Other Stories’” is a collection of three fairytales. I would not lie and say that the kiddos love it. Actually, they have only read the first story yet (the book stays with us for almost an year I think!), but yes he did like it. The stories in the same order are:

The Golden Goose
Peter and the Wolf
The Red Shoes


As mentioned on the back page, the book has one big picture on each page along with short sentences written in required big enough font. There are also few phonic/sight words on the picture to help kids learn and understand – pictures speak better than words. Also, each story is followed by a small activity wherein the child needs to match the words with their pictures – surprisingly, children learn them very fast.


Similar sets of books are always available with almost all publishers dealing in children books. The best idea I think is to go over a counter, have a look around, turn a few pages and get one or two.


Amazon.in Widgets
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There would be hardly any child – boy or girl who is not fascinated by firemen and fire-engines. All children have a fireman and a fire engine in their toy collection at least once in their childhood. Thus, I knew this is going to be a gem in my kiddo’s collection the moment I saw it.



Here is the blurb I made:
Fireman Sam: The Famous Fireman is the story of a fireman Sam who aspires to be a popular celebrity. But there is one hurdle in his way. What’s the hurdle and what would he do?


What I like the most about this book is the ability to read in two ways as mentioned on the cover as “read aloud, read along, read alone”. Yes, one page has a little detailed story while the adjacent page has its summary in maximum two to three lines. This amazing feature is missing from the kindle edition – from what I saw in the preview.


Now, the fun part: Lifelines have learned that the back cover of the books have list of other books in same series. Every time they like a book, they look at the back cover, find out which one’s they have and have thus made a huge wish list from the rest.

While it’s a great book, there is another story the kids love to read, listen and watch – “Mater the Fireman”. It’s one of Mater’s tall tales based on the episode where Mater the firefighter rescues Lightening from fire. I am going to share more on this in another post. Stay tuned.


                    
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Britannica Early Discovery is a collection of six little hardcovered books I picked up from a book stall once set up in my office premises. Below are the books which are there in our box:





Early Discovery Words
Early Discovery Colours
Early Discovery Just For fun
Early Discovery Shapes
Early Discovery Sounds
Early Discovery Numbers




The kiddo was in playgroup when we got it and I think we started with Colours – which he was already comfortable with at that time. We gradually moved to Sounds – fun to play with kids and Shapes. Numbers, Just For Fun and Words then followed the suite.


The books are full of colorful pictures to make the child understand the concepts along with a small question or a to do task on almost each page.




The second last page includes a ‘Glossary’ of key words introduced in the book along with their description.



Hold on, there is more. The last page has a few fun ways to learn the concept. The fun ways give an idea to the parents on how can they incorporate the learning in day to day life without actually making the child realize.

     


I would not say that’s this is among the favorite book of kiddos, but yes, they do enjoy reading them occasionally. Thus, although it costed a bit, but was all the worth.

Get it from amazon - here

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There is a famous proverb which states – “"All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy". I am sure I need not get into explaining the meaning of this one. The same goes for reading books for pleasure too. As parents, we tend to buy books which embark some learning into them all through attractive pictures, simple relatable stories etc.

This is one book I brought for my kids where in they can just have fun. Plus I have a bonus! Keep then away from the idiot box. Wait, there is more. Parents would be parents. Or I should rather say books would be books. “Storybook Collection (Disney Junior) by Walt Disney Company” is a collection of four episodes aired on Disney Junior channel which the children can remain glued all through the day. So when the kiddo saw it in a bookstore and asked if we could buy it, I could not say no.


 Coming to the book and its contents. The four stories as displayed on the cover page – Kids would be able to recognize them easily if they watch the channel, are from Mickey Mouse Club House, Jungle Junction and Special Agent Oso. The adaption of cartoon characters in pictures as well as text is bright and easy to understand.  

It’s an all-time favorite of my both 4 and the 7-year-old son. They just want to read all of them whenever the book is picked up and I have a hard time convincing them to read one per night.


Follow the link below at amazon to get the book:

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The Adventures of CAVEBOY came along with a book subscription box called enchantico I enrolled in for my sons. This was probably the first novel kind of book we read together. Here goes the blurb;

Meet Caveboy! Ooga booga!

Caveboy is just like any other boy . . . he loves playing base-skull, running really fast, and especially whacking things with his club. But when his club breaks, he will need to find a new one . . . which just might lead him to a new friend. In this first book, Caveboy will find the perfect club, meet his best friend, and learn to be brave!

Now, coming to the book, the kids enjoyed reading it and we had the house full of OOGA BOOGA sounds for a few days. Books like this are a good and fun way to introduce big books to children. We read one chapter a day. I am not trying to force him to read for long duration as I want him to develop his own interest. Also, we usually read at bedtime, so the sooner the book closes, sooner we bid goodnight!

The font is big enough to keep children attracted along with colorful pictures. I read a few reviews where people had issues with gender biasing – the club of cave-girl being decorated with flowers and all. Honestly, I did not even think about it until read those reviews. My kiddo even liked the one which was covered with flowers and was worries that the flowers would be spoiled while using it.

Here is how the kiddo felt about the book:

Adventures of Caveboy by Sudipta Bardhan - YouTube


Links to buy the book on amazon:

                                                             
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