Monday, September 26, 2016

Book Review :: ‘She Walks She Leads’ by Gunjan Jain

Genre: Non-fiction, biographical
Publisher: Penguin

Blurb:
• Nita Ambani launched the Indian Super League, on the lines of FIFA, to boost football in India 
• Sudha Murty gave her savings to her husband, Narayana Murthy, to help start Infosys 
• Naina Lal Kidwai was the first Indian woman to graduate from Harvard Business School 
• Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw started Biocon with a seed capital of Rs10,000 
• At the age of sixteen, Sania Mirza became the youngest and the first Indian woman to win a Grand Slam 

These are some snippets from She Walks, She Leads which profiles twenty-six iconic women in modern India. These leaders tell their stories, up close and personal. Their relentless ambition to shatter the glass ceiling, their pursuit for excellence and the challenges that came their way – all of this is captured vividly in this exclusive anthology. Each chapter is based on extensive research and has never-seen-before photographs of these luminaries. The chapters are followed by interviews with their companions and close confidants who have seen them grow over the years. The women leaders profiled in the book come from different fields like banking, media, cinema, sports, fashion, philanthropy and industry. 

My Review:
Who is not in need of inspiration? No matter how strongly one denies, I am sure everyone has experienced that one moment when he/she has admired and/or learnt a lesson from another human being.

Today when the current generation of women are breaking glass ceiling in all the spheres of life, be it education, corporate or sports, it is inevitable to take a peak into the lives of women who have broken the patriarchal molds and are leading the charge from the front.

‘She Walks She Leads’ by Gunjan Jain is one such mine of real-life stories which give wings to one’s thought and strength to achieve higher goals. The collection features twenty-four successful women of India who have beaten every odd to reach the top position in their chosen field.

The book includes the mini-biographies of Nita Ambani, Rajashree Birla, Sudha Murty, Yasmeen Premji, Parmeshwar Godrej, Indra Nooyi, Chanda Kochhar, Arnavaz Aga, Naina Lal Kidwai, Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, Zia Mody, Swati Piramal, Priyanka Chopra, Mira Nair, Shabana Azmi, Kareena Kapoor, Anamika Khanna, Ritu Kumar, Jyotsna Darda, Shobhana Bhartia, Indu Jain, Mary Kom, Sania Mirza and Saina Nehwal.

Though in India we are mostly aware of the profession and causes these eminent personalities are associated with, but the book gives an up-close view of personal struggle and growth of these women from the start. I am particularly inspired by the lives and achievements of Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, Mary Kom and Priyanka Chopra.

The author has divided the book to encompass diverse fields; from social responsibility, corporate, media to entertainment, sports, and fashion. She has also taken care to cover personalities in terms of age, region and background. The book is structured to give a peak into the lives of the celebrities and then goes on to a detailed interview by either the family member or closest friend or associate.

I liked the fact that the narration sticks to facts and views of the inner coterie, and nowhere it gets preachy or dogmatic. The author at the beginning has summarized the success values that are common during the course of meeting these legends and writing the book, thereby easing the readers into the book.

The language is simple yet sophisticated making the book an engaging and fascinating read. The book is further embellished with colored photographs and thoughts of more than hundred people associated with these super achievers. 

‘She Walks She Leads’ is a comprehensive, well researched book to add to one’s collection, to be referred time and again and get inspired by women-power of our country.




Disclaimer: The book was provided by the author’s publicist. The views and opinions stated in the review are solely mine.


Friday, September 16, 2016

Book Review :: ‘Rightfully Wrong Wrongfully Right’ by Varsha Dixit

Genre: Romance
Publisher: Rupa Publications

Blurb

Love is in the air again…and this time it’s steamy, bold and manipulative!

Gayatri, a rich, spoiled diva, is fighting to establish herself even as her tyrant father pushes her into a life not of her choice. Viraj is a genius and a con who shuns society and its hypocrisies.


Gayatri sees Viraj only as a means to an end. For Viraj, Gayatri is the epitome of all that he despises. So when their paths cross, it is a battle of feisty wills and desire.


Will Gayatri and Viraj prove to be each other’s salvation or annihilation?


From the best-selling author of Right Fit Wrong Shoe and Wrong Means Right End comes Rightfully Wrong Wrongfully Right. All the unforgettable characters of the earlier two bestsellers make a comeback in this unforgettable story of hurt, hearts and hope.


This is a tumultuous journey of two Wrongs who might just make everything Right!


My review:

RWWR is a romance novel and touches on the truism that first impressions can be deceptive. It focuses on story of Gayatri, who had made an appearance in the previous two novels in the series as well. The emotional backstory of both the protagonists play an important role in shaping the entertaining story arc.

Gayatri is a rich socialite. Though her father supports her financially, he has always snubbed and humiliated her, leading to her lack of self-esteem. Her dad is also hell bent on getting her married to a man of his choice. Finding and holding a job has become a life and death situation; not only to regain her self-confidence, but independence as well. 


For Viraj maintaining a persona of a high IQ, eccentric scientist has become a convenient excuse to distance himself from social milieu. With a twist of fate, Gayatri manages to break the shield he had built around him. The romance and chemistry between them, they refuse to acknowledge, slowly spreads its loving tentacles and consumes them. I simply loved the twist in the end and Viraj's faith in Gayatri.


The characterization of both Gayatri and Viraj is very interesting. The author has expertly and thoroughly vindicated Gayatri’s negative personality shades as evident in the previous two books. I would have loved to know more about Sana, but it doesn’t take away anything from the story. The novel support characters are the main protagonists from the previous books in the right-wrong series and they provide lighter moments in the story.


The narration and language exhibits Varsha Dixit’s characteristic light as well as touching tongue-in-cheek style, leaving the reader thoroughly entertained. Though it is the third book, but can be read as a stand alone novel.


All in all Rightfully Wrong, Wrongfully Right is a light, breezy and romantic read.







#askvarsha contest

Ask Author Varsha Dixit a question on your blog and she will answer you in her own unique way. Watch out this space for more. Only the best questions will be selected.




Grab your copy @

Excerpt from #RWWR
‘I can do this, I can do this, I can...’ Gayatri wound her fingers tightly around her cellphone as she made her way to the cubbyhole Viraj called his office. I did not expect a freaking hug, but a polite ‘how are you’ wouldn’t kill that man. She rapped her knuckles on the door.
Viraj swung the door open. ‘What?’ His brows were furrowed and his lips, pursed.
Gayatri remembered what Nikhil had said to her once. Dr Viraj owns and runs this lab. He was the only one you needed to impress! ‘It’s my first day here!’ Gayatri could hear her voice shake. ‘Could you tell me...
Gayatri scuttled out of Viraj’s way as he leaned out. ‘Find an empty room, do your work there. You are free to leave any time you want. You are free to come or to not come.’ The door shut on her face.
Flabbergasted, Gayatri kept staring at the door. What just happened? She cleared her throat. I should not piss him off anymore. ‘Thank you for this…this job.’ Her voice was as uncertain as the look on her face.
Viraj tugged the door open again. Gayatri flashed a smile at him and opened her mouth to speak but he stopped her short. ‘I don’t like talking. Find a room and stay there.’ He shut the door on her again.
 Asshole! Gayatri fisted her hands and retreated. I can do this! I am doing this! Bigger picture, please! Gayatri paused and peeped inside the first lab that she stumbled upon. The place was quiet except for a low hum of machines. Gayatri pushed the doors open and walked inside the lab. It was empty. ‘Does anyone else work here besides the mad scientist?’ She leaned against one of the steel racks. The door flew open behind her. With a big grin she turned to greet the person coming in. ‘Hi! I’ she froze. It was the mad scientist with a bunch of papers in his hand.
Viraj noticed Gayatri at the same time. A familiar irritation flashed in his eyes. ‘Not this room. Not my lab! Find another room!’ He spoke with cool authority.
‘I was just looking!’ Gayatri smoothed her ponytail trying to mask her nervousness. He had her in knots.
Giving an indifferent shrug, Viraj walked past her. Gayatri got a whiff of his aftershave; it smelled clean and crisp, like water with a twist of lemon. At least he doesn’t stink like his manners! Gayatri stood there quiet and confused.
A loose paper slipped from Viraj’s hand and landed on the floor.
‘You dropped some paper!’ Gayatri said, her voice friendly.
‘Ignore it. Like you, it is not going anywhere.’ Viraj pulled a portable stool and took a seat in front of an electronic panel fixed to a bigger panel.
Gayatri gritted her teeth and grinned with the ferocity of a wild animal that could pounce any moment.
Unknown to her, Viraj gave a similar smile except his was more like the wild animal that had pounced and won.
‘I’ll go and find a room. Thank you!’ Swiveling on her heel, Gayatri headed for the door.
Something stopped herher father’s face and the realization that two weeks ago she had physically fought for herself, and now she had to fight again but with her mind instead of hands. I have to win over Mr Madness. Maybe I could wear a beaker over my head and tattoo the periodic table on my arms!
‘If you are trying to open the door telepathically, let me be the first to tell you it is not working!’ 
Gayatri exhaled noisily. Scathing and sarcastic, what more could a woman ask for? Taking a few calming breaths, she slowly pivoted to face Viraj, specifically his back as he sat hunched fiddling with the panel in front of him.
 ‘I’m sorry if I have offended you somehow. I really need this job. And also, I’m qualified for it. I can show you my degrees. I can really make a difference here.’
Hearing Gayatri’s words and her apologetic tone, something melted inside Viraj...again. But to keep up appearances, he turned rude. ‘I’m busy!’ he barked.
 ‘Please Mr Viraj, give me’ Just then, without warning, someone swung the door open. Gayatri wasn’t prepared for the push. ‘Ouch!’ She toppled. Her desperate hands grabbed the first thing in the vicinitya steel rack. The rack shuddered violently and some of its contents landed on the floor.
‘What the hell!’ Viraj bellowed jumping to his feet.
Gayatri winced. A large electrical component had crashed into her hand ‘The door just opened, pushing me in,’ she said shaking her arm in pain.
 Viraj glared at the door. He instantly lost the frown and his mouth eased at the ends. ‘Oh it’s you! Come inside!’
Huh, Hyde turns Jekyll! Gayatri spun around.
A timid, bespectacled, five-foot-nothing girl, her long hair in a tight braid, clad in a pastel-coloured salwaar kameez, stood at the door. Her skin was smooth and her hands kept tugging at the dupatta around her neck ‘Sorry to interrupt! Dr Kalra wanted to show you some tests he is about to run in lab 2.’ She then glanced at Gayatri. ‘I’m sorry if I hurt you. It was an accident.’
Gayatri was about to speak but Viraj cut her off. ‘She’s fine. Let’s go!’
Viraj went out with the girl, not even sparing a glance at Gayatri.
Astounded, Gayatri watched them leave.



Urghh…the shit-faced scientist actually smiled and that too at that girl! Gayatri kicked the steel rack. It shuddered again! Shoot! Before anything else would fall on her, Gayatri went after the scientist and the simpleton.


Did you like the excerpt? Author Varsha Dixit offers you four of her chapters free.


Read the First Four Chapters Free!!

About the author


Varsha Dixit

Varsha Dixit, the bestselling author of four successful contemporary romance books. Her debut book, Right Fit Wrong Shoe was a national bestseller for the year 2010. Varsha was a part of the Indian Television Industry and worked as an assistant director and online editor. She considers herself a dreamer who thinks deep but writes light. Even though creativity is gender free,Varsha feels blessed and enriched to be a woman. Currently, with her family, Varsha resides in CA, USA.

You can stalk her @

                   



    





   This Tour is Hosted by 


We Promote So That You Can Write 





Thursday, September 8, 2016

Book Review :: “No Safe Zone’ by Adite Banerjee

Genre: Romance
Publisher: Harper Collins
Blurb:
Qiara Rana will do anything to save her mentor and their non-government organization from ruin. Even if it means visiting the city she had vowed never to return to. But within a few hours of landing in New Delhi, she is being chased by a gunman and is a potential suspect in the murder of a high-profile businessman. 

The only person she can turn to for help is Kabir Shorey, the man who stood her up ten years ago. Past and present collide in a deadly plot of crime and greed that moves from the cosmopolitan streets of Delhi to the bazaars and villages of Rajasthan.

My Review:
Engaging, racy and extremely romantic are the adjectives which come to my mind as I finished reading ‘No Safe Zone’ by Adite Banerjie. It is commendable how the author comes up with unique locales and theme for each of her novels. While the setting of her earlier book ‘Trouble Has No Name’ is vacation cum wedding in an exotic beach resort, and now NSZ gives a flavor of crime and suspense with colorful Rajasthan as the backdrop, both of them cleverly intertwined with sizzling romance.

Kabir is handsome and dangerous, Qiara is sexy and daring. The combination sets the story on fire right from the word go. Qiara, trying to save her mentor and organization from the worst possible scam and allegations, lands in New Delhi, and then reaches Jaipur with gun toting villains after her. She meets Kabir, with whom she shares a love-hate history. Together they unravel and bust the highly powerful crime ring.

Qiara as a law student, working in an NGO shows spunk in handling the goons, and the truth about her birth. Kabir, an Intelligent Officer investigating a dubious businessman, fits royally well given his parentage and history. And when they come together the result is hot, sizzling chemistry.

The author has come up with intriguing elements of surprise at regular intervals in the story, maintaining the high pace set at the beginning. The skillful way their painful past and intriguing present are linked makes the plot highly entertaining. The romantic interludes as well as the action scenes come alive with expert narration and fluent language.

Highly recommended read for all who love romance, with some kick-ass action.





About The Author
Adite Banerjie discovered the wonderful world of books at an early age which sparked her interest in writing. After a fulfilling and exciting career as a business journalist she turned her attention to fiction. 

Her latest book is a romantic-thriller, No Safe Zone, published by Harper Collins India. She has penned two books for Mills & Boon (The Indian Tycoon’s Marriage Deal and Trouble Has a New Name) and written several screenplays. 

When she is not grappling with her current work-in-progress, she enjoys spending time with her husband, spoiling their Irish Setter silly and watching back-to-back movies. 

She loves to connect with her readers. You can find her on Facebook (https://facebook.com/AditeBanerjieWriter) and Twitter (http://twitter.com/adite) 

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Book Review :: 'Dangle’ by Sutapa Basu

Genre: Crime/ Thriller
Publisher: Readomania
Blurb
Stunning, svelte, smart Ipshita is a globetrotter. She treks across the world to gather bytes for the travel chats she designs and hosts for TV channels. Despite being a self assured and sophisticated entrepreneur, Ipshita is haunted by a nameless fear. Social interaction with men unleashes psychotic turmoil inside her, making her wary of male attentions. Yet, the cold and aloof Ips is inexorably drawn to the three men she meets at different points in her journey. 
Her arousal to the overtures of these men catches her unawares. Well-built defenses break as her dormant sexuality go into overdrive until she discovers the horrifying truth about them…and herself. 

Life puzzles. Secrets tumble out. Will she be able to reclaim her life or let it dangle.


My Review:

‘Dangle’, as the name indicates, draws our attention towards the delicate balances in life. The scale can tilt to any side, at any time, based on circumstances and one’s choices. The author ‘Sutapa Basu’ has woven the story around suave, modern-day woman Ipshita, who is on the verge of an emotional revelation, which takes her on a journey of identifying her strengths and weaknesses, and how to deal with the truth called life.

The intriguing storyline reveals various aspects of Ipshita’s life which play a part in making her what she is. Doting parents, and her childhood friend Aditya Rao who give her much required strength in trying times. Sister, Mallika and her husband Vikram give us a glimpse of how frailty and viciousness can strike a precarious balance to survive. 


The story seamlessly takes us through her assignments, around the globe, and her relationships ending into a shocking discovery which shatters the core of Ipshita’s existence. As she fights and conquers her internal demons, she is surprised with her reactions to opposite sex. Instead of freezing off men she begins to enjoy the attention and discovers her own desires and sexual needs.


Life’s philosophy narrated with a hint of suspense, a bit of vicious crime, and sprinkling of romance, Dangle takes one to an engrossing rollercoaster ride from high-flying Chicago city to Delhi to picturesque Imphal and beaches of Indonesia, not to mention army life and insurgency in North-Eastern states of India.


The author’s strong grasp on language, and research on various locales, culture is evident throughout the book. Her own poem and the translated poems/songs of Ravindranath Tagore make the story all the more rich and vibrant.


Overall, Dangle is a story about a woman’s struggle in accepting and overcoming her darkest fears, and embracing the realities of life. 


A highly recommended read.


PS: I normally don't bother about the cover, but this one needs a special mention. Loved the neat concept and the way the title is placed.







         



Read an excerpt from Dangle
  The lilt of a flute fills half shadows. Emerald green silk unfurls to lavender hills. Mist gives way to a golden spectacle. Thickly embroidered into flowing waters are hundreds of lotuses. Sunlight dazzles on ruby, sapphire, turquoise, and amethyst that reluctantly open their layers to reveal honeyed hearts. The humming of multitudes of bees reverberates in the room. Intoxicated by the sun-drenched perfume of blossoms, they weave in and out of the pattern. Sheer colours daze the senses. Drumbeats intrude softly, only to rise to a crescendo.
Another shape enters the frame. Hazy at first, the outlines darken gradually. It is an empty square etched in bold strokes holding within it diagonally a metallic piece curved to the bent of an index finger. The lens zoom out.  The shape takes definition. It is  the trigger of a snub-nosed AK-47. The drums fall silent.
Everybody holds their breath. There is a thud and the face of Beauty is blotted with a gun stamped on it. There is a collective gasp. The screen stills. Strobes pick out a small crowd, including cameras on cantilever arms. Each person in the room is mesmerized…nobody can look away.



Giving a couple of seconds for the impact to sink in, the focus beams on Ipshita, the host. She begins the chat. Microphones pick up frequencies of her voice, enhancing its soft huskiness. Statistics and logistics start appearing on two screens flanking the bigger screen on which images are projected. She proceeds as visions of  paddy fields, streets of Imphal, slim girls in phaneks with long raven-black hair flying, fishermen casting bait, rowing boats, sitting still as rocks for fish to bite fill the screen behind her. She goes on to the fascinating scenes of Loktak, the floating islands, the fisherman’s hut and through her words she builds up a metaphor. It is of Manipur, a dainty nymph struggling to escape rape by Mars, the god of war. She is crushed, yet nothing erodes her indomitable spirit. 






Grab your copy @


Watch a video:





Follow The Blog Tour +Pinterest 

About the Author



An author, poet and publishing consultant, Sutapa Basu also dabbles in art and trains trainers and is a compulsive bookworm. During a thirty-year old professional career as teacher, editor, and publisher, she travelled the Indian subcontinent, Nepal and Bhutan. She has visited UK, USA, Dubai and Singapore while working with Oxford University Press, India and Encyclop├Ždia Britannica, South Asia until 2013 when she decided to start writing seriously. 

Sutapa is an Honours scholar from Tagore’s Visva-Bharti University, Santiniketan and holds a teaching as well as a masters degree in English Literature. 

As a publisher, Sutapa has developed and published around 400 books. Recently, her short story was awarded the First Prize in the Times of India’s nation-wide WriteIndia Contest, under author, Amish Tripathi. 





Stalk Her

               



Media Mentions    






Play the Game of Rafflecopter 
and win Amzon gift cards



a Rafflecopter giveaway


   This Tour is Hosted by 



We Promote So That You Can Write 



Saturday, August 20, 2016

Book Review :: ‘Vikram Rana Investigates’ by Sharmishtha Shenoy

Genre: Mystery and suspense

Blurb:

Vikram Rana Murder Mysteries set in Hyderabad…… 

The Mysterious Affair of the Lohia Mansion

When the glamourous socialite Richa Lohia is poisoned in her mansion in Jubilee Hills, her brother-in-law hires his mate, ex-cop Vikram Rana, to solve this murder. This is Vikram’s first case and he, along with Inspector Gopi Reddy, must solve the case even if they face opposition from the richest and powerful family in Hyderabad, who would stop at nothing to defend themselves. 

The Sonia Sinha Case 

When property developer Krishna Dhavala is stabbed to death in Necklace Road, everyone suspects Mrs. Dhavala to be the murderer of her alcoholic and abusive husband. But is that really the case? Vikram Rana and Inspector Reddy have a tough time uncovering the murderer and Vikram himself almost dies trying to solve this case. Experience the mystery along with the duo as they fight their way through the maze of lies, deceit and greed. 

My Review:

‘Vikram Rana Investigates’ consists of two murder cases set in the city of Hyderabad, which are investigated and solved by Vikram Rana, a private investigator.

‘The Mysterious Affair at the Lohia Mansion’ takes us to Rich Lohia, daughter of a powerful man and wife of renowned industrialist, who dies under mysterious circumstances in her locked bedroom. Rana is hired by Rohan Lohia, his friend and Richa’s bother-in-law, to investigate the untimely death.

The story starts pulling you in, with many characters coming into the ambit of suspicion— the husband, Kinshuk Richa’s drug-addict son, Juhi - the governess, and Rohan himself. The story keeps one invested till the end.

‘The Sonia Sinha Case’ is about murder of a dubious property developer, Krishna Mohan Dhavala, who is brutally murdered in his car. As Rana comes in to investigate there are many characters who slowly come into his list of suspects. The villain’s character is well etched as the story progresses. The author gives us the information piece by piece maintaining the suspense till the end.

Of the two I liked the second one better as it is more convincing. Coming up with murder mysteries which do not have a loophole is difficult. Kudos to the author for not one but two well thought-out stories.

Both the stories are well told, however they could have been made into full separate novels by flushing out the characters and detailing the situations. Secondly in the Lohia case too many characters are introduced in quick succession leading to confusion. I had to read first few pages again to get the names right.

Pace of both the stories is good. Language is simple and narration maintains the suspense till the end. The interactions between Vikram Rana and his wife Veena bring much needed light-hearted moments in tense situations.

A great effort for a debut.










Read an excerpt...



From "The Mysterious Affair of the Lohia Mansion"

"Kinshuk sprang out of bed and followed his uncle, Rohan along the passage to his mother Richa’s bedroom.

Rohan’s wife, Kiara joined them along with Richa’s personal maid Lakshmi and two more servants. Everyone seemed to be in a state of awestricken fear.

Kinshuk turned to his uncle, ‘What should we do? Father is not here.’

Never had Kinshuk’s weak nature been more apparent, Rohan thought in distaste. Rohan rattled the handle of his sister-in-law Richa’s door violently, but with no effect. The whole household was aroused by now. The most alarming sounds were audible from the interior of the locked bedroom. Clearly something must be done."

What could have been going on the room? What triggered it?

Mrs Lohia was lying in her bed having seizures. In her agony she must have overturned the bedside table. As they entered, her limbs relaxed and she fell back on her pillow.

"I cannot see properly" she complained. Rohan and Kinshuk looked at each other helplessly. A strangled cry from the bed startled them. A fresh bout of pain had seized Richa. The seizures were terrible to behold. At that moment dr Agnihotri pushed his way into the room authoritatively. At the same instant, Richa cried "Rohan.... Rohan" then she fell back on the pillows motionless. 

Why was Richa killed? Why did she take Rohan's name?

From the Sonia Sinha case:

"He reached the meeting place at 8 pm sharp. The headlights of his car revealed a woman in a burqa waiting by the roadside. She waved her hand. Krishna stopped the car and she got in. As she removed her veil, Krishna started in surprise. At the same time another man got into the back of his car. Confused, Krishna looked at the man. Then his eyes widened in fear."

Whom did Krishna see? Who was the woman in burqa?








Grab your copy @


About the author


Sharmishtha Shenoy

Sharmishtha Shenoy loves writing murder mysteries, the kind of books that she herself likes to read. Her favorite authors are Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Agatha Christie. She also likes the work of Satyajit Ray – especially the Feluda Series. She was born in Calcutta and has done her post-graduation from University of Reading, Great Britain. She lives in Hyderabad.

You can stalk her @

                     



Follow Us  @ Pinterest 








   This Tour is Hosted by 



We Promote So That You Can Write