Monday, January 27, 2014

Health: AWARENESS OF TUBERCULOSIS

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A general perception is that TB affects the poor living in slums. That is not necessarily true, especially in a crowded city like Mumbai. The chances of getting infected increases when one travels by public transport like buses and trains.

TB is a contagious disease and the virus spreads by air. Most of us believe that TB affects the lungs and a recurring cough is the only symptom. While both of these are true, they are not conclusive.

I am speaking from personal experience. About 8 years back, the vision in my left eye blurred. I went to an eye doctor. He could not find the cause of the problem and gave me drops – 3 of them including steroids. The disturbance in my vision kept increasing over a period while the medication had no effect.

From then on, I went to about 6 different doctors to get my eye treated. After a while, my vision deteriorated so much that I could not perceive levels. Like for example, I never could perceive which object was closer to me – the scooter or the car, etc. I had to be extra careful not to miss a step. I developed a cataract in my left eye when I was barely 45 years old.

I went to yet another doctor and had an appointment for a cataract operation for the next day. God was obviously on my side that day. The clinic was overcrowded and the doctor did not keep his appointment. My husband got irritated and insisted we left. He fixed an appointment with Dr. Deosthali in Sion.

That’s when I got to know that blood vessels had formed in my iris – the portion that gives colour to the eyes. In a normal eye, blood does not flow into the iris. Dr. Deosthali also said that if I underwent a cataract operation at that point, my eye would flood with blood and I would lose my vision completely.

He recommended Dr. Ashish Vaidya, a retina specialist at Mahim as I was working in that area in those days. It was a lucky day for me when I met this specialist who had many years of experience at Shankara Nethralaya, Chennai.

The moment he checked me, Dr. Vaidya asked me to get tested for TB. He said that he would have other tests done only if I got this one ‘negative’.

When I tested for TB, I went back to the testing clinic after 2-3 days (as stipulated) and the doctor there had the shock of his life when he saw the state of my forearm. I had very high level of TB and I had never known. I have always been overweight and I had had no symptom of the disease. In fact, when I had taken a chest X-ray for insurance purposes at work, it had shown up nothing.

I am from the upper middle class, have never been mal-nourished in my life and live in a very clean environment. I used to travel to work by taxi and very rarely use the public transport. Despite all this, I had contracted the deadly tuberculosis. There was one thing though. While I rarely caught cold and cough, when I did, the cough used to last for atleast a month and used to be quite severe. But I never made the connection.

Six months of rigorous treatment followed when I kept going back to the retina specialist for regular check-up. The blood vessels receded over this period and I was finally ready for the cataract operation. When Dr. Deosthali performed the operation by laser, he had to spend 45 minutes on it while he said an average cataract operation takes less than 10 minutes. My eye was in that bad a shape thanks to TB.

Now, the pupil in my left eye is permanently dilated and my vision is not 100% back. I manage mostly with my right eye. Such is the impact of TB. So how does one escape such a situation?

I think everyone should test for the disease once in a few years, the same as one would do an ECG after 40. And all people, including children, should get checked every five years or so.

The only way to get cured of TB is to take the medicines the doctor prescribes diligently – not missing even one dosage. This is very important to ensure that the virus is completely killed. Otherwise, it tends to recur and then there is no way to solve the problem.


Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Book Review: SIRENS SPELL DANGER - 3 Thrillers by 3 Authors



Sirens Spell Danger 
By 
C.Suresh, Radha Sawana & Karthik L



The Blurb

There are sirens and, then, there are sirens. Some warn you of danger and some lure you into danger...Lured by a sexy siren, Vicky is mistaken for a secret agent, kidnapped, tortured and slated for death. Will he survive and save Bangalore from going up in flames?...There is a serial killer loose in the city leaving mysterious messages around the bodies of the victims. Are the messages a challenge to the police or a siren call to lure another victim...Jay is sent to Bellary to investigate a possible ISI plot. Was it merely a murky political plot or was there something more sinister in the offing? And why were two women suddenly singing siren songs of love?...Three tales of nerve-racking suspense and pulse-pounding action.

MY REVIEW

This book consists of three stories that have been written by different authors – Suresh C, Radha Sawana & Karthik L. The common touch is the sirens who lure the protagonists into danger. Are they what they appear to be? 

Femme Fatale by Suresh C

The story is about Vikram who goes to Bangalore for an interview. He doesn’t bother to attend it when his mother calls him to say that he has been selected for IPS. Celebrating at a bar, he gets attracted to the gorgeous Tanya who leads him on a wild goose chase. Vikram lands in trouble – big time.

The story is fast-paced and takes you on a crazy ride as Vikram keeps getting into situations. Who is Tanya? Why is she leading him on? Why does he trust her despite the problems she creates in his life? You have to read the full story to find out.

I liked the narration and style of Suresh’s way of story-telling. My eyes rushed over the lines trying to find out what happens next. The situations and characters are quite believable and interestingly fleshed out. It’s definitely worth a read.

I have one peeve though. Right at the beginning, over the first 2-3 pages I noticed a number of words that have been oft-repeated. Case in point – “ogle”. Some of the sentences could have been better framed, definitely. It calls for better editing. The similes used are not very relatable. 

I will go with 3.5 stars for this story. 

Bella Dona by Radha Sawana

This story begins with a bang – a murder, no less. Inspector Shardul Reham is at a loss to understand how the dead body happens to be where it is. The man is a rich industrialist. Why would he book himself into a shady hotel? 

The post mortem does not come up with all the answers. Soon, the head of the forensic department, Rajinder Sharma, connects this murder to another that had occurred under similar circumstances. Where they on to a serial killer?

Sharma’s assistant Girish is intelligent and good at his job. But that still does not stop the next couple of murders from being committed. Shardul is desperate to find the killer. Will he be in time to stop the next murder?

The murder mystery by Radha Sawana is fast-paced and well-narrated. I enjoyed reading the book that almost drove me to tears at the pathos behind the murders. It makes one feel that the murderer is justified. A very well thought out plot that’s been neatly put together. The language is also very good. 

Just one complaint – I see that the author is a chemistry expert. So a story based on the subject is perfect. But this is a work of fiction. I love to read fiction and am quite picky about how it is presented. I liked the description about ‘atropos’, etc. even if some of them were repeated. But I draw the line at a Google search result with a lot of chemical formulae. It takes the joy away from reading the story. I hope the author makes note of this point and adapts it in her next work. I do look forward to reading her future works. 

Another point that I noted – not a sin, but a mite surprising! The story is set where? In which city or town or country? 

I will go with 3.5 stars for Bella Dona by Radha Sawana. 

Bellary by Karthik L

Jay is an Intelligence Bureau agent who is sent on an assignment to Bellary. His boss Vasu had given Jay clear instructions on saving a situation that is to occur on the 25th. 

First he meets Shenaya and later Ruksana. Both the women land Jay in trouble, even jail. Were they out to stop him from completing his assignment? You will have to read the story to find out whether Jay is successful in his venture.

I was surprised by the strange twist in the story is to say the least. It makes for an interesting read as the author works around the plot, making it suitable for 21st century reading. 

While the language Karthik uses is very good, the book needs to be edited thoroughly. 

I will go with 3 stars for Bellary by Karthik L.

Buy it @

Meet the Authors

C. Suresh
(Femme Fatale)

Fiction has been an addiction but the need to make a living took Suresh through Chemical Engineering and an MBA at IIM-Bangalore and, from thence, to a long 16 year stint in the area of finance with specific expertise in fertilizer subsidies and a further two years as consulting expert in the same area. That, in his words, about sums up the boring part of his life, except for the people he was privileged to meet.

Otherwise, he can be described as a mess of contradictions – a bookworm but avid trekker; alone but never lonely; enjoys solitude but loves company; lazy but a perfectionist, the litany is endless. Trekking, which side-tracked him from the writing for which he quit his job, is a major passion and he does, at least, one trek in the Himalayas every year in addition to numerous local treks.

He reignited his passion for writing with a fairly popular blog www.jambudweepam.blogspot.in and, currently, also has a short story – A Path of Thorns - published in a collection “Uff Ye Emotions”. His short stories The Gates of Hell and Yesterdays and Tomorrows have won contests. You can read a sampling of his fiction here.

Stalk him @
               



Radha Sawana
(Bella Donna)

Radha Sawana is part secretive, part playful, part ambitious, part indolent, and as a result, completely confused. She has been a bookworm as long as she can remember, and so it came as no surprise to her when suddenly the thought of starting her own blog occurred to her. Thus, in the 4th year of her education at BITS Pilani, she started her blog ‘Entropy’, the name paying homage to her subject of specialization – chemistry. 

Entropy began with random thoughts from her mind and before she realized it, she had started writing short stories too. Her first stories – The Late Goodbye and 48 Hours – are widely loved. Her personal favourite on her blog is her still untitled collection of three short pieces called Harakiri, Saisei and Wind. She is currently writing a seven-part story called Seven 

Stalk her @

               

Karthik L



Karthik, a management consultant by profession, has always had fondness for stories from his early childhood when he used to keenly listen to stories told by his grandfather. Over the next twenty five years, he has been voraciously consuming fiction starting with Enid Blyton and moving on to Arthur Conan Doyle and then Isaac Asimov. One fine day he decided he had heard enough stories and he start telling them instead and so he started his blog ‘Lucifer House Inc.’ in 2008. He has been continuously striving to entertain his readers through his blog posts over 5 years, winning some blogger awards as well in the process. The blog has a Google page rank of 3 and figures in the Top Indian blogs directory.

Do click on these links to check out some of his short stories.


One of his stories ‘Nootropic Egress’ won the best story award under science fiction category in a story telling contest and was published in the multi-genre anthology ‘Ten Shades of Life’. He has recently started another blog ‘Three Realms of the Mind’ to share his passion for his three favorite fiction genres – science fiction, fantasy and historic fiction with the rest of the world. He dreams of being a bestselling author in one of these genres. Last but not the least, he shares alma maters (IIT and IIM) with some of the most popular contemporary Indian authors and hopes he can share their success in garnering readers as well.
You can Stalk him @



               





Blog Tour Schedule
(19th Jan- 25th Jan 2014)

19th January '14
Sonia Rao (Spotlight)

19th January '14
Rubina Ramesh (Spotlight/ Review)

20th January '14
Janaki Nagaraj (Review)

21 st January '14
Byrappa (Spotlight)

21 st January '14

22nd January '14
Sridevi Datta (Spotlight)

22nd January '14
Jaibala Rao (Review/ Interview)

23rd January '14
Ruchi Vasudeva (Review / Interview)

24th January '14
From the Heart - Neel

25th January '14 (Review)
Dola Basu Singh
Shiuli

25th January '14 (Interview)
The Tales Pensieve







Saturday, January 18, 2014

eBook Review: LOVE’S LABOR by ANDY PAULA

This review has been very long due. I finally made the time to read Love’s Labor by Andy Paula a couple of nights ago. I finished the lovely book at one go. Very interesting read!

Piali is a teacher who works with 12th standard students in Mussourie. She lives by herself at the accommodation close to her school. She is in charge of the centenary celebration that’s being organised at the school. In the middle of a busy day, she gets a call from Sathya, the love of her life. He has discovered her whereabouts.

From this point, the story takes you in flashback. If Sathya is the love of her life, then why are they not together? You have to read the story to find out.

I somehow feel that Piali’s character is very similar to author Andy Paula’s. It’s just an instinct. Both are teachers who love teaching English. Piali has a powerful leadership quality that also somehow tells me is a lot like Andy Paula. The President of the country visiting the school also seems to be based on Andy’s connection with Ex-President Abdul Kalam.

Apart from that, I liked the way Piali Roy has been etched. Her struggle with her parents, her father’s stubborn attitude and her mother’s silent support of her father – everything has been framed well.

I loved Sathya’s character. He is the perfect character for a romance and really came across as a hero. Lucky Piali!

One thing disappointed me, though. The end was abrupt and I was startled to see that that was it, the story was over. Quite unexpected!

All in all, a very well written, lovely story that is worth a read. Congratulations Andy Paula -  looking forward to reading more of your work!

The cover is perfect for the book and has been done by Naila Ahmed. Kudos Naila!

CLICK HERE to buy your copy of Andy Paula’s LOVE’S LABOR on Amazon. 

Friday, January 17, 2014

Film Review: THE WOLF OF WALL STREET


It felt as if I had jumped headlong into a Harold Robbins novel

Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Matthew McConaughey, Jonah Hill, Cristin Milioti, Margot Robbie
Director: Martin Scorsese

One more film recommended by Vignesh. Venkat and I went along with him for the late night show at Cinemax on Tuesday.

THE STORY

The film is based on the memoirs of Jordan Belfort who became a millionaire many times over as a stock broker on Wall Street.

Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio) joins a well established stock broking firm on Wall Street and is all raring to go, egged on by his boss Mark (Matthew McConaughey). Mark also teaches him that drugs and women will keep a stock broker free from the stress created by the high flying life of a stock broker. Jordan takes Mark at his word and takes to the market like duck to water.

Things take a downward trend when his company closes down after Black Friday. Encouraged by his wife Teresa (Cristin Milioti), Jordan joins an Investor Centre on Long Island that deals in penny stocks. He proves to be a great salesman and makes a lot of money. Soon, he joins his neighbour Donnie (Jonah Hill) to start his own firm. They take on board a few more friends who are actually drug dealers. Soon, their company flourishes trading in penny stocks.

Jordan goes from strength to strength and makes millions. He falls for Naomi (Margot Robbie) and divorces Teresa to marry her.

But how long can a company run on fraudulent transactions last?

MY PERCEPTION

Despite being warned, it look me a while to calm down listening to every single dialogue peppered with the f-word. Combined with drugs and debauchery, it felt as if I had jumped head long into a Harold Robbins novel.

But then, the film is based on Mr. Jordan Belfort’s lifetime memoirs and no one can help it for being what it is.

Apart from that, one has to appreciate how well the story has been handled. A special Kudos to Martin Scorsese!

Leonardo DiCaprio has been growing from strength to strength. While I have only seen his film Titanic, I have heard rave reviews about Inception. The actor was simply amazing as Jordan Belfort. I so enjoyed listening to his sales pitches and motivating speeches minus the bad language. It could really set one’s blood soaring to achieve something.

Set in a time (1980s-90s) when money played God in everyone’s life, Jordan is a go-getter who would stop at nothing to achieve his dream of being a millionaire. One redeeming quality that he has is that he wants all the people around him to get rich too.

But going against the law can lead to only one thing and finally he lands up in prison. Then again, he proves that money can get one out of any situation and gets a royal treatment in jail too.

An awesome story with a superb performance by Leonardo DiCaprio playing the hero! All the others in supportive roles were also excellent. I liked the way the story goes back and forth in time, making for an interesting watch. The film ran for 2 hours & 54 minutes and I seriously can’t remember when the time flew so fast while watching such a long film.

Leonardo DiCaprio has already won the Golden Globe for this performance. Martin Scorsese also stands an excellent chance of winning the Best Director’s award for 2013.

VERDICT: It’s a must see if you like crime fiction. I enjoyed the experience.

RATING: **** Snazzy

* Silly
** Shaky
*** Smart
**** Snazzy
***** Super

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Film Review: THE SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTY

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
A good film that touches your heart! 

Cast: Ben Stiller, Sean Penn, Kristen Wiig, Shirley MacLaine, Adam Scott, Adrian Martinez
Director: Ben Stiller

Viggy had been telling me about this film since two weeks before we finally watched it at PVR Cinemas at High Street Phoenix, Lower Parel. I am glad that we did not miss this one!

THE STORY

Walter Mitty (Ben Stiller) works for Life magazine in the Photography Department as a negative assets manager. He went to work at a very young age when his father suddenly died and he’s left to take care of his mother and sister.

Walter’s always dreamt of travelling and seeing the world but has stopped trying to realise his dreams as responsibilities bog him down. He has been working with Life magazine since 16 years when it is suddenly taken over by a company headed by Ted Hendricks (Adam Scott). Ted is ruthless and unfriendly right from the start and is waiting for a chance to throw people out of their jobs, notwithstanding their hard work over so many years. And Walter lands in deep trouble when he is unable to locate negative no. 25 that photojournalist Sean O’Connell (Sean Penn) has sent to be used on the cover of the magazine.

It is a first in Walter’s career and he is determined to set his record straight. Soon, he is travelling from Greenland to Iceland to the Himalayas to track Sean down for the missing negative.

MY PERCEPTION

I have seen a few movies of Ben Stiller and have always been impressed with his acting. He is simply amazing in this movie as Walter Mitty. I could so relate to the dreamer who is stuck in day-to-day life. And yet, he is completely loyal to his family as well as his job.

It’s fascinating to see how his dreams come to fruition as he travels across the globe to clear his name with the takeover firm that has already thrown him off his job.

We have seen Ben Stiller the actor in many successful films. I was quite happy to see the actor take to his new role of director in this one so well. While basically a comedy, it moved me to tears by the time it got over.

Kristen Wiig plays the role of a young divorcee with a son. She soon becomes Walter’s friend at the magazine. She does a good job as Cheryl.

Adam Scott as Ted Hendricks was perfect. He is so hateable that he made a perfect villain.

Sean Penn was awesome in that one scene that he shows up in. I especially loved the football game Sean and Ben play on the snow up in the Himalayas.

The film ran for a little less than two hours making it a joy to watch.

Wonderful job, Ben Stiller! Hope to see more.

VERDICT: A good film that touches your heart!

RATING: ***** Super

* Silly
** Shaky
*** Smart
**** Snazzy
***** Super

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

eBook Review: CANVAS OF DREAMS by JAYA SIVA MURTY

I have been meaning to read this book for a long time and finally managed to open Canvas of Dreams by Jaya Siva Murty last night. I could not shut down my phone until I finished reading at 2.45 am. It was completely un-put-downable!

I like the way the author has weaved the plot around dreams – nightmares actually. Riya has bad dreams every night. The 32-year-old has lost her husband Siddharth of barely a couple of years. She is an art curator who goes to Singapore on work. Most unexpectedly, she meets Ryan, the love of her life. Only it does not appear likely that they could rekindle their relationship.

She returns to Mumbai to set up her own gallery, encouraged by her best friend. Artist Rehaan enters her life. To begin with he is very rude. Soon, he patches up and gets close. Is he the man for her?

Riya tries to find love amidst the shattered remains of her broken life as she creates a niche for herself in the world of art. Until the end, the author keeps you guessing who Riya will end up with. Good one, Jaya Siva Murty!

I must congratulate Jaya on the way she has woven the fabric of the story and how it revolves around art. A lot of research has gone into the art world, but has been presented in a subtle fashion, making it a joy to read the book.

I could relate to Riya’s fears so well as they are quite real. Her determination to stride ahead and make something of her life is what makes her an endearing character. What she undergoes could be possible in just anyone’s life. Quite impressed with the way the characters have been etched.

I can’t think of a better title than CANVAS OF DREAMS for this book. It’s ‘oh so perfect’!

Kudos Jaya Siva Murty on your maiden venture - looking forward to reading more of your work!

CLICK HERE to purchase your copy of CANVAS OF DREAMS by Jaya Siva Murty.



Monday, January 13, 2014

Sharing: BLOG TOUR WITH THE BOOK CLUB


I am sure each member of The Book Club has been reading all their lives and can afford to buy their own books. Despite that, they were ready and willing to write about my book and do my interviews – all from the heart.

When Rubina Ramesh suggested a Blog Tour for my book DOUBLE JEOPARDY, I vigorously nodded my head and agreed, not quite understanding what she meant in totality. As I had mentioned before, the woman is a go-getter. What I had not mentioned is that she is a Superwoman! I have been through a whirlwind over the past 10 days and have enjoyed every minute of it thoroughly.

For those who came in late, about Rubina Ramesh in her own words:

RUBINA RAMESH is an avid book reader and book critic currently based in Phoenix, Arizona. Born in Bihar, India to a Bengali family, she has been a constant traveler - Bangalore London, The Netherlands, Malaysia, Houston and now Phoenix. In all these her constant companion has been books which turned her into a regular blogger on various sites and also led to her own blog of book reviews. Currently she is working on her book's manuscript while she looks towards bridging the gap between Indian and western authors and promote Indian authors in the western blog hops. Her book reviews can be read at http://rubinaramesh.blogspot.com/

I would like to share my learning and experience during the blog tour. There are three parts to this, namely, Spotlight, Review & Interview. Let me explain in terms of my book.

A Spotlight is when a member displays the information about my book along with author information, pictures and banners on his/her blog. Adite Banerjie & Dola Basu Singh did that for me on their blogs. Thank you ladies!

Click Here for Adite’s Blog Link

Click Here for Dola’s Blog Link

We all understand what a Review is, of course. What happened during the blog tour was that Rubina brought together a number of writers and bloggers to review my book. They all gave me their honest views and gave my book exposure among all their blog readers, facebook friends and twitter followers. Some of them put up their posts on PinIt and other social media networks, increasing the viewers by a number of times.

What is even better is that this group of reviewers posted their reviews on Amazon, Flipkart, Goodreads, etc. where my book is on sale. Rubina Ramesh, Neelesh Gajanan Inamdar, Vishwas Manjula Byrappa, Sumeetha Manikandan, Sridevi Datta & Jaibala Rao reviewed my book. Thank you so much Guys!

Click Here to read Rubina’s review

Click Here to read Neelesh’s review

Click Here to read Vishwas’s review

Click Here to read Sumeetha’s review

Click Here to read Sridevi’s review

Click Here to read Jaibala’s review

The Interviews were a class apart. I feel quite thrilled that so many people wanted to interview me to begin with. And the questions were all different and very interesting – I am sure for many of the readers and especially aspiring authors too. Thank you Rubina Ramesh, Sonia Rao, Ruchi Vasudeva, Jaibala Rao & The Tales Pensieve for those interviews.

Click Here to read Rubina’s interview

Click Here to read Sonia’s interview

Click Here to read Ruchi’s interview

Click Here to read Jaibala’s interview

Click Here to read The Tales Pensieve’s interview (also by Rubina Ramesh)

RESULTS OF THE BLOG TOUR

Now, coming to the most important part of the blog tour. Social Media Marketing is here to stay. As I had mentioned to someone the other day, it’s like distributing free cups of Nescafe to sell tons of it. It’s as simple as that.

I share some copies of my book with writers, authors and bloggers. In return, they give me their valuable feedback while getting their blog readers to know about my book. Great exchange, I feel. More than that, they post their reviews on Amazon, Flipkart and some of the other websites where my book is on sale. Fabulous deal!

As I mentioned before, the interviews were a different ballgame altogether. The questions were varied – each one talking to me from a different angle. Amazing interactions!

I must say it was a roller-coaster ride the past ten days that I thoroughly enjoyed. The best result was when my Twitter followers increased tremendously. I was – am – amazed at the response to the promotions.

The sales – well, I will know the actual effect after a couple of months. I am not worried. I have done my best to promote my book. God, I am sure, is taking care of the rest.

The selfless work that has gone into this is by this great team of The Book Club. I am sure each of them has been reading all their lives and can afford to buy their own books. Despite that, they were ready and willing to write about my book and do my interviews – all from the heart.

I THANK THEM ALL FROM THE DEPTH OF MY HEART! Love You Guys! HUGS!


Saturday, January 11, 2014

Blog Tour: REVIEW & INTERVIEW BY JAIBALA RAO

Jaibala Rao
I got introduced to Jaibala Rao via The Book Club. I can see that Jaibala is fond of romances and I am glad to see the 4-star rating she has given my book. People who read romances on a regular basis surely know what works best in that genre. Thank you for the wonderful review Jaibala!

And the interview! I enjoyed answering Jaibala Rao's questions. There were a couple of thought provoking ones too. I hope I have answered them well too.

About Jaibala Rao in her own words:

"Although new to professional writing and reviewing, Jaibala has lived in a world of books ever since she could read. Outside that Utopia of books, she is academically a Microbiologist and professionally has been an Event Manger and Content Writer. Just like her colourful professional background her interest in books is also spread across various genres. “There is something good in every book”, is a belief she carries while reading."




BOOK REVIEW & INTERVIEW

Recently I got the chance to rekindle my affair with Mills and Boon style romances when I read Double Jeopardy by Sundari Venkatraman. To say that the courting was quick would be an understatement. I fell in love with everything about the book, the story, characters and I sure wanted more. To read a more detailed review click on the image below.

CLICK HERE to read the complete review & interview....

Friday, January 10, 2014

Blog Tour: REVIEW BY SUMEETHA MANIKANDAN

Sumeetha Manikandan
Today, it is Author Sumeetha Manikandan who has reviewed my book DOUBLE JEOPARDY. Thank you for the lovely review Sumeetha! I am glad you liked my book.

About Sumeetha Manikandan in her own words:

"Sumeetha Manikandan, a freelance content writer is an English literature graduate with a journalism and mass communication diploma. She lives in Chennai with her husband and daughter. After a decade long career in dotcom industry, she started working as a content writer from home. She wrote her debut novel, ‘The Perfect Groom’ as a script for a serial, which she converted into a novella for Indireads."






BOOK REVIEW

Two guys and one girl. Initially when I read the blurb, I secretly wondered whether this could be the modern version of the old hindi movie, ‘Ek Phool Do Mali’. But this fiction is quite unlike any of the normal run-of-the-mill romance that M & B churns out regularly.

Sanya is in love with the warm hearted Arth. Arth is polite, friendly and charming. While his identical twin Ansh is a charming rogue. Unable to forget Arth, her childhood hero Sanya comes to Mumbai. Her sojourn to Mumbai is for various reasons. She needs to do some soul searching about what profession to pursue and to make Arth fall in love with her.

CLICK HERE to read the complete review....



Thursday, January 9, 2014

Blog Tour: REVIEW BY NEELESH GAJANAN INAMDAR

Neelesh Gajanan Inamdar
Today, I present a book review of DOUBLE JEOPARDY by Neelesh Inamdar. I know him via The Book Club. I was quite thrilled to read the superbly written review by Neelesh and he has given my book no less than 3 stars. Thank you Neelesh! And thank you for that wonderful title.

About Neelesh Gajanan Inamdar in his own words:

"I am a qualified Chemical Engineer; worked as a director and executive producer for a few flop films and hit TV serials before shifting base to the United Arab Emirates. Was an avid reader since age 8 and have read a lot from Dickens to Kiran Desai, from Mills & Boon/Harlequin to The Old Man and the Sea/The Story of My Experiments with Truth (Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi). Like to read anything from books to blogs to technical manuals to whatever paper the bhel-puri is packed in. B I G fan of William Somerset Maugham & Ernest Hemingway.  Fav books: The God of Small Things, David Copperfield, A Tale of Two Cities, Anna Karenina, A Farewell To Arms, We The Living."


BOOK REVIEW

I used to read Mills & Boon romances around 2 decades back. My male friends used to make fun of me for reading those mushy mushy girly novels and my female friends used to lend me their favourites. In those days everyone used to say that if you read one M & B you need not read the second and if you read the second, you could easily write the third. I know that's easier said than done, and I'm glad Sundari decided to write this one.

Frankly, I began Sundari Venkataraman’s Double Jeopardy expecting the same run-of-the-mill boy and girl stuff. But I wasn’t ready for what I got. Society has changed, and so has today’s romance novel, of which ‘Double Jeopardy’ is a living example. It weaves a romantic tale of three individuals, Sanya, Arth and Ansh, and their dreams and ambitions in a world where the male is no longer the alpha male and the dreamy-eyed young woman has to grapple with the realities of a city which is quite different from what it was ten years ago.

CLICK HERE to read the complete review....


Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Blog Tour: INTERVIEW BY SONIA RAO

Sonia Rao
I bless the moment when Rubina Ramesh was struck with the idea of a Blog Tour on her blog The Book Club. I feel so lucky that DOUBLE JEOPARDY was first in line for this idea. Today, it is Sonia Rao's turn to interview me. Sonia asked me some wonderful questions and I hope I have given the answers that she was seeking. Thank you Sonia Rao!

About Sonia Rao, in her own words:

"Sonia Rao is the NaNoWriMo Municipal Liaison (ML) for India region and she loves nothing more than motivating  (okay, goading even, sometimes) Wrimos to complete the mandatory 50K words of a novel to become NaNo winners because, with four first drafts of novels under her belt (or rather,  in her PC), she knows that the thrill of completing a first draft of a novel is unparalleled (yeah, even beats slurping on that big bar of Cadbury’s Silk).

Sonia Rao’s idea of paradise is a beautiful garden full of different types of gel pens and writing paper and a muse ‘on call’.  Sadly, such a paradise does not exist (it does not!!!) except in her vivid imagination and so if you should talk to her and find her ‘spaced out’ don’t worry too much or send out for reinforcements. She must be on one of her ‘trips’.  And she’s hopeful that those trips will result in some worthwhile writings.  You see, she loves to write about ‘Writing’, when she’s not working on her novel.

On Planet Earth, though, Sonia lives in the busiest of cities, Mumbai, which gives her innumerable opportunities to observe people and learn more about life; and then share this knowledge. Do check out her sometimes-humorous and sometimes-poignant view of life in Mumbai in ‘life in the city’ collection.

Sonia likes to believe she is ‘high-minded’ but strangely, her fave hobby is thinking up torture devices for those autorickshawallahs who consider the roads to be their personal spittoon. Who knew?"

Author Interview

Even though, once upon a time, a day was not complete if I had not read 2-3 Mills&Boon, the craving had petered off once higher studies and other mundane activities of living took over. So, it was with mixed emotions that I came to Double Jeopardy and then, could not put down the book till I reached the end. Let’s just say, for the inveterate romantic that I am, this book was a treat. If you are one, too, then read this book. Even if you are not, still read Double Jeopardy. You might discover you actually are one.

Let us know more, then,  about the person behind Double Jeopardy, the author, Sundari Venkatraman.

Sonia Rao (SR): Sundari, you’ve mentioned “you got home one evening after your walk and took some sheets of paper and began writing. And that was how your first novel was born.”  Tell us what happened on that walk.

Sundari Venkatraman (SV): I was actually in a very disturbed state of mind, Sonia, when I left home for the walk as I had no sense of direction in my life. I had quit my job a few months earlier and was quite fed up of only reading books. I had to do something, I thought. I am huge a fan of Mills & Boon and I used to keep visualizing Indian heroes and heroines in many of the scenes. As I was brooding about my life, it suddenly struck me that I should put my imagination into words on paper. I had never written before – unless my arm was twisted, of course. And that too was for essays in school and college. My walk home was pretty fast for me as I felt compelled to write the book. Writing fiction was like a dam burst. I loved it. I still do.

CLICK HERE to read the complete interview....


Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Blog Tour: REVIEW BY VISHWAS MANJULA BYRAPPA

Vishwas Manjula Byrappa
I must say I was pleasantly surprised when I saw the 4-star rating given my book by Vishwas Manjula Byrappa. As he says it himself, he is not a fan of the romance genre. Thank you so much for your words of appreciation Vishwas!

About Vishwas in his own words:

"Byrappa is a Philosopher in Love, a Chief Applied Imagineer, a Parenthesis Whore, a Roamer & a Professional Bullshitter. Byrappa is an editor, ghost writer / re-writer and publisher; and has been breaking and taking things apart (Under the guise of testing and/or reviewing) apps, gadgets, games, cameras, mobiles, and websites since the late 90s. After a long crazy ride, he delusionally thinks he can write and has just started to review books."




Book Review

Double Jeopardy by Sundari Venkatraman is short romantic novella, which by judging its cover, looks like a triangle love story, telling the story of Sanya who is caught between her childhood crush for Arth, and the unexplainable feeling she has for Ansh.

What I like…

Sundari has created characters that are at once both likeable and relatable. The characters, their personalities, intentions, relationships, conflicts, and feelings have all been described in a simplistic and effortless manner, yet it still leaves a lasting impression on you.

While parts of the story are predicable, the suspense has been handled very well, giving you a bold and interesting twist. The story also explores various topics like relationship with family, insecurities which rip apart friends, the concept of the crazy thing we call love, sensitive social issues, insensitive society & media, and importantly the journey of a self-discovery, of Sanya, a poster child for Millennials.

CLICK HERE to read the complete review....


Blog Tour: INTERVIEW BY RUCHI VASUDEVA

Ruchi Vasudeva
I was thrilled when Mills & Boon author Ruchi Vasudeva offered to interview me for Double Jeopardy. She has authored two books for M&B; You Can't Fight A Royal Attraction & Bollywood Fianc√© For A Day.

About Ruchi Vasudeva in her own words:

"An author who’s found a second career in writing, the first is being a medico. I write romantic and emotional stories. My debut book, out in August ’13, is Bollywood Fiance For A Day, published with Harlequin Mills and Boon.

I discovered or rather rediscovered my writing zen rather late, after a gap of about twenty years from when I first thought of being a writer. However, once it caught hold, the spirit to get published didn’t let go of me. Despite many upsets in daily routine, it’s been a fun journey and I look forward to sharing similar experiences with other writers and readers. This blog is a landing space for the flight of my writing side and its endeavours."

Thank you Ruchi for doing the interview!

AUTHOR INTERVIEW

Today I have with me author Sundari Venkataraman, talking about her new book with the intriguing title of Double Jeopardy. Let’s get to know her better through this question and answer session.

Q: Tell us something about yourself and how you got into writing?

A: I have grown up in a family where a woman’s main aim in life is to get married, preferably an arranged marriage. I got married to my husband Venkatraman when I was 23 and had two kids. While I always loved reading, I never could write creatively.

I enjoy Mills & Boon romances and kept visualizing Indian heroes and heroines in them. I used to weave a number of scenes in my head but never wrote as I had no confidence in my writing.
One fine day, I just decided to put my thoughts into words in the form of a novel and quite liked the way it read. And that’s how my writing happened in my life.

CLICK HERE to read the complete interview....

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Blog Tour: REVIEW BY SRIDEVI DATTA

Sridevi Datta
The blog tour of DOUBLE JEOPARDY continues...

Today, Sridevi Datta has posted her review of my book on her blog called The Write Journey.

In Sridevi’s own words on her blog

"I strongly believe every word written or uttered serves a larger purpose in life. I am here to find that purpose and find myself nearing that goal every time I write.  Would love to connect with you all at many many levels."

Thank you Sridevi for the lovely review!







Book Review

Sundari Venkatraman’s “Double Jeopardy” is a treat for the romantic within us who keeps dreaming of those moments where everything is beautiful, polished and scratch free. The story centers around the beautiful Sanya and her heartbreaking childhood crush for the quieter, more mature of the two twins –the unconventionally handsome Arth.

CLICK HERE to read the complete review....


Friday, January 3, 2014

Blog Tour: REVIEW BY RUBINA RAMESH

Rubina Ramesh
Hello Everyone,

As I had mentioned in the earlier blog, the blog tour of my book DOUBLE JEOPARDY took off with a bang yesterday with a spotlight by Adite Banerjie, author of the Mills & Boon INDIAN TYCOON'S MARRIAGE DEAL. Thank you Adite! The response has been great and it's thanks to all of you readers.

Today, my book has been reviewed by Rubina Ramesh. Rubina is a voracious reader, blogger and reviewer. She is the brain behind the blog tours on The Book Club. The lady is a go-getter and I am glad to see that she likes my book. She also interviewed me on her blog. Thank you Rubina! You can scroll down to check both the articles.


Book Review

Disclaimer: I have done this review based on the original version bought from Indireads. The book has undergone some editorial changes after this review. But it no way affects what I feel about this novel.

She…..

She is Sanya. A spoilt brat with a childhood crush. She travels from London to Mumbai. She has so hoped for the love of her life, Arth, to pick her up from the airport but instead she got the infuriating twin, Ansh, waiting for her.

From there begins her battle of the heart. On one hand she knew she loved Arth, the one who would always keep her safe in their childhood days, who would protect her from the torments of his other twin.

But today she is caught between the love of her childhood and this passionate stranger that Ansh had become. Would she succumb to his charms or will she be able to find her heart’s desire.

He…..

Now if I write about the ‘HE’ I will be giving away the whole story. That won’t be fun for you will it? Though I am itching to type here, but it is for you to find out … Arth? Ansh? Arth? Ansh?.....

CLICK HERE to read the complete review on Rubina's blog.

Author Interview

What inspired you to write your first book?

I am a diehard romantic at heart. I used to love reading fairytales as a kid and thoroughly enjoyed the ‘lived happily ever after’ endings. Later on, as a teen, I turned my attention to Mills & Boon romances. I am not quite sure when the interest turned and I began to imagine Indian heroes and heroines. While I have a fertile imagination, I never could string two sentences together.

I was almost 40 when I penned my first novel – The Malhotra Bride. I had quit my job and was at home, playing housewife. I felt quite useless. Suddenly, one evening, inspiration struck. I returned from my walk and sat down to write. By night, I had completed 14 pages of ruled foolscap paper. Thoroughly excited, I finished the first script of the novel (35,000 + words) in 20 days.

CLICK HERE to read the full interview on Rubina's blog


Wednesday, January 1, 2014

THE BOOK CLUB BLOG TOUR

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL MY READERS! I have some great news to share here 


Double Jeopardy by Sundari Venkatraman



The Blurb

Sanya doesn’t just have trouble, she has double trouble. Twins Arth and Ansh Sharma, are rich, sexy and sinfully handsome – what’s a girl to do?

Sanya last saw the twins when she was ten years old. Now, all grown up, she has come looking for gentle Arth, the twin she has loved ever since she can remember. But instead, she is confronted with fiery Ansh, who is hell-bent on seducing her. And what’s worse, she can’t seem to stop herself from responding to him.

As she chases Arth and is chased by Ansh, Sanya finds herself on a crazy roller coaster ride with no way of getting off. How will she deal with these two very different men in her life? Will she be able to convince one twin that she loves the other?

Meet the author



Even as a kid, she absolutely loved the 'lived happily ever after' syndrome as Sundari grew up reading all the fairy tales she could lay her hands on, Phantom comics, Mandrake comics and the like. It was always about good triumphing over evil and a happy end. Soon, into her teens, she switched her attention from fairy tales to Mills & Boon. While she loved reading both of these, she kept visualising what would have happened if there were similar situations happening in India; to a local hero and heroine. 

Her imagination took flight and she always lived in a rosy cocoon of romance over the years. Then came the writing – a true bolt out of the blue! She could never string two sentences together. While her spoken English had always been excellent – thanks to her Grandpa – she could not write to save her life. She was bad at writing essays in both school and college. Later, when it was time to teach her kids, she could manage everything from Science to Mathematics and History & Geography. 

When it came to writing compositions, her kids found her of no help at all. All this changed suddenly one fine day in the year 2000. She had just quit her job at a school’s office and did not know what to do with her life. She was saturated with simply reading books. That’s when she got home one evening after her walk and took some sheets of paper and began writing. It was like watching a movie that was running in her head – all those years of visualising Indian heroes and heroines needed an outlet and had to be put into words. That’s how her first novel, The Malhotra Bride, took shape. 

While she felt discouraged when publishing did not happen, it was her husband who kept encouraging her not to give up. There was no looking back after that. While publishing took a long time happening, Sundari continued to write novels and then short stories and had them published in her blogs. Her luck turned when Indireads approached her to write for them and Double Jeopardy was born.

You can stalk her @

                 
                   


Blog Tour Schedule

1Jan-11 Jan 2014
(The Blog links will be live as and when the posts come up)

2nd Jan 2014
Adite Banerjie  (Spotlight)

3rd Jan 2014
Rubina Ramesh (Review)

4th Jan 2014
Rubina Ramesh (Interview)

5th Jan 2014
Sridevi Datta (Review)

7th Jan 2014
Vishwas Byrappa (Review)

7th Jan 2014
Ruchi Vasudeva(Interview)

8th Jan 2014
Sonia Rao(Interview)

9th Jan 2014
Neelesh Gajanan Inamdar (Review)

10th Jan 2014
Dola Basu Singh (Spotlight)

10th Jan 2014
Sumeetha Manikandan (Review)

11th Jan 2014
Jaibala Rao (Review/Interview)

11th Jan 2014
The Tales Pensieve (Interview)



You can buy DOUBLE JEOPARDY on these websites