Monday, July 27, 2015

Book Review: RUDRAKSHA: When Gods Came Calling – an anthology by Readomania

I love mythology, especially Indian myths and folklore. Recently, the interest has been increasing after I did a lot of research for my A-Z mytho stories during the April Challenge. I came across a number of tales that I never heard off while I had been under the impression that I knew my Ramayana and Mahabharata totally. That’s also when I realised that there are too tales and characters out there to explore.

So, when I heard about Rudraksha, I was keen to read this one. Luckily for me, the publisher sent me a free e-copy in return for my honest review.

THE BOOK (from

Rudraksha: When Gods Came Calling is an attempt to bring together tales from across the vast length and breadth of India, a land that is steeped in mythology. It is about gods and goddesses, mythical creatures, ancient folklore and tales that abound in every village. Some of these are oft-heard stories. Some have seldom gone around. Some are spoofs. Some are parodies. They walk the ancient India or sound the chimes of modern India. From the celestial love of Shiva-Parvati, to the raging avatar of Kalki, from myths and legends of Brahmaputra to the stories of the Mahabharata, Rudraksh has it all. And there is more. Reading spoofs on present day icons provide high entertainment as do the satirical twists parodying modern issues; all through the perspective of mythology.


Caught in the Crossfire by Mithun Mukherjee 

This story is in the first person and is a modern account of Gods. Well narrated and crisp, this had me laughing my head off. I loved Mithun Mukherjee’s take on Indra and Varuna’s competitive nature. Shiva was a breath of fresh air, while the story ended perfectly. It is a must read.

Aftermath by Suhail Mathur 

This one was a confusing jumble of characters and probably would work best in a novel or maybe a novella. I also found the extensive explanations at the end uninteresting. It took away from the feeling of reading a fiction.

One Woman, Many Forms! by Sanchita Sen Das 

This is a beautiful story of Parvati and Shiva. The characters are Gods that we are familiar with, but set in a modern setting. It’s how Parvati sets out to find herself in an earlier life. Imaginative and striking, the story sure pulls in the reader. Kudos to Sanchita Sen Das!

The Story of Ahalya by Riti Kaunteya 

This one is a rant more than a story. Written in first person from Ahalya’s point of view, this has also been given a modern background. But it’s more in the form of an article than a piece of fiction.

Come Back As Anyone by Paulami Duttagupta 

Simple and beautifully narrated, this is the story of IAS Officer Sridevi and troublemaker Guruh who rides a white horse. But are things what they appear at first glance? I love the way the myth has been woven in the modern story. Good job, Paulami Duttagupta! I so liked the way Sreedevi calls out to Lord Krishna to “come back as anyone”. I wish!

Kalki—The End of An Age by Jatin Kuberker 

Okay, maybe I should have saved this for the last. This is the best of the lot, this masterpiece by Jatin Kuberker. I congratulate the author on creating a lovely story with a lot of research on Shambala, the lore of Kalki and more, bringing all the characters to life. I so loved the visual of Garud. I would love to read more from this author for sure.

The Goddam Thing by Siddhartha Yadav 

This story begins with a meeting in Swarglok and takes us to earth. I couldn’t help laughing at the characters that we know from our TV shows and it is a fun piece. Well written and beautifully presented. Enjoyed reading this one by Siddhartha Yadav!

Rudraksh by Ayan Pal 

This one is a hard-hitting story and superbly written by Ayan Pal. It takes the reader from Kolkata to Odisha where Rudraksh goes to research for his graphic novel. I am not going to say more for fear of letting out spoilers. But this one is a must read.

The Celestial Intervention by Sreelekha Chatterjee 

I am kind of dubious about this story by Sreelekha Chatterjee. It’s well written, of course. But most of the tale is what we know from Mahabharata. There’s just a bit of a twist that’s been woven in. I wish there had been more about the twist than the story that we all know anyway.

The Chronicles of Brahmaputra by Barun Bachracharya 

This story is based on a folklore. The scenes open in front of the reader’s eyes as Barun Bachracharya brings them alive with his writing skill. But somehow, I feel the humongous effort made by Raavati to escape being burned on her husband’s funeral pyre in the name of sati, for the sake of her little daughter – is wasted as the story goes along, turning and twisting away from the very purpose it started off with. Very sad indeed!

The Constant by Ayushee Ghoshal 

This story by Ayushee Ghosal is of Shiva-Sati, in a different setting from the mythology. Beautifully portrayed characters, with the background suiting the characteristics of the Gods. Well done!

The Woman Who Prayed! by Deepti Menon 

Yes, I had been waiting to read Deepti Menon’s story as I enjoy her writing. The author didn’t disappoint me. The story is about Savitri in a modern avatar, her prayers saving Satyavan from early death. Really good one! I have always wondered about Satyavan’s character in the mythology as he appears like a shadow beside Savitri. Deepti Menon has fleshed her Satyavan perfectly as he comes across as not a very strong person. I so loved the ending – it was perfect. I won’t say more for fear of spoilers. Deepti Menon, please keep writing!

The Curse of Alakshmi by Nitin Soni

I have never come across the character of Alakshmi, though it must have been obvious in the world of duality that we live in. This twin of Goddess Lakshmi has been fleshed out very well by Nitin Soni.

VERDICT: This one by Readomania is a must read if you like reading mythology and folklore. And I must say that the book cover is simply gorgeous and perfect for the theme.

Disclaimer: I received an e-copy of this book from the publisher in return for my honest review.

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Friday, July 17, 2015

Blog Tour: THE SEVENTH CUP by Nitesh Jain

The Seventh Cup
Nitesh Jain 

The Blurb

A student of history in Switzerland goes missing.

A man drinks exactly seven cups of coffee everyday in the same restaurant and believes in Mind Transportation. Two newly married Swiss detective agents arrive and begin a shocking tale of love, friendship, betrayal and death. From the colorful coasts of Goa, India to the enchanting backdrop of Zurich,Switzerland, the mystery of Verona Schmidt baffles everyone. With shocking twits and turns in every chapter, The Seventh Cup might just have the addictive flavor to stir the readers mind...may be forever !!!

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Meet the Author

Nitesh Kumar Jain (1987) spent his childhood days in the beautiful state of Assam in India and pursued his schooling at Carmel School, Jorhat. Later he went to BITS Pilani, KK Birla Goa Campus. He graduated as a Chemical Engineer in the year 2010 and worked as a trainee at Aditya Birla Chemicals in Thailand for six months. He did his post-graduate work in Chemical and Bio-engineering from ETH Zurich, Switzerland, and later (2012) worked as an intern at BASF AG, Basel. During his two-year stay in Switzerland, he conceptualized his debut novel, The Seventh Cup.

Apart from writing he loves photography and travelling to new countries to explore different cultures. Nitesh has visited several countries during the past few years such as Thailand, Switzerland, Italy, Germany, France, Austria,The Netherlands. He wishes to visit Turkey, Australia and the Nordic countries in the coming years. He believes in the saying by Paulo Coelho: When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it!!!

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The Seventh Cup
Nitesh Jain 

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Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Blog Tour: MR. IMPERFECT SERIES by Aditi Chopra

Mr. Imperfect Series 
Aditi Chopra

My Review

While the book has three novellas that are interconnected, they can still be read separately as standalone stories.

House of Love

Nikki is a strong person who has her own business. Her younger brother would rather learn the business through her than their father who is a male chauvinist, who refuses to acknowledge his daughter’s success. Nikki falls for Karan, who is a client. Will Nikki find happiness with him?

Arranged Marriage

The story is exactly what the title claims it to be. Ishan is from Dallas. Though he argues when his parents try to find a suitable bride for him when he goes to India, he falls for Sonali when he meets her. They get married and Sonali moves in with her husband. There’s a problem though. She loves to cook and is not career minded. But how will she spend time in the USA with all her friends and relatives so far away. It’s a coming of age story; Sonali’s journey of self-discovery.

Love Tango

Maya is the boldest of the three women. She falls for restaurateur Tahir Ali. But is he using her? This is the best story of the three. 

My Perception

I loved the cover of the book. The language is good though a stronger hand at proofing would have made it a better read.

All the stories have interesting premises and are typically Indian. The author has highlighted the lives of NRIs in the USA through her stories. I only wish the stories flowed by themselves instead of appearing as if the author is narrating it to the reader. That took away from the reading experience. 

Otherwise, the stories themselves, the settings and twists – all make for a lovely read. 

Disclaimer: I received a kindle copy of this book from the author via The Book Club in return for my honest review.

The Blurb

Three intriguing women, Three Imperfect men, Three fascinating stories!

House of Love
Real estate agent Nikki Desai has a rule of not dating her clients. When she hosts an open house on a cold Dallas afternoon, she didn't know what was in store for her. Much like Dallas' unexpected weather, Karan Malhotra, a business consultant, walks into her life and challenges every belief she holds close to her heart. Karan manages to cajole Nikki, but is she making a mistake in breaking her rule by dating Karan?

Arranged Marriage
Arranged marriage - where love happens after marriage or does it? Ishan, a NRI from Dallas, Texas visits his home country, India and gets entangled in his parents' plan to get him married. Sonali is a simple girl from a small town called Meerut and has no desire to leave India. However, she reluctantly agrees to marry Ishan. But when she settles with him in a foreign country, she is completely lost and homesick. Will Sonali find love in a conventionally arranged marriage?

Love Tango
Maya Sarin is sensuous and enterprising. She runs a dance school in the suburb of Dallas. Tahir Ali is an aspiring author who owns a Mediterranean restaurant in the area. When his regular dancer bails out on him, he rushes in Maya as a replacement. Maya is the inspiration that he had been longing for; she feeds his creative soul. Do they have any future together? Explore their passion and intrigue in Love Tango.

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Meet the Author

Aditi Chopra was born in India and now lives in Texas with her family. She writes NRI (Non Resident Indian) fiction and non-fiction books.

Aditi has an engineering background but she has found her creative bone in fiction writing. Her stories range from Contemporary Romance to Women's Fiction. You might see a glimpse of Bollywood in her stories and will definitely enjoy the emotional ride.

Aditi focuses on leadership skills in her non-fiction books. Her readers get practical take-aways that they can utilize in their career.

Aditi is also a member of Women's Fiction Writers Association.

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