Book Review of ‘The Hauntup’ by Deepti Srivatsan and an Interview with the Author

Dear Readers — Please welcome debutante author Deepti Srivatsan, the author of the psychological thriller “The Hauntup”. Before we go to my review of the book, here’s a brief tete-a-tete where she answers some of my questions.

What prompted you to write ‘The Hauntup’?

Since childhood I have always been weaving stories in my head. Even if I did pen them down, these were never shared with anyone else. A few years back, the concept of ‘food walks’ and ‘heritage walks’ was growing increasingly popular and I found myself wondering how it would be if someone organized a walk around the city’s haunted locations in the dead of the night. This sparked the idea of ‘The Hauntup’ and I decided that this time I shall write a story for everyone.

Did the plot change as you wrote the story or did you have a pre-defined outline?

When I started to write I had no idea where my story was headed. I didn’t even know who the killer was for a long time and I just let the story develop on its own. The sub-plots kept changing multiple times. In hindsight I wish I had been a little more organized.

Any suggestions for first-time authors?

Read extensively and attentively. And write a little everyday. Writing a novel is a slow and frustrating process and there are days you start to question your craft. Have faith in yourself.

Do share the names of some of your favourite books and authors.

Growing up, my favourite authors were Sidney Sheldon, Agatha Christie and Steve Martini. Ayn Rand’s ‘The Fountainhead’, Yuval Noah Harari’s ‘Sapiens’ and all books by Elif Shafak are among my all time favourites.

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I received a copy of the book from Deepti in exchange for an honest review. It took some time for the book to reach me because of the pandemic, thankfully, I finally received the courier containing the book. Published by NotionPress, the book has an interesting cover.
TheHauntup
I started reading the book and was hooked to it right from the beginning. The story starts with a young couple having an argument and in the next few pages the woman is dead, pushed to her death from her bungalow overlooking the sea. The story then moves forward by several years and we are introduced to a bunch of youngsters in their twenties who are all living in Chennai and working in diverse professions. They are all connected by a common message on Twitter and they are invited to a “Hauntup.” The story gathers pace as the characters are introduced and they undergo a surreal or eerie experience during the first “hauntup.” We do not know who is organizing the hauntup and all the individuals are shaken after their experience.
As the story unravels, we are introduced to more characters. There is a leading movie star and a director. An assistant director Mitra is part of the group of youngsters invited to the hauntup. There is a young architect who is working for a leading construction firm. We slowly meet these characters and realize that there is a common thread connecting them. A road accident that happened many years ago, a journalist who tried to dig further details who died, a young girl working in a shop who was killed. How are all these incidents tied to our group of thrill-seekers? You will have to read this book to find out the answers.
Deepti does a commendable job in her first book. It is not easy to write a psychological thriller and with multiple characters involved it could be easy to lose focus. Despite several characters in the story, she does full justice to the story, and serves a brilliant tale of crime, revenge, and redemption. I really enjoyed reading the book and lovers of crime/thrillers would surely love to read the book. Do give it a shot and support a new independent author.

A Useful Death by Sriram Chellapilla – Book Review

usefuldeath

Title of the Book – A Useful Death

Author – Sriram Chellapilla

Cover Design – Nandini Varma

Publisher – Westland

Pages – 410

MRP – INR 399

Review Copy – Courtesy – Writersmelon

Buy – Amazon

In India, especially in the south, cinema and politics are very closely linked to each other. MGR, NTR, Jayalalitha, Karunanidhi. All of these politicians started their career in cinema in various capacities, the first three became stars, the last man – one of the last doyens of Tamizh literature wove screenplays and stories that harped on Dravidian pride and the unique identity of the Tamizhan. “A Useful Death” is a pretty long book in excess of 400 pages, with long passages and conversations among various characters set in the aftermath of the death of an aspiring actress Priya and how it is linked to politics.

Was it suicide or murder? This is the premise of the tale as we are introduced to numerous characters. Mohan Krishna – a superstar of Telugu cinema who is now retired from cinema and entering politics. His son Anil who is suspect number one. Partha – the corporate consultant who is hired to manage the reputation of the MK family, and unravel the mystery behind Priya’s death. Malvika the graceful heroine who is now a part of the MK family, Priya’s parents, her college friends, competing TV channels, and their studio-heads. Partha’s colleagues who help him with the case… the list is quite exhaustive. Full credit to the author for making every character count.

The story gathers pace as a press meet is arranged to clear the air about Priya’s death, which backfires as Mohan Krishna loses his cool. The next day Malvika appears before the press and tries to offer a clear and polished answer to the press. These sequences are brought out well and one can actually see the author’s strengths and talents (No wonder – he is a creative writing / screenwriting lecturer in Hyderabad). There is a missing laptop and a mobile phone belonging to Priya that may hold answers.

As the story progresses, one sees different aspects of the members of Mohan Krishna’s family. We realize that everything is not as it seems and there are different people trying to manipulate the events surrounding Priya’s death to their own benefits. Is Anil really a killer and faking remorse? Are Mohan Krishna’s rivals in politics who fear his big entry into state politics behind the whole drama? Has Anil been framed? Is the laptop found? Or did Priya commit suicide in depression after being jilted in love? Who are the people trailing Partha as he goes about doing his investigations? How deep does this scandal run? You have to read the book patiently to find all your answers. At times, you may wonder where is this book headed to and why are there so many conversations and characters? Trust me – the book works and holds promise for a web-series. Did you read this book? If yes, do share your thoughts.

“The Heist Artist” by Vish Dhamija Book Review

I received a review copy of “The Heist Artist” by Vish Dhamija; courtesy – Writersmelon. This is the first time I am reading a book written by Vish Dhamija and he has been touted as India’s answer to John Grisham for some of his earlier books which were legal thrillers.

book-cover

In ‘The Heist Artist’ – the action starts fast and the book is a quick page-turner that leaves you asking for more. The story narrates the adventures of a con-artist, his attempts to retrieve a missing Van Gogh painting, a cop pursuing the con-artist, a political goon who hired the con-artist in the first place, and some other assorted colourful characters. Our hero or anti-hero; however you choose to describe the primary character goes by the name ‘Captain’. He is a skilled con-artist who abhors violence and after an attempt to smuggle weapons goes wrong; he shifts to Banaras and is disguised as a sadhu. We are also given a brief flashback of sorts that tells us why the Captain has to take up a life of crime and it is quite convincing, akin to a thousand other stories in a similar vein, wherein a person has to take up to a life of crime to make ends meet.

The Captain is called upon by Udham Singh a politician/goon from Uttar Pradesh. He hands a task to the Captain telling him that a Van Gogh painting “Poppy Flowers” is in India and he gives him a list of four potential people who may have the painting with them. The Captain’s task is to identify the owner, steal the painting, and bring it safely to Udham. With a rich reward on offer, the Captain believes it is a one-time opportunity to make a massive pay-out and retire. With a generous advance from Udham, the Captain judiciously gets ready to find the painting. He disguises himself as a Professor of Art from France called Albert Reuben and teaches art in a leading institute in Delhi.

Here’s a bit of history about the painting, courtesy the “Museum of Stolen Art”:

“Poppy Flowers (also known as Vase and Flowers and Vase with Viscaria) is a painting by Vincent van Gogh with an estimated value of $50 million The painting, which is of a vase of yellow and red poppies, contrasted against a dark background is a reflection of Van Gogh’s deep admiration for Adolphe Monticelli, an older painter whose work influenced him when first he saw it in Paris in 1886. Egyptian officials erroneously believed they had recovered the painting only hours after its theft when two Italian suspects attempted to board a plane to Italy at Cairo International Airport. The same painting had been stolen from the same museum on June 4, 1977, and was recovered ten years later in Kuwait. The painting is small, measuring 65 x 54 cm, and depicts yellow and red poppy flowers. It is believed that van Gogh painted it in 1887, three years before his suicide.”

Van_Gogh_-_Vase_mit_Pechnelken

In this chaos, there is an incorruptible policeman who is on the hunt of the Captain and aims to bring him to justice. He tries to figure out where the Captain vanished after the botched attempt in smuggling weapons. The Professor/Captain manages to figure out the identity of the person who now holds the painting and by a weird twist of fate gets to see it and vouch its genuineness. Now that he knows where the painting is stored; it is owned by a millionaire/businessman Bipin; he plans the theft. When Udham is informed about this he plans to get the painting from the Captain and kill him. He assigns Sonia a former escort who now works for a detective agency to track the Captain’s activities; he also sends his henchman Damodar to ensure that the painting is stolen and brought to him perfectly.

What happens next? Is the painting stolen by the Captain, Sonia, and Damodar? Is the Captain killed by Udham and Damodar? What is Sonia’s role in the entire chain of events? Does the cop track down the Captain before the theft happens? If you want to find answers to all these questions; then you must pick up “The Heist Artist” by Vish Dhamija. It has all the ingredients for a blockbuster movie. Go for it, you won’t be disappointed.

You can buy the book from Amazon – https://www.amazon.in/Heist-Artist-Vish-Dhamija/dp/9353026024

Happy reading!

These Savage Shores by Ram V.

Ram V. is a popular name in the Indian comic book scene. Regular comic-book readers would remember him from the early days when ‘Aghori’ won several awards. Then “Black Mumba” happened as a QuickStarter project and cemented his position as a storyteller of repute. He has gone on to create award-winning comics / graphic novels for several leading publishers.

these savage shores

I would like to plug in this interview published on Factordaily that will give readers an idea of the skills of the supremely talented Ram V.

https://factordaily.com/comics-fans-in-india-are-exceptional-a-qa-with-ram-v-writer-of-aghori-batman-paradiso-and-more/

Recently, there was a tweet from Ram offering review copies online for honest reviews and shamelessly I requested for a review copy, do remember I am not a book-reviewer of repute whose reviews are published in newspapers and comic-book review websites. I was pleasantly surprised when Ram with all his humbleness and magnanimity shared a review copy.

I received Issue Two of “These Savage Shores”. The cover is magical and the story starts in Calicut in 1766. The challenge for a reviewer is to not reveal too much and yet influence the potential reader to buy a copy of the book. The art-work is magical, the story-arc well developed. If you love reading about warriors and beasts with a tinge of the supernatural and fantasy, then I am sure you will love this series. This issue builds up expectations nicely and I am sure this is going to be another gem in Ram’s fast-growing collection of brilliant work.

The comic is published by Vault Comics and this issue is priced under $4.

This gets a full five stars and my wish remains that Black Mumba gets re-published by whichever firm that holds the rights to the tale.

‘Shunya’ by Sri M – A Book Review

Over the years, there have been very few books of fiction that have left a profound impact on me. The blog has been lying dormant for a fair while for the want of something concrete to write. Do I write about my recurring visits to the hospital with my mother vacillating between critical and extremely critical or about the failure of finding purpose in life! No one cares about reading dull verse masquerading as poetry of the soul. Political commentary and sports analysis has its own perils. So what does one do? Write about a good book. No further boring you my dear readers. Let’s head into the book right away.

‘Shunya’ is the first work of fiction by Sri M. Sri M is someone whom I was not aware of and when I signed up for the book review program from the good folks of Westland India, I did up a fair bit of reading on him and was quite intrigued.

Blurb of the book:

He appears out of nowhere in a sleepy little neighbourhood in suburban Kerala. He calls himself Shunya, the zero. Who is he? A lunatic? A dark magician? A fraud? Or an avadhuta, an enlightened soul?

Saami—as they call him—settles into a small cottage in the backyard of the local toddy shop. Here he spins parables, blesses, curses, drinks endless glasses of black tea and lives in total freedom. On rare occasions, he plays soul-stirring melodies on his old, bamboo-reed flute.

Then, just as mysteriously as he arrived, Shunya vanishes, setting the path for a new avadhuta, a new era.

This first novel by Sri M is a meditation on the void which collapses the wall between reality and make-believe, the limited and the infinite. With its spare storytelling and profound wisdom, it leads us into the realm of ‘shunya’, the nothingness of profound and lasting peace, the beginning and end of all things.

Set in a village near Trivandrum in Kerala. The book chronicles the tale of an enlightened soul Shunya who lands up in the village unannounced. We meet interesting characters like a toddy-shop owner who is scared out of his wits at their first meeting. The shop-owner offers him a place to stay and then numerous changes happen in the village. We are introduced to different characters in the village and how Shunya Swami’s arrival has a lasting impact on the lives of the villagers. We also have visitors like Kumar who becomes the Swami’s protege, Diana, Bob, the politician who is skeptical at the beginning, the Namboodiri, the young lovers from two different communities, the corrupt church-conversion tout. The list of characters goes on.

This book has a fair bit of philosophy woven into it and works quite well for those looking for an introduction to a ‘path’ or wisdom. The ending seems rushed and was the only weak point for me in the whole book.

I would recommend this book for lovers of fiction and spirituality. Go for the book, you won’t be disappointed.

Buy from Amazon

Happy reading and till we meet again – May you find what you seek 🙂

 

 

 

 

300 Days by Bragadeesh Prasanna – A Study into the Transformation of a Friend into a Published Author

Title – 300 Days

Author – Bragadeesh Prasanna

Type – Kindle Edition

Genre – Romance

Source of Book – Early draft copy provided by the novelist.

Price – Rs 166.

Link to buy

This is not a review. This is my attempt to document the transformation of a person, an artist who tries to create art, succeeds and tries his best to publish it, but is pushed down by publishers, who seek a pretty face first, and look at the manuscript later. I met Bragadeesh about three to four years back. I met him as a part of the Chennai Bloggers Club. I recollect very clearly, we met at Café Coffee Day, Ispahani Centre along with some more bloggers. The meeting was to decide how to take CBC forward as a body of bloggers.   Neither of us in our wildest dreams thought that we would be admins some day. Bragadeesh is currently ‘makkalin admin’; Sindhu and I are regular admins 🙂 I digress – let me return to the reason and purpose behind this post!

Over the years, I have seen Bragadeesh transform in front of my eyes. His writing is impressive, he takes a lot of pains to think out scenes in his head and then put pen to paper or fingers to his laptop keyboard. From “Polly”, “300 Days”, “Chilakkama” the title of the book went through various changes. He participated in the WRIMO novel project and typed at a furious pace to complete the first draft in a month. This is when he was in a KPO working night-shifts – mind you. A few of us – Vidhyalakshmi, Vidyasankar, Bhavia were privileged enough to read the first cut of the novel and each of us was spellbound.

How could someone with so much pain, so much anguish, still remain selfless and believe in love?

The manuscript went through rigorous editing by Ms Sridevi Datta.We would keep asking when is the book launch? For over a year, I would have irritated him with one question – “When are you setting Polly free?” – Refer Vidhyalakshmi’s post wherein she drew a beautiful parakeet with 300 etched with perfection.

<I have super-talented blogger friends>

There was tremendous turmoil in his personal life, from losing his job because of Obamacare, switching to another KPO and going up to set up India operations and becoming the head of Indian operations for a small firm focused on furniture and lampshades sold in the USA and Europe, he battled every storm with care.

The Accident:

It was a busy day at work and Srilakshmi – another wonderful lifestyle and food blogger cum published short story writer phoned me – “Mahesh, Brags met with an accident!” I was dreading the day when this would happen, I had told him 100 times to wear a helmet and thankfully government rule forced him to begin wearing the helmet. I called up Suresh, Bragadeesh’s elder brother, he apprised me of the situation and said that they were in the Rajeev Gandhi Hospital, opposite Central Station. Till I met him that evening, I was worried like a mad man. He was injured badly, his face swollen, nose fractured, hand fractured, he was in terrible pain, but he still smiled. I always carry Anjaneyar Kovil kumkumam with me, I gave it to Appa and told him to apply it. I said – “He will be fine”. His mother was equally worried, that evening will remain stuck in my mind forever, we are reduced to mere puppets, the Lord pulls strings, we are just characters. He recovered slowly, the worrying factor was his ‘memory-blanks’. A lot of things from the past are clouded in mystery forever!

Rebuilding the Tale:

A long painful recovery later, he worked with renewed focus on vigour on the tale. There would be chats about rejections from publishers. I kept telling him, we can publish, let us approach a printer in Triplicane and publish. Balamani Sir a senior blogger had published his first novel similarly and he had managed to sell a fair number of copies. He was insistent – “No, I want a good publisher, who believes in me!”

Reality and the Launch:

The reality, that publishers cater to a demography that wants Durjoy Datta and Chetan Bhagat clones and not exactly a revisionist romance; finally dawned on Bragadeesh. He launched the book on Amazon as a Kindle book on Prason’s daughter – Anya’s birthday. Prason and Bragadeesh are like Deva and Surya from “Dhalapathi”. They are inseparable and Prason features in the novel as well.

The Story:

The book follows the premise of the ‘seven stages of love’. Jai and Sravani are the lead characters. Is their love story one that transcends all barriers? What is the intriguing meaning of 300 Days? Why can’t an adult man and woman just remain friends? Does family come before love? Can one love someone and marry someone else? How far will you go in sacrificing yourself for the one whom you love?

These are some questions to which you may find some answers when you read the book!

Plot and Pacing:

A good book is one in which you are drawn into the characters. Even if I had not known the author personally, I would have still loved this book. The pacing varies, the editing could have been tighter, we would wish for a different climax, but then some tales are meant to be like this. But there is hope at the end! A new beginning perhaps!

The Cover:

It is fascinating in its minimalist design – a sure-fire winner – special appreciation for the cover designer!

The Road Ahead:

As I sit and type this seemingly long post, I have the author’s next manuscript in the adjacent window :)! It is a beautiful tale of love, hope, redemption, loss, pain and success and jealousy in the fascinating world of music. A sure-fire winner, which I hope will be published by a leading publishing house soon!

A Note to you Bragadeesh:

I have said this once, I will say it a hundred times. I don’t have many friends in real life, you are one among the few people, with whom I share my secrets, you are a part of my wolf-pack. I will do everything in my power to remain your friend.

As you grow in stature as an author and mentor other authors as part of the Chennai Writers Circle, I shall only be happy and proud of your success.

I am proud to be a brother to this emotional guy who cares so much, loves unconditionally, but can be angry for the most trivial of things. You believed in life and love and have moved on with so much pain! Why fight over silly issues?

One for all, all for one!

Good luck to you as always!

“Songs of the Mist” by Shashi

These are trying times wherein everyone is being questioned about roles, designations, rules and ‘conflict of interest’.  I had the chance to beta-read end edit a manuscript by fellow CBC-member and India’s leading spiritual blogger – Shashi – “Songs of the Mist”.

I was captivated by the manuscript. No two thoughts about it – it was good. The challenge was to structure and rephrase words in a way that would appeal to the younger generation for whom the book is primarily written. I am happy to say that to a fair extent amidst various contributors, we have done an extremely good job!

The contributors include Nandhitha Hariharan and Rajesh Venugopalan.

The book is a love story cum spiritual journey. Ashutosh, Ayan, Calliope, Anishka, and the elusive monk are the key characters.The tale goes back and forth and in time and the description of the Himalayas transports you to the snow-capped peaks. I do not wish to reveal a lot about the plot

The book incorporates the essence of the Song Divine – the Bhagvat Gita and is the first in the “Monk Key” series. It is one man’s search for his true identity and his quest to sort out for once and for all the purpose of his creation in the bigger scheme of things! All the people whom he meets in this journey, their conversations and their intertwined lives get featured in the book.

You can buy the book here –

I also attended a reading of the book last Friday at the Leela Palace in Chennai it was graced by Timeri Murari renowned novelist and playwright. There was a Carnatic Music performance and display of paintings as well. It was a wonderful event.

Lovely pics from the event can be seen here- shot by the legendary fine arts enthusiast Jothivel Moorthi – http://www.jovemac.in/songs-of-the-mist-book-reading/

 

 

Private India – Blogadda Book Reviews Program

Title: Private India
Author(s): James Patterson, Ashwin Sanghi
Language: English
Genre: Fiction/Thriller/Crime
Publisher: Arrow/Random House India, Year Published: 2014 July
Pages: 480
ISBN-13: 9780099586395 , ISBN-10: 0099586398

I first heard that Ashwin Sanghi was working with James Patterson on a novel set in India, at the beginning of this year, at ‘The Hindu Lit for Life Literature Festival’ in Chennai. The announcement had me excited because JP is a master-writer spinning plot upon plot and is I believe among the rare few people who does not suffer from Writer’s Block. The prolific output of work is testimony to the statement above 🙂

JP surprisingly was a recent entrant in my reading list; read one of his books about three years back and then a friend gave me a full bunch of his ebooks with about 15 or 17 of his works and it was an absolute blast reading his books.

Ashwin Sanghi has won the title of India’s Dan Brown and his books have found success with the steady mix of history, mythology, science and politics. I enjoyed ‘Chanakya’s Chant’ and look forward to reading more of his solo-efforts.

Now let me tell you a bit about my reading tastes – I am a bit crazy about serial killers and murder mysteries. There was a time when I hoped I would go on to do an MPhil and a PhD and my thesis would be ‘Serial Killers in Fiction and Reality’. Well fate had other plans and all I do is read books and write reviews when time permits. Jo Nesbo has been the single biggest novelist who has managed to charm his way into the hearts of readers with his Harry Hole series and his translator deserves equal merit.

Now moving back to ‘Private India’:

In Mumbai, women are being strangled and killed with a yellow scarf. Strange motifs and symbols are being placed next to their corpses. Private India, a team of super exclusive private investigators is brought into action and headed by Santosh Wagh, ex RAW, the team of Nisha Gandhe (ex Mumbai CID), Hari Padhi (tech wizard) and Mubeen (forensic expert) take it upon themselves to try and find the killer before he strikes again.

Step-by-step the case unravels, the book is paced fast and lots of secrets tumble out. I do not want to add too many details as this would make reading the book boring. The book is a great read for those unfamiliar with the works of JP. To seasoned readers of books by JP and other crime-thriller masters; this book is a bit of a letdown.

It is evident that the descriptions of Mumbai references to the various forms of the Goddess and the Navrathri are by Ashwin Sanghi – but somewhere deep down I felt this book was going like a bit of a tour guide for international readers. Somewhere there seems to be a disconnect, I am just not able to put it clearly, perhaps I am wrong and it is my personal viewpoint. May be if I had not read any of JP’s books before I would have waxed eloquent and offered five stars. Read some of JP’s earlier books and you will feel the difference.

Mahesh’s Rating: Three stars out of five for this thriller.

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

JUICE by Mohit Jain – Book Review

This is the second book that I have received from ace-teacher, inspirational speaker and author – Mohit Jain. The previous book that I had reviewed was Four Corners of the Circle. You can read the review here.

J.U.I.C.E. stands for – ‘Join us in creating education’

The book has an intriguing cover in blue – with the outline of a cocktail glass designed with various words.

juice

The book focuses on explaining tough and complicated principles in management and economics through simple tales that can be easily understood and retained in memory.

One of the other aspects that I liked in this book are numerous illustrations and cartoons with some text in them. These ensure that readers are not bored and the interest in the book is maintained throughout.

The writer takes various incidents from his own life – his stint in Direct Marketing, his evolution as a teacher and motivational speaker and uses these incidents to cover a number of topics that are part of the curriculum in all management programmes.

I would love to write more about this book – but then it would rob potential readers the joy of reading the concepts that have been explained in easy to understand ‘no-nonsense’ style.

My only sore-point with the book is some spelling errors that have crept in – then again the message and the value of this book to management and economics students is much higher than the minor irritant of a few spelling mistakes.

I would whole heartedly recommend this book to students; please buy this book. I wish I had read this book, when I was younger 🙂

Buy from Flipkart.

Priced at just Rs 199 – equivalent to a movie-ticket and parking at a multiplex – please invest money in this book – you will not be disappointed.

Fall Like a Rose Petal – Book Review

Title of the Book – Fall Like a Rose Petal : A Father’s Lessons on How to be Happy and Content While Living without Money
Author – AVIS Viswanathan
ISBN – 9789384030445
Genre – Self-Help/Motivation
Publisher – Westland
Pages – 322

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Description on the Amazon India website:<a
In early 2008, the author AVIS Viswanathan and Vaani his soul-mate, friend, wife and business partner were staring at a bankruptcy of their Firm. A series of business decisions had literally brought them to the brink of penury. This book is their story. It captures learnings from this excruciatingly painful, Life-changing, phase that they are still going through. It also explores the nature and continuum of Life. There is no beginning to the story. There is no end either. There are simply experiences. Of hopelessness. Of fear. Of insolvency. Of pennilessness. And also of faith, patience, love, companionship, abundance and soul. Of integrity and of leading a principled Life, despite temptations to take the easy way out of painful or messy situations. This book has been written to share how AVIS and his family have learned to be happy despite their circumstances. You too can benefit from their learning, and experience, and discover the right way of thinking, living, working and winning in Life for yourself!

About Avis:
AVIS Viswanathan (47) is a happiness curator, Life Coach, inspired speaker, author and organizational transformation consultant who leads change management, culture and leadership development mandates in the corporate sector globally.

I had the good fortune of attending the launch of this gem of a book and I finished reading the book the next day. On an average I finish reading at least two or three pieces of fiction (novels) a week. Non-fiction and self-help are genres that I read rarely. Books on spirituality and self-enquiry are a completely different box of chocolates and I do indulge myself in these treats once in a while.

This particular book – ‘Fall Like a Rose Petal’ – chronicles the incredible journey of a family; a husband, wife and their son and daughter. From being one of the top-notch entrepreneurs in a niche business area and finding success in every stream, to staring at abject penury and bankruptcy and being chased by 179 creditors. The book is an incredible true-life tale of survival, courage, faith and self-respect.

All good things come in small packages, the book has a minimalist yet powerful cover image of a single rose petal and the title of the book in black lettering on a white background. The book will definitely stand out in any store.

Sounds interesting right???? I am transferring you to my website now which has the full in-depth review. Do read the full review and please do buy the book!

THE ARCHERS REVENGE by Rajesh Kollu @ Destination Infinity

I first met Rajesh at an Indiblogger Meet @ ITC Grand Chola; calm, quiet, and clicking away to glory with his camera! Little did I know that this calm person was the famous Destination Infinity of the online world!

Rajesh has done his fair share of work and is now a full-time blogger and author and also does a bit of consulting work on renewable energy sources. He is an avid traveller and two of his books on the Top Places to visit in India have been pretty successful. Rajesh blogs on all things under the sun – from movies and music to ice creams and organic food. He has a simple, non-complex style that is not very easy to emulate by people like me who have an obsessive manic disorder of typing long sentences!

Rajesh released his latest book, a novel – ‘The Archers Revenge’ on Kindle! I got the file and converted it to e-pub and read it using a Firefox browser plug-in! Here goes my review of the book.

The cover designed by Agnisha Ghosh is smashing!

The Story in a Nutshell – A revenge saga, starting with an assassination attempt on a central minister! The would-be assassin discovers startling truths!

I am not going to put in too many spoilers; the book is a quick read; Rajesh covers many of his pet peeves and ideas – renewable energy, archery, bike rides, solitary living, a higher education degree in the UK, Tirupati, etc.

The novel starts with a bang to hold your attention as an elaborate assassination attempt plays out. The bid fails! The novel goes on to describe subsequent attempts and shows us why the killer Aryan wants to terminate the minister Guru. There is a massive twist at the end, which seems very artificial at the end; but the novel is a good attempt!

Final Word – Paced like a script of a Telugu pot-boiler I would love to see this novel get a filmi treatment with a bunch of new young stars as the protagonists. In Hindi, we could have Arjun Kapoor and Shraddha or Alia Bhatt in the lead roles. Plus for the politician – only one character actor – Nana Patekar!

Good job Rajesh!!!!

Get the book!