Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Book Review: THE INDUS CHALLENGE by R. Durgadoss


My Review:

The first thing that attracted my attention towards the book is the gorgeous cover. It made me want to read the blurb and I was hooked.

The story is a weave of history, mythology and fiction and has obviously been extremely well-researched. It brings forth the history from both Indian as well as Greek point of view during Alexander’s invasion.

I have read quite a few books where Chanakya plays a pivotal role. The Indus Challenge brings forth yet another angle to the kingmaker.

Rudra is a fascinating character and I am already curious to know about the story of his next janam (birth).

When I read the book, I couldn’t help but be impressed by the command that the author wields over the English language.

I don’t want to say more about the story to avoid spoilers.


VERDICT: A must read if you are a fan of this genre.



The Blurb:

Bharat is in chaos. While the kingdoms fight each other, Alexander’s forces gather for the assault, their leader lured by tales of supernatural weapons and the elixir of immortality. Only one man can save the subcontinent from domination by the Greeks: the young Chandragupta Maurya, trained under the aegis of the ‘dark brahmin’, Chanakya.

When an ancient seal is found, sharing the secrets of the brahmastra, the redoubtable weapon of the Mahabharat, it is up to Rudra, young commander of the Mauryan Nava Yuva Sena and lifelong friend and confidante of Chandragupta, to decode it. Along with his fellow commandos, and with the able guidance of his guru, Rudra embarks on a quest that takes him from the snowy peaks of the Himalayas to the seas of Rameshwaram, hunting the clues that will lead him to the brahmastra. On the way, he meets the Chiranjivis, ancient beings tasked with divine duties, and learns the secrets behind his own birth and his mysterious powers.

But Rudra must be careful, for not all enemies were dispersed with the death of the mighty Alexander. Treachery lurks in the home, and when Rudra is framed for the attempted murder of his sovereign, he must pull every trick at his disposal to reveal the enemy, and save his kingdom from plunging, once more, into bloodshed and chaos.

A historical, mythological adventure story, The Indus Challenge is sure to appeal to readers interested in the storied past of India and the legends woven into its soil.


Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Blog Tour: THE INDUS CHALLENGE by R. Durgadoss



THE INDUS CHALLENGE
by
R. Durgadoss




Blurb

Bharat is in chaos. While the kingdoms fight each other, Alexander’s forces gather for the assault, their leader lured by tales of supernatural weapons and the elixir of immortality. Only one man can save the subcontinent from domination by the Greeks: the young Chandragupta Maurya, trained under the aegis of the ‘dark brahmin’, Chanakya.

When an ancient seal is found, sharing the secrets of the brahmastra, the redoubtable weapon of the Mahabharat, it is up to Rudra, young commander of the Mauryan Nava Yuva Sena and lifelong friend and confidante of Chandragupta, to decode it. Along with his fellow commandos, and with the able guidance of his guru, Rudra embarks on a quest that takes him from the snowy peaks of the Himalayas to the seas of Rameshwaram, hunting the clues that will lead him to the brahmastra. On the way, he meets the Chiranjivis, ancient beings tasked with divine duties, and learns the secrets behind his own birth and his mysterious powers.

But Rudra must be careful, for not all enemies were dispersed with the death of the mighty Alexander. Treachery lurks in the home, and when Rudra is framed for the attempted murder of his sovereign, he must pull every trick at his disposal to reveal the enemy, and save his kingdom from plunging, once more, into bloodshed and chaos.

A historical, mythological adventure story, The Indus Challenge is sure to appeal to readers interested in the storied past of India and the legends woven into its soil.



Read an excerpt of The Indus Challenge here:

Prologue
330 bc
The Macedonians and Greeks came with Alexander the Great to the Hindu Kush range. They were mesmerized by the land of the gods, snow-covered, forested mountains higher than Olympus. The sun rising and setting among the glistening peaks painted a breathtaking picture. They were entranced by the stories of the magical kingdoms of the air; of the heavens; of Vishnu and Shiva; of cities in the sky inhabited by sky demons. They were fascinated by the story of Surya, the sun god, who galloped across the sky each day in his golden chariot, pulled by the five horses, while down below in the dark bowels of the earth were giant serpents, red-eyed, flesh-eating demons and other creatures of the underworld.
It was at this time that the people of Bharat were looking inwards, while the Macedonians aggressively explored outwards and wanted to conquer the world. The kingdoms of Bharat were threatened by the aggressive Macedonians. No king or kingdom was free from the aggressor’s attack. Fragmented kingdoms, disunity and distrust among the rulers made these kingdoms an easy target for the Macedonians.
During this period, several events are shrouded in mystery—what brought Alexander to India? How did he die at such a young age? What were the origins of Chandragupta Maurya? How did a young lad of humble origins take on a mighty king? How did a poor Brahmin pundit help a poor young man rise to power from nowhere? What extraordinary powers did Chandragupta possess that made him so successful? Who were his key generals? Who won wars for him? The questions are endless.
There are several seemingly unconnected dots, as the history of this time is shrouded in deep mystery. Rudra effortlessly unlocks the ancient secrets and aligns the unconnected dots. Mystery unravelled; secrets decoded…
In the second avatar (Janam Two) as Rudra during the tumultuous times of Alexander and Chanakya, he offers stunning clues and revelations. His decrypting skills leave a trail that answers several mysteries in our rich history.
At last, Rudra, heading the Nine Unknown Men Army (NUM), has arrived to decode the secrets to save humanity from cataclysm and extinction.
1
Parthiva year, 306 bc, Kartika (November) month, Friday evening.
The Massaga fort in the Hindu Kush had surrendered to Rudra, the commander-in-chief of the Mauryan army. He was taking stock of the situation. At this hour, a cry hit his ears. ‘Meri raksha karo! (Please save me from the barbarians!’) A woman’s shrieking voice reverberated against the mountains.
‘Why does this lady cry so?’ asked Rudra, looking curiously at his companion. He turned in the direction from where the voice was coming. To his surprise, he saw two cages in which two persons stood, chained. There was a young woman around twenty-two years old, and in the other cage was a bright young lad.
Rudra looked at the cage closely. The woman was gorgeous, seductive, shapely. Her hair was kohl-black, and cascaded over her shoulders. She had thin eyebrows, velvety eyelashes, sea-nymph ears, a sharp nose, shiny white teeth, almond-shaped eyes and glossy skin.
She was wasp-waisted, and her pouting, luscious lips conveyed her displeasure. Her hips and bust were almost of equal size. Her perfect shape reminded him of many icons of beauty he had seen. Her fleshy rounded back attracted his attention.
Rudra realized that he was going overboard ogling at the young women. But in spite of her beautiful features, she seemed to be a fading flower, possibly due to her weakness and exhaustion.
He turned his head towards the surrendered commander of the opposing army, Dharma Sena.
‘Dharma Sena, who are these caged persons?’ asked Rudra.
‘Forget these idiots, Commander. Let me take you round the fort.’ Dharma Sena said, ‘This is Massaga, the great fort city of the Asvakas, the tribe of horsemen. To the south and west are gigantic rocks which defy climbing. To the east is the swift-flowing mountain torrent, the Masakavati river. This famous fort is situated on a hill 6,000 feet high and has a circumference of twelve miles. At the top of the fort, there is arable land requiring a thousand men to cultivate it. This land is capable of feeding more than 30,000 men indefinitely. There are also perennial springs and reservoirs. Every hill here is a natural fort, Commander. Every man here is a horse soldier, Commander. A mighty rampart of stone, brick and timber surrounds the fort, which also has a moat on three sides and the river on the fourth.
‘Commander, “Masika” means “serpent’s hole”, a name indicating the supposed impregnability of the fort and the valour of its defender.’
‘I realize how impregnable your fort is, Dharma Sena. I had to use my best skills to tame you and your fort. By the way, I am impressed by the seven gates leading to the citadel. Can you give me an overview of your fort, Dharma Sena?’
‘You have sharp eyes, Commander. You noticed our seven gates? I am impressed. Let me show you around.’



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About the author


A consistent Top Rank holder and a Gold Medallist throughout his academics, Mr. Durgadoss has had a career spanning 30 years comprising of depth from industry and width from management consultancy as highlights. He has held various senior management positions in top notch companies. Having travelled extensively on consulting assignments, he has interacted with prominent International Bodies like the UNIDO, Investment Bankers and companies held by Professors of Harvard Business School. He has a rare exposure to multiple cultures namely, MNCs, Home grown large groups, family concerns and public sector undertakings during his career. He is blessed with 360 degree analytical skills, which in turn emanates from his all round experience as a Functional head, General manager, Entrepreneur and a Board director. He is an advisor on the board of Directors of several companies benefiting the organizations with his remarkable cross functional skills and his up to date knowledge. Currently he is the Group Director – Finance and Strategy, House of S.T.Bhatia, United Arab Emirates (UAE). In addition he is the chief mentor, coach and Co – Promoter of Icon Management Services (IMS), UAE. Unceasing ‘Value Addition’ and not just ‘Validation’ is the mantra of success for IMS, a multi – disciplinary management consultancy organisation. He has multi-sectoral / cultural/ territorial/ functional exposure with proven track record of success. He is a PhD on Corporate Governance which involves CSR dimensions. He has delivered several lectures in various forums on Character, Competence and Consciousness (3Cs) towards the society and also has several articles to his credit.

Track travelled...

Raising the altitude from a functional entrant to a functional champion, extending his width as a management consultant of a Big 4 firm, he took up the profit centre head position, with a challenging revival assignment in the mid nineties.

Then he moved up to the entrepreneurial mode by taking up the role of a Managing Director of a new venture. Due to several macro economic factors, the venture went into deep trouble. He faced the worst disaster of his life on this venture, losing money, peace and friends, who invested along with him. From the brink of bankruptcy, he fought back to reach the basin of wisdom & wealth in the current assignment as the Director of a large group based in Dubai. The turbulence he went through during this phase tested his character & confidence. Now, along with Dr. Yerram Raju, his co-author, he has penned down this book on Character driven Competence, which elucidates practical ways of ‘Winning without Sinning’. He always says ‘Momentum leaders don’t wait for the waves; instead they build their waves and ride on them’.

After having fought the greatest wars in the deep chambers of his soul, he came triumphant, obtained his PHD in Corporate Governance and now presents the book with the worldly wisdom, gained by him during his career. 

‘Experience is the greatest from of Education’ says Dr. Durgadoss.


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Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Hot New Release: ROSE GARDEN INTERNATIONAL

I am proud to present my 16th book, ROSE GARDEN INTERNATIONAL (The Bansal Legacy Book #2). It's available as an ebook exclusively on Amazon and is also #FREE on #KindleUnlimited.


Read an excerpt:

Rhea melted in Jamie’s arms, hanging on to his shoulders for support. But for his arms that had curved around her slim waist, she would have sunk to the floor, her legs having gone weak and rubbery. She opened her lips to let his tongue in and felt her heart hammer against her chest as he explored her mouth thoroughly, making sounds of appreciation in his throat that aroused her to fever pitch. 

It was a while before they came up for air and Rhea buried her face on his chest. So that’s how a kiss felt! It was explosive, mind blowing! She took deep breaths to calm her heart but it simply refused to listen. 

But Rhea being Rhea, she was keen to check out Jamie’s mouth, the same way he had explored hers. Raising her head from his chest, she locked her arms around his neck, pulling his head down. She ran a damp tongue over the seam of his lips, seeking entry. 

Becoming aware of what she was doing, Jamie smiled against her mouth, before drawing her tongue within. He held her close, his body growing harder still as she swept her tongue inside the cavern of his mouth, a tad hesitant at first. 

Rhea grew bolder as she relished the sensations that played havoc with her nervous system. He tasted so good and all male. Drunk on it, she tangled her tongue with his, wanting more. 

What is the story about?

Interior Designer Jamie Scott from Australia feels a strange connection to Ooty, a hill station in South India—what one would say, ‘a call of the soul’. Then there are those diaries that his grandmother had left behind. Jamie decides to go on a holiday to Ooty.

Rhea Bansal runs 5-star hotel Rose Garden International on oiled wheels, as its managing director. She finds herself at a loose end—as if there’s no challenge left in her life.

And soon, the challenge walks into her life...

Will Rhea, with her broken relationships, be able to forge a new and lasting one, that too one that’s interracial? Will she let anyone get close enough to reach her heart? 

More complications set in though, in the form of a policeman and a politician. 

Read the story to see if the high-powered businesswoman from North India who has settled in the South and the laidback artist from Alice Springs in Australia can have a life together.

*Rose Garden International is the second book in the trilogy "The Bansal Legacy".

Rose Garden International is already #1 on #HotNewReleases in Amazon USA with a few hours of its release:


You want to grab a copy? Click here: myBook.to/RGI 

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Sunday, April 23, 2017

Sharing: Sneak Peek Sunday Snippet from THE MALHOTRA BRIDE

I am sharing an excerpt from my 1st novel, THE MALHOTRA BRIDE as part of Sneak Peek Sunday Snippet, as suggested by Romance Author Devika Fernando.

Here you go:


Akshay did not have long to wait. A group of students came out of the building. You couldn’t have missed Sunita. She appeared the brightest among the dozen or so students who stepped out.
   He caught his breath as he blinked a couple of times to clear his vision. The formal studio portrait had done her no justice. This lovely vision that was walking towards him almost knocked Akshay off his feet. She was too busy chatting and laughing with her friends to notice him. Luxuriant dark brown hair hung to her waist. Her eyes were large and expressive, framed by long lashes. He could not miss the luscious lips as she pouted at someone’s comment. It was not just the boys who were listening raptly to her words.
   Akshay’s observant eyes noticed her taut breasts covered by a plain yellow t-shirt. He moved his eyes away with great difficulty to check out the rest of her hourglass figure that was fitted into dark blue designer jeans. The idea of marrying this vision did not seem so farfetched now.
   He shook himself. Looks were not everything. He could line up a bevy of beauties at the flick of his fingers. But they were quite empty and shallow under their lovely hairstyles.
   He was definitely hooked by Sunita’s allure. He would meet her in the evening, despite a big family hanging around.
   The students passed him by the gate. Sunita didn’t even turn in his direction. A mite disappointed, Akshay shrugged his wide shoulders. Time enough for that in the evening!
   While Sunita pretended to be busy talking to her friends, she couldn’t help but notice the handsome hunk hanging out at the gate. She checked him out from the corner of her lovely eyes.
   But he was too attractive! She had met her share of good-looking men. This one was a class apart.
   He was obviously a couple of inches over six feet and broad-shouldered with a tapering waist. God seemed to have been in an extremely benevolent mood when he created this particular specimen. A very broad and intelligent forehead, dark wings for eyebrows, dark eyes, a long, sharp and prominent nose, chiselled lips, the lower one slightly thicker than the one above and a square jaw. Sunita noticed all this in a flash.
   And here she was stuck with Akshay Malhotra. She sighed in frustration. Her chin jutted out stubbornly. She had her plan and was quite confident that she would send Malhotra packing.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Blog Tour: KEY TO MY SOUL by Probal Mazumdar


Check out the Schedule Here

KEY TO MY SOUL
by
Probal Mazumdar



Blurb

"When Siddharth, a lonely young man with a failed marriage gets a sudden phone-call from a mysterious person about his lost childhood lover, Hazel, and learns that she is battling for life, he is shaken to the core. He also learns that she had left certain letters for him fifteen years back that never reached him. It disturbs him so much that he rushes to the hospital in his old hometown. There he discovers an eclipsed past buried in time that is riddled with dangerous surprises, trauma, twists of fate, sacrifices that exemplify true love and the real reasons for the tragic end of their childhood love story. But will Hazel ever open her eyes to see him..."

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About the author


Probal Mazumdar works in an IT company. He is an NIT engineer by societal pressure, singer by accident, guitarist by love at first sound, poet by soul, writer by passion, a world class badminton player in childhood dreams, rebel by day, recluse by night, a samosa in a family of laddoos, a Jughead at the dining table, a shameless and congenital dreamer. 

Oh! An arsonist too – when his wife is not around, sets his own house on fire with his little son. 

He won the FIRST prize in the All India Poetry Competition, 2014, conducted by PSI (Poetry Society of India). Click on www.indianpoetry.org/awardsgeneral14.htm

His other poems have risen too from cold storage into literary journals like Indian Literature (Sahitya Akademi), Wasafiri (U.K. Vol. 67), Acumen (U.K.), OtherPoetry (U.K.), Chandrabhaga Literary Journal (Editor Jayanta Mahapatra), Dhauli Review, amongst others.

He writes short stories too. This is his first foray into writing a novel.

The Title of the Book is “Key To My Soul.”

The entire plot and story of the novel hinges on these words of the Title. Once the protagonist, Sidd, finds out the Key, he enters the Soul of his long lost beloved. The words, “Key to my Soul” is also a phrase used by his beloved in a letter to him which is the axis the story revolves around.

Click on the links below to check out the media mentions about this author:


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Sunday, April 9, 2017

Author Interview: RUBINA RAMESH, author of KNITTED TALES & FINDING THE ANGEL

Rubina Ramesh
Today I bring you Rubina Ramesh, proud and popular indie author of two books, one an eclectic collection of short stories while the other is a beautiful and touching romance novel, as diverse as they come. I have known Rubina since 2013 and I am also proud of the fact that she inaugurated her THE BOOK CLUB with the blog tour of my first published novella. There's more to Rubina than a writer. She's an ace reviewer and marketeer, though my first association with the lady was when I came across her short stories during a contest and was totally impressed. I am mighty chuffed about the fact that I had a hand in pushing Rubina to publishing her work. Yeah, writing she has been doing for many years, while publishing is a different ballgame altogether. And I am truly thrilled that my friend has chosen the indie path - a mite difficult maybe, but totally self satisfying, I must say. I am sure she agrees with me.

So, here you go...

Sundari Venkatraman: Rubina Ramesh, the marketer VS Rubina Ramesh, the author - how tough is it to wear two entirely different hats? Do you find it easy or difficult to promote your own work?

Rubina Ramesh: Hi Sundari, Thanks for these lovely questions. You really know how to ask the tough ones

Sundari Venkatraman: Glad to hear that

Rubina Ramesh: I am an author by choice and a marketer by chance. You know we started this journey together. During those days, some 4 years back, the idea of gathering reviews was not so much in vogue in the Indian scenario. Though we had some terrific reviewers gathering the book lovers together, the word “cross-promotions” was looked down upon.

It might be I was living in the USA and I can stay up late, which made it possible for me to reach out the readers in their prime time. Now prime time in every zone varies. And this became my field to play with. I fell in love with cross promotions and I met some authors who trusted me enough with their books. They did not even ask me as to why I needed the free copies. I have been blessed that way.

Sundari Venkatraman:  Oh yes! I remember only too well how we started off together. It's been a wonderful and self-satisfying journey indeed. Cheers! Now for my next question: You had an opportunity to go trad publish. Why did you change your mind? Are you happy with your decision?

Rubina Ramesh: Not once but four times. My first two books were trad published and I had the blessing of the Man above to be published on the same pages as Gulzar Sir. Thanks to Fablery Publications for arranging that. But then, one of the big publishers along with a few upcoming ones accepted my book Finding the Angel and my upcoming Maya. (Yes, I had written Maya many years ago) But the changes they asked me to make, I just could not.

The world is changing nowadays Sundari. I am trying to be true to my art. My story. My effort and my mistakes. I leave it to the readers to decide whether they like me or not. It cannot be the likes and dislikes of one human being. Period. So like I live my life, I relive my stories. On my own terms.

Sundari Venkatraman: I know exactly what you mean. I found this quote under Mind Chow in today's Mumbai Mirror, "If you're creating anything at all, it's really dangerous to care what people think" and was thinking how apt it is for us indie authors and your reply just confirms that thought. So when are we going to read your next book? What genre is this one going to be?

Rubina Ramesh: Maya. I just cannot let go of it yet. It’s a drama or a psychological thriller, as you want to call it. I like experimenting with genres. I am writing a fantasy also. One day maybe an erotica. I won’t suggest this to new authors at all. Very risky since the chance of losing your audience is more. But the readers are more intelligent now and they like exploring things too. They like coming out of their comfort zone. I have had serious readers coming up and saying they like Finding the Angel and romance readers falling in love with Knitted Tales. I have had a few who rejected the other one based on their likes of my one book. Fair enough. I am not out to please all but to satiate those 3 hours that a reader spends on a book. Only those three hours where they forget their likes and dislikes. I dream of stories and write them. And my dreams are varied.

Knitted Tales in Paperback
Sundari Venkatraman: I have been hearing a lot about your Maya. I am waiting eagerly to get my hands on it. My fingers crossed that you are able to complete it soon. Okay, now for the next one and maybe this question should have been the first one. Knitted Tales is a short story collection of mixed genre. Finding The Angel is a gentle romance. They can't get more diverse and I must say both are extremely well penned. How do you manage that?

Rubina Ramesh: Where is it written that a writer has to be curbed within the boundaries of a genre? I read everything I can lay my hands on. Every genre. Every kind of author. To me, it does not matter, if he or she is an indie author provided the story is well edited. So if I can read any genre, I think I want to write in a few diverse genres as well

Sundari Venkatraman: You have a very valid point there. And I know from my experience with Knitted Tales that you can write in diverse genres. Keep writing is all I can say. Do we get to see your books in paperback anytime soon?

Rubina Ramesh: Oh yes! My Knitted Tales has come out as Paperback now and soon all others will follow. Amazon has been great to authors like us. Eccentric and those who don’t follow the rules. You will know that feeling, right Sundari?

Sundari Venkatraman: I can's but agree with your point about Amazon. With this we come to the end of an awesome interview. Looking forward to reading more and more of your work, Rubina Ramesh. I wish you the very best in your journey as a writer, an entrepreneur and reviewer. Kudos!

Click here to buy the author's books: Author.to/Rubina


Monday, April 3, 2017

Blog Tour: FINDING THE ANGEL by Rubina Ramesh

tour with Pinterest

FINDING THE ANGEL
by
Rubina Ramesh



Blurb

All She wanted was love...

Shefali is a die-hard romantic. Having lost her parents at a very tender age, she is in search of a place which she can call home. Her passion for Art lands her a job as an art curator to the famous artifacts of the Ranaut Dynasty. When she meets the scion, Aryan Ranaut, she feels that her dream might come true until…

All He wanted was to trust…

Living the life of a modern day Prince is no easy task for the young and dashing Aryan Ranaut. Having lost his father to a rapacious woman, Aryan has severe trust issues. But upon meeting Shefali, he feels he could let down his guard. Until…

All They need is to find The Angel…

Just as Aryan realizes his love for Shefali, one of the most precious artifacts, The Angel, goes missing from the Ranaut collection. All fingers point towards Shefali—more so because she leaves the palace without telling anyone on the very night of the theft. 

Finding the Angel is a story where duty clashes with love and lack of trust overrides passion. Under these circumstances, can The Angel bring the star-crossed lovers together?


Amazon.com.au | Amazon.ca

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About the author

Rubina Ramesh is an avid reader, writer, blogger, book reviewer, and marketer. She is the founder of The Book Club, an online book publicity group. Her first literary work was published in her school magazine. It gave her immense pride to see her own name at the bottom of the article. She was about 8 years old at that time. She then went to complete her MBA and after her marriage to her childhood friend, her travel saga started. From The Netherlands to the British Isles she lived her life like an adventure. After a short stint in Malaysia, she finally settled down in the desert state of USA, Arizona. Living with her DH and two human kids and one doggie kid, Rubina has finally started living the life she had always dreamed about – that of a writer.

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