Monday, December 29, 2014

Book Review: KALEIDOSCOPE OF HOPES by Devika Fernando

Nadia is all alone in a big city and works for a company that’s being taken over. Lucas is the man in charge of cutting short expenses and it’s up to him whether employees get to continue or shown the door. She’s surprised to find out that Lucas also happens to be her neighbour. Over and above that, she’s managed to save his little girl Melody from being crushed under a truck. But does that mean he will treat her differently? 

I couldn’t help but feel sorry for Nadia who’s grown up like a princess in a palatial house. Despite losing her parents, she’s had a wonderful childhood with her grandmother. All that has changed, no thanks to her brother. Now, she leads a hand-to-mouth existence and is desperate to keep her job. But will that be possible?

Nadia bonds with Melody as the motherless child is only too happy with some feminine attention. While Nadia is attracted to Lucas and he also appears to be physically turned on by her, will it be possible for them to love one another? Then there is the marriage proposal where he offers to marry her. It’s too clinical for Nadia’s taste. But should she look a gift horse in the mouth? 

But before she could take a decision, her life falls apart, once again. Will Nadia be able to find the strength to recover from this shock?

I like the title of the book, “Kaleidoscope Of Hopes”. It’s obviously well thought out. Kudos! 

I liked the characterisation of Nadia and Melody. Their relationship is also very cutely described. Lucas was kind of dour for my taste. But then, he has suffered a lot in life.

The dialogues are well-written and so are the descriptions. I especially enjoyed reading the vivid description of the dilapidated White Manor House. I could visualise the whole place in front of my eyes. Awesome! I also enjoyed reading the last chapter. I am sure the author knows what I mean. 

The twist towards the end came as a shock and did make me wonder if Nadia will ever find happiness. I am not going to talk about how the story ends. I will only mention that I fairly rushed through the last 30 pages to find out what happened to Nadia. I finished reading the book with a smile on my face. 




About the author



Almost as soon as Devika Fernando could write, she imagined stories and poems. After finishing her education in Germany and returning to her roots in Sri Lanka, she got a chance to turn her passion into her profession. Having lived in Germany and in Sri Lanka with her husband has made her experience the best (and the worst) of two totally different worlds – something that influences her writing. Her trademark is writing sweet, yet deeply emotional romance stories where the characters actually fall in love instead of merely falling in lust. What she loves most about being an author is the chance to create new worlds and send her protagonists on a journey full of ups and downs that will leave them changed. She draws inspiration from everyone and everything in life. Besides being a romance novel author, she works as a self-employed German web content writer, as a translator, and as a faithful servant to all the cats, dogs, fish and birds in her home. When she’s not writing, she’s reading or thinking about writing.

To find out more, check out the following links:

http://www.devikafernando.com
https://twitter.com/Author_Devika
https://www.facebook.com/devikafernandoauthor


Monday, December 22, 2014

Film Review: PK


#PK touched my heart

Cast: Aamir Khan, Anushka Sharma, Sanjay Dutt, Sushant Singh Rajput, Saurabh Shukla, Boman Irani, Parikshit Sahani
Director: Rajkumar Hirani

I was a trifle hesitant to go see the movie in the theatre after watching the promos for PK. Aamir Khan with wide open eyes that forgot to blink kind of put me off. But then the film is by Rajkumar Hirani. I loved Munnabhai MBBS, Lage Raho Munna Bhai & 3 Idiots http://sundarivenkatraman.blogspot.in/2010/01/film-review-3-idiots.html. As I was oscillating, unable to decide whether ‘to see or not to see’, Venkat told me that Aamir Khan plays an alien in the film. That clinched the deal. I had to see the film. That’s how Venkat, Viggy and I landed up at Cinemax Sion for a 11 o’clock show on Saturday night. 

THE STORY

PK (Aamir Khan) travels through space from a distant galaxy and lands on the deserts of Rajasthan, buck naked. The only thing he’s wearing is a neckpiece, a brilliant green medal that’s actually a remote control that will help him recall his spaceship when he needs to go back home. Within a few minutes of landing, a local steals his neckpiece and PK (not named yet) is stranded on earth.

Jagat Janani aka Jaggu (Anushka Sharma) is studying in Belgium and that’s where she meets Sarfaraz (Sushant Singh Rajput), a Pakistani. They fall in love and move in together. When she tells her parents about her love, her father (Parikshit Sahani) insists on consulting the family astrologer-advisor Tapasvi Maharaj (Saurabh Shukla). The Maharaj plays on people’s fears and insists that he has a direct dialogue with the Creator. His prediction that Sarfaraz will ditch Jaggu comes true when he stands her up on their wedding day. 

Jaggu is refused entry into her home when she returns to Delhi. She lives by herself and works for a TV channel. Hunting for stories, she meets PK who fascinates her. But is he what he is claiming he is? 

MY PERCEPTION

Rajkumar Hirani has done it again. Instead of going the Hollywood way and presenting aliens as horrible, negative creatures, he has presented PK as a Highly Evolved Being. A special Kudos for that to the director!

The story goes back and forth connecting the incidents that lead to a meeting between Jaggu and PK. While the first half is totally hilarious, there were times that I shed a few tears for the wonderful soul who is visiting the earth and is caught up in our quarrels and dishonesty. The character of PK is built beautifully and Aamir Khan has given an outstanding performance. 

Anushka Sharma has always been an excellent actress and I must say that this is her best so far. Congratulations!

Sushant Singh Rajput has done very well in his cameo as Sarfaraz. While Boman Irani, Sanjay Dutt and Parikshit Sahani have small roles, they were important enough to keep the story going. Good show guys!

Saurabh Shukla as the mean and cheating Tapasvi Maharaj has given a super performance. Shukla has been seen in a variety of character roles and he has been consistently great in each performance. Awesome! 

The music was soothing. This is typical of Vidhu Vinod Chopra Productions and I find it a loveable trait. Though I heard most of the songs for the first time, both the lyrics and tune were too good and added to the film’s value.

One thing that struck me was that some of the dialogues overlapped with those in OMG Oh My God! I agree that both films promote similar messages. I only wish that they had checked things out and stretched that little bit extra to make it completely different. It doesn’t take away from PK being a great film though.  

I like a creative work – both books and films – that makes me emote. Whether it’s joy, love, anger or vengeance, it should touch my heart. PK did that to me. Need I say more?

VERDICT: A Must-see




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

Blog Tour: GOD IS A GAMER by Ravi Subramanian



God is a Gamer 
by 
Ravi Subramanian 



My Review

Having read two of Author Ravi Subramanian’s works – If God Was A Banker and Devil In Pinstripes, I was quite thrilled to receive a copy of God Is A Gamer from The Book Club.

The book is a thriller written around the banking sector. I was happy to meet Aditya Rao and Swami once again, though not as enamoured by Sundeep. 

Malvika is the CEO of NYIB and a thorn in the flesh for many, especially Swami. She falls from the 34th floor balcony of Four Seasons Hotel and dies on the spot. Is that murder or suicide? The CBI is flummoxed. 

Her daughter Tanya is shaken by her mother’s death and takes out her anger on CBI Chief Kabir Khan. Will she be able to face the repercussions?

Then there is the Financial Minister. Had he been having an affair with Malvika? Could he have murdered Tanya’s mother?

Aditya, whom we have always known to be too straightforward for words, seems to have a couple of skeletons in his family cupboard. Is he what he appears to be?

Gillian Tan is an American Senator who is too close to the President. But even that doesn’t stop him from being murdered, leaving behind his wife Nikki and daughter Gloria. 

Varun deals in drugs. That’s in Goa. In Mumbai, he is a whiz, promoting computer games. He popularises the new game Townsville on facebook, increasing Aditya’s gaming company Indiscape’s income multi-fold. 

These are but a few characters in this amazing story that has been woven by Ravi Subramanian taking the reader through New York, Washington, Delhi, Mumbai and Goa. While I travelled along with the characters, I almost chewed my nails off as my eyes jumped from page to page. Unable to keep the book down, I finished reading it late into the night. 

Bitcoins, Cotton Trail, virtual games, sudden deaths, FBI, CBI, exploding laptops and smart phones, a hooker’s tell-all blog, ATM heists... phew, and more, keep the reader glued to the book.

Ravi Subramanian brings together a lot of seemingly unrelated incidents finally beneath one umbrella – an amazing feat I must say. At no point in the book does one find the plot lagging, while the story is written in crisp, perfect English. The novel has been cut into short chapters and makes for an easy read. 

I don’t much care for comparison. But I have to mention here that I enjoyed God Is A Gamer by Ravi Subramanian as much as I enjoy reading Jeffrey Archer’s works. And that is saying something as I love Archer’s books, each one of them. 



Disclaimer: I received a hard copy of God Is A Gamer by Ravi Subramanian from The Book Club in exchange for my honest review.

The Blurb

Aditya runs a gaming company that is struggling to break even. A banker slips off a highrise building, plunging to her death. The finance minister has made some promises that he is finding hard to keep. The LTTE has unleashed terror in America that sends the FBI on a wild goose chase, bringing them to Mumbai.

Enter Varun, parttime drug dealer and fulltime genius. He turns around the gaming company before disaster strikes. Meanwhile, the investigators plunge headlong into the shady world of bitcoins and the Dark Net, websites that only exist for illegal transactions—drugs, sex and money. God Is a Gamer culminates in a stunning climax where money means nothing, assassination is taught by the ancient Greeks, and nothing is as it seems.

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Meet the Author





   Described as the ‘John Grisham of banking’, by the Wall Street Journal, Ravi Subramanian, an alumnus of IIM Bangalore, is the author of five bestselling commercial novels—If God Was A Banker (2007), Devil In Pinstripes (2009), The Incredible Banker (2011), The Bankster (2012) and Bankerupt (2013)—based on financial crime. His latest book God Is A Gamer was released on September 12, 2014.
   Having been a banker himself, he has a unique insight into the industry he writes about and a flair for spinning intricate plots that keep readers on the edge of their seats. 
   His debut novel, If God Was A Banker, won the 2008 Golden Quill Readers’ Choice Award and, more recently, The Incredible Banker won the 2011 Economist-Crossword Book Award in the ‘Popular’ category. He won the Crossword book award for The Bankster in 2012.
   Ravi lives in Mumbai with his Biotechnologist turned banker wife, Dharini and his fourteen-year-old daughter Anusha.



You can stalk Ravi Subramanium 

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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Film Review: LINGAA


If you are a fan of Superstar Rajnikanth, then this one should not be missed

Cast: Rajnikanth, Anushka, Sonakshi Sinha, Santhanam, Jagapati Babu
Director: KS Ravikumar

Lingaa was released in Tamil on Friday, December 12, 2014 which also happened to be Superstar Rajnikanth’s birthday. Venkat and I decided to go to Cinemax Sion for the 11 pm show. Considering that it was a late night show, the theatre was completely packed. The show began with a lot of whistling and catcalls. Instead of getting disturbed, we both joined in the fun. Luckily, the crowd settled down after the first ten minutes or so. 

THE STORY

The story opens in a village in Karnataka where a temple of Lord Shiva has been kept shut for 70 years. The village head decides to have it opened by the descendent of Raja Lingeswaran who had built it seven decades ago. Public TV correspondent Lakshmi (Anushka) also happens to be the granddaughter of the village head. She offers to find the king’s grandson and descendant. She zeroes in on Lingaa (Rajnikanth) who is a small time thief in partnership with four friends of his. He has no pride in his heritage as he is under the impression that Raja Lingeswaran had lost all his palaces and wealth due to gambling and womanising. When Lakshmi manages to persuade him to visit the village and temple, Lingaa gets to learn the truth about his grandfather (also Rajnikanth). The rest of the film is about how MP Nagabooshan (Jagapati Babu) tries to destabilise the dam built by Raja Lingeswaran. Watch the film to find out how Lingaa manages to save the day. 

MY PERCEPTION

Superstar Rajnikanth has done it once again – got away with the role of a hero in his late 20s. I must say he’s excellent. While his role as Lingaa is very good, he plays Raja Lingeswaran even better. Anushka is just arm candy and needs to lose weight.  

Though Sonakshi Sinha also appears plump, her acting skills are too good. She plays the role of Bharathi, a young lady from the village who falls in love with Raja Lingeswaran. 

Santhanam plays Lingaa’s friend and I must say his comedy timing is perfect. Jagapati Babu plays the villain and is good. 

Music by AR Rahman is not his best and for once I was glad that too many songs didn’t interrupt the flow of the story. 

The scenes at the dam and its construction have been shot beautifully. A special kudos to the cinematographer! KS Ravikumar has directed a number of Rajnikanth films and all have gone on to become super successes. I must say that this one also promises to be one. It’s Superstar Rajnikanth all the way. 

VERDICT: If you are a fan of Superstar Rajnikanth, then this one should not be missed. 



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



Cover Reveal: HIDDEN PASSION by Summerita Rhayne



Cover Reveal:
Hidden Passion 
…when the walls of monarchical politics rise high between them, will her passion prevail?
by 
Summerita Rhayne

A letter from the Author  

Hello friends! 

I'm very excited to share the cover of my new book which is a historical romance. Hidden Passion is the story of Princess Rukmani and King Deveshwarya, set in the early medieval India. I've always been fascinated by that period of the brave and wise maharajas and beautiful and courageous rajkumaris whose tales I read growing up in Chandamama and Amar Chitra Katha...I wonder how many can relate to those names *smile* But whether you can or not, I feel, no one can remain untouched by the romance and richness of that period. There’s a drama and intrigue in history that simply calls out to imagination. I’ve always wanted to write a historical and the idea for this book came to me in form an image: A princess seeking the sanctuary of a Maharaja whom she thinks she can depend on but that Maharaja being unwilling to help her. I had to think why he wouldn’t and why she had to run to him and slowly the characters took shape: Rukmani, a princess of the Kamboj clan who has been pampered by her family but now is suddenly without support and Deveshwaraya, a Samrat who was not born to a throne but comes to rule by following his convictions.

I had a lot of fun delving into history while charting out the setting and the events of this novella. As my characters were not blind followers of tradition, I was able to let my imagination loose a lot. But I also made use of the customs prevalent in the period in the story. For instance, in those times, the princesses could choose their own husbands by the ritual of swayamvara yet the outcome of these was often tied up with many political consequences. Rukmani also finds such a situation hindering her path to love. Even princesses had to struggle sometimes to get their heart's desire. So even for them life wasn't easy! 
This is my first historical getting published, so it’s a huge moment for me. Hope you all love the cover!

What the Book is all About ....

Rukmani, the youngest of her family, has always had her way and she thinks she would too when the question of her marriage arises. But when she expresses her wishes, her world comes crumbling down because she has fallen for the wrong man. Who can she run to but the strongest ruler of the region, Deveshwaraya?

Devesh finds himself torn between duty and desire. He is drawn to her yet being with her jeopardizes everything he has worked for.…when the walls of monarchical politics rise high between them, will her passion prevail?




Are you ready 
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Saturday, December 13, 2014

Blog Tour: RESCUED BY LOVE by Shilpa Suraj



Rescued by Love 
by 
Shilpa Suraj




My Review

It was a lucky day for me when I received a copy of Shilpa Suraj’s RESCUED BY LOVE via The Book Club. I love reading Mills & Boon romances and I must say Shilpa Suraj has weaved an awesome tale.

Naina is the feisty daughter of a Supreme Court Chief Justice. She’s gone on a holiday by herself without informing her parents as they are trying to arrange her wedding to a guy she doesn’t like. Unfortunately, she is kidnapped when away from home. In exchange for her safety, the kidnapper wants her father to give a judgement in favour of his criminal boss Hussain. 

Lt. Col. Arjun Rathore and his team including Venkat, Ratan and Kishore set out to rescue Naina. They get her out of the kidnappers’ clutches quite easily. The tough part is to keep her safe over the next few days. They all pretend to be trekkers as they climb their way down to Leh to safety. While Naina falls for Arjun and he’s immensely attracted to her, he refuses to get involved as she is already engaged and also the daughter of a big shot. But the tenacious Naina decides to get her own way. Will she get together with the love of her life? Read the book to see the many complications that set in, barring the path of true love.

“I’d rather die than marry him,” begins this tale of romance. Got your attention, didn’t it? It caught mine too, immediately. Naina is a lovely character that one can relate to. Only child of an old-fashioned court judge and his wife, she wants to fly free. She’s never known the love of her parents as she’s been a disappointment to them, being a daughter instead of the son they had hoped to have. It could be the story of many young women all over India and she is so realistic. 

Arjun made my heart throb along with Naina’s. His protective attitude towards her; his helplessness in the face of her problems and the war he wages within himself about choosing between right and wrong – every aspect of Arjun touches one deeply. The scenes between the hero and heroine sizzle hot. 

The story is superbly written as narration and dialogues flow smoothly in excellent English. The side characters of Arjun’s team and a host of others (don’t want to divulge spoilers) have been sketched very well.

One other character beside Naina and Arjun that I liked very much is Aryan. Are you planning to use him as a hero in one of your books Shilpa Suraj? Fingers Crossed! Looking forward to reading more from you! 




The Blurb

When Naina Ahuja is kidnapped as hostage days before her father, a Supreme Court Chief Justice, must sentence a terrorist, the stakes are very high. Lt Col Arjun Rathore and his team are the only ones who can be trusted with the mission of saving her. 
During their arduous trek back through the hostile terrain of Ladakh, Arjun and Naina spend days in danger of losing their lives - and their hearts. Back in safety, the real world and its very real problems threaten – as do their own perceptions of the differences between them. 

They must separate – but will life rescue their love?

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Meet the Author





Shilpa was a year and a half when she was first introduced to the world of books. Her mother would park her with a picture book on the floor of the kitchen while she finished her cooking for the day. While it’s no longer the kitchen floor, you can still find her tucked away in a cosy nook somewhere with her nose buried in a book. While books in all genres interest her, it was romance that captured her heart. While racing through every romantic fiction book she could beg, borrow or buy, her over active imagination started to work overtime and weave its own stories. Years in the corporate world followed by a stint of entrepreneurship crystallised her belief that all she really wanted to do was give life to the stories bubbling inside of her. She briefly managed to tear herself away from the world of fiction to find her own personal happily ever after and now spends her time happily focusing on the two loves of her life – family and writing romances. 




You can stalk Shilpa Suraj @

                          

           
       




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Monday, December 8, 2014

Cover Reveal: MATCHES MADE IN HEAVEN by Sundari Venkatraman



Cover Reveal:

MATCHES MADE IN HEAVEN

Romantic Short Stories by

Sundari Venkatraman

Sneak Peak

Swayamwar on TV reality show; Dating Clubs; Matchmaking websites; parents setting up their children with one another; friends getting married and more – there are many ways that couples get together for hopefully a “Happily Ever After” experience. MATCHES MADE IN HEAVEN explores the various premises in the form of short stories that one can relate to in everyday life. There is even one based on Gods falling in love. Shh! I am not going to say anything further. It’s for you to find out.

And there are thirteen of them. While many insist that “13” is an unlucky number, I am quite fascinated by it. I absolutely believe that it’s a lucky number for me. That’s why I decided to publish this anthology with 13 romantic stories. 



About the author

Sundari Venkatraman has authored four novels and a short story anthology till now, Matches Made In Heaven (anthology) being the latest. The Malhotra Bride; Meghna; The Runaway Bridegroom; Flaming Sun Collection 1: Happily Ever Afters From India (Box Set) and Matches Made In Heaven have all been self-published on Amazon under the banner of Flaming Sun. The three novels are regularly seen on Amazon’s Top 100 Bestsellers’ Contemporary Romances list. The Box Set and Anthology are bound to catch up soon. 



A great fan of Mills & Boon romances over the past four decades, Sundari has always believed in ‘Happily Ever Afters’ and all her books promise happy endings. 

Matches Made In Heaven is a compilation of thirteen short stories – all romantic – based on many situations anyone can come upon in their day-to-day lives. The stories revolve around the different ways a couple can get to meet and tie the knot in a culture rich country like India. Those reading the stories will definitely be able to connect realising that one of the situations has definitely been a part of their lives. 


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Sunday, December 7, 2014

Blog Tour: AGAINST ALL ODDS by Jazz Singh


Against All Odds
by 
Jazz Singh 



My Review

Sanjana is a small-town girl who has moved to Delhi as an Interior Designer. While she’s slowly gaining a reputation, she slips and falls in front of millionaire industrialist Abhimanyu’s car. He’s convinced that she’s out to get what she could out of him, while she’s certain that he is an arrogant snob. She lands up with a hairline fracture.

Not long after, they meet again and yet again. While Sanjana finds herself falling in love with Abhimanyu, she is sure that she would never fit into his world. His mother is also positive about this. And what about Abhimanyu himself? Is he in love with Sanjana or is he just playing with her?

This juicy romance by Jazz Singh is an absolutely fun read. Sanjana is creative, hardworking as well as a cheerful young lady. Abhimanyu is a suave businessman who has been brought up to be protective about his wealth and status. The author weaves a lovely story around the small-town Sanjana and city-boy Abhimanyu that’s very endearing. Good language, interesting dialogues and realistic situations make for a good read. Congratulations, Jazz Singh! Way to go!

My only peeve is the last scene was a tad abrupt. But I suppose good things don’t last forever.




The Blurb

The first time they collide, he thinks she’s a con artist, she believes he’s an arrogant snob.

It takes several meetings to change their minds about each other, but eventually, Abhimanyu and Sanjana strike up a friendship that seems destined to turn into something more. He’s a rich successful businessman, however, and she’s a small-town girl who doesn’t fit into his glittering world; a fact that Abhimanyu’s mother has taken pains to point out.

Will they ever overcome the odds, or are their lives on parallel tracks, never destined to cross?

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Meet the Author



Dear Readers,

Jazz Singh is one of the most elusive writers I have met. So respecting her need for privacy we have not asked her for a profile picture or a writeup. Long back, when I had first interacted with her.. I had asked her the reason behind this. Her answer was... I want to be known for my work. All I can say to that is... She will be...

Regards,

Rubina Ramesh 
The Book Club



You can stalk her @

                          

         




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