Cover Reveal ~ The Mahāsiddha Field by Dwai Lahiri

~ Cover Reveal ~ 
The Mahāsiddha Field
by Dwai Lahiri


About the Book:
The world of Asuras and Dévas is considered mythological. Indian mythology is replete with tales of Dévas battling the Asuras constantly. The interesting thing to note is that whether it is a God or an incarnation of a deity in human form, aka an Avatār, there was also a human element involved in these stories. The teachers of the Dévas (gods) and the Asuras were human sages, known as Rishis.

Find out what happens when seemingly unconnected individuals get drawn into a world of suspense and action, as mythology collides with their world in the book 'The Mahāsiddha Field', the first in a new sci-fi/fantasy series!

An elderly wandering mendicant in South India, two young Indian-American men, two soldiers from the Indian Army and a mysterious sage from high up in the Himalayas are thrown together in an adventure unlike any other; as a most unlikely adversary leaps out of the world of Indian Mythology to challenge their beliefs, their sanity and their courage.


About the Author:
Dwai is a long time practitioner of the Daoist internal arts with a focus on Taijiquan. He is also an eager student and practitioner of Advaita Vedānta, Kashmir Shaivism and Yoga. He enjoys being part of the artistic process in various forms - as a writer, musician and a martial artist. The Arts are an excellent medium for spiritual practice and he has dedicated more than two decades of his life in the quest for spiritual clarity.

He started writing in the early 2000s in the public domain, under the pen name ‘Rudra’ for ‘sulekha.com’, which then was the preeminent online literary portal for the Indian Diaspora.  In 2007 he started the online journal ‘The Medha Journal’ where over 1000 articles---the compiled work of 96 authors including himself are available for readers today, on various topics ranging from Indic studies, philosophy to poetry and fiction.

In the worldly domain, he is a software engineer for a Silicon Valley software company, and an engineer by training. He likes to think of himself as humble bridge between many disparate worlds-- science and spirituality, art and technology, Eastern and Western cultures.

 He lives in the suburbs of Chicago in Illinois, USA with his wife, daughter and two dogs.

Contact the Author:
Blog * Twitter * LinkedIn * Quora




Book Review: Ratnadip Acharya's The Speaking Stone


Title: The Speaking Stone
Author: Ratnadip Acharya
Genre: Historical Thriller

My Review of The Speaking Stone
The Speaking Stone narrates two different tales parallelly - one set in the present day and another in the 1900s.
Destiny leads the two central characters of The Speaking Stone, Saikat and Shuvashini to a destination which is unusual for them. In their effort to solve the mystery of a stone Saikat had come across, the two are lead down an adventurous, thrilling, and romantic path.
The story in the 1900s is again a story of mystique and romance and also, tragedy.

The author takes the reader from the present to the past and back again, and as readers, we discover subtle emotions that hold as true today as they did in the past.
There are parallels of almost every character from the story of the past to that in the present, but these similarities don't seem forced. Rather they enhance the emotional connect and the sense of anticipation that is felt while discovering these worlds.

The one disappointment I had with this book was the central female character, who started as a strong individual but soon enough lost the sheen of both strength and individuality. I just wish she had not ended up being the 'second lead' to the dynamic Saikat.

All in all, The Speaking Stone speaks volumes about the mystery that could be hidden in the many artifacts of India. I especially enjoyed the fact that this book is set in India, and takes us from the bylanes of Colaba to the hills of Tripura.

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Book Links:

Blurb
Mumbai, December 2016: 
A young man found an ancient-looking piece of stone with strange images and Sanskrit
inscriptions. A quest to know the origin of the stone brought him to the distant part of the
country. 

Chandannagar, December 2016: 
A young vivacious historian woman read an old book on a century-old secret story about a
little known part of the country. Her curiosity got the better of her as the book disappeared
mysteriously before she could complete it. She reached a sleepy quaint state of the country
to satiate her curiosity. 

Eventually they both met and their search began from the city museum to a far-flung rock
mountain which revealed a century-old story of a seductive danseuse, her enigmatic lover,
a string of her admirers, a painter with a photographic memory, a bird that could speak in
many voices, a benevolent king and a gruesome conspiracy. And the most important clue to
decode the final secret was with the missing part of The Speaking Stone. But in the process
of unearthing old secrets their lives were also in danger… 

About the Author:

https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-maFc_SlNq94/XcfkBFbABHI/AAAAAAAAGCU/ceTFzYGAGw4PnhBlFNrjfO-KngsZ_6iJACKgBGAsYHg/s200/Ratnadip%2BAcharya.png

Ratnadip Acharya is the author of two successful novels, Life is Always Aimless... Unless
you love it and Paradise Lost & Regained. He is a columnist for the Speaking Tree in The
Times of India. He contributed many write-ups in different collections of Chicken Soup for
the Soul. He lives in Mumbai with his wife, Sophia and son, Akash.

Contact the Author:

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Book Review: #JustRomance by Jyoti Arora (Short Stories)

#JUSTROMANCE
by
Jyoti Arora
My Review of Jyoti Arora's #JustRomance

The title and the cover art of #JustRomance perfectly portray the fact that the stories in there are a celebration of love and make for a relaxed reading that one can escape into.
Besides the common theme of romance that the seven stories share, there is a central female character in each struggling against pressures from society and family and at times, even within. Each tale strikes a balance between ambition, familial priorities, and romantic relationship.

Not all is blindly fair in love, but there are other factors that matter. And this is what makes the stories relatable. What is aimed at is a balance. The craziness of love is not of foremost importance. Love does conquer all though...

Each story starts with a few poetic lines, all of which are delightful and some of which are a little cheesy too.
"Oh darling, don't you see? You are my spacebar. No matter what words I use, my story means nothing without you. I need you all the time."

Are all the authorial comments always universally true? Well, there is much to be said about the universally acknowledged truths, such as this one from Drunk on love in #Just Romance
"Deep inside the heart of even the quietest, simplest, plainest, most morally-culturally-socially-legally-politically-correct good girl hides a mischievous goddess yearning to break free." 

The characters of #JustRomance rebel, but there are boundaries to the rebellion too. These boundaries are at times chosen, and at other times, circumstances help. The choices made are not solely over 'just romance' and for me, this adds to the charm of #JustRomance.

Despite the many commonalities among them, each of the stories is very different too. Some are about discovering self, others about letting go of oneself. There are stories of thrill and mystery, and also of emotional turmoil. The locales vary from metro cities to remote islands.

These are simple, sweet, relatable, true-to-life, and so-very-possible stories of the modern, urban young adults.

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Blurb


7 heart-warming love stories to make you smile

You raised a song in my heart
That I never knew before.
Now kiss me, Love,
For I yearn to know
What a dream must taste like.

Luxury adds glamour to romances, danger adds thrill. But it is real emotions that turn love magical. And when love casts its magic, even ordinary people can have extraordinary love stories.

It is seven such delicious and relatable Indian romances that this book brings to you.

With realistic characters that will live in your heart. With romance spanning across mountains, forests, glowing beaches, or coming alive in roadside dhabas and buzzing city streets. With myriad gripping emotions of friendship and love, these feel-good love stories are sure to touch your heart with delight.

If you are in love with love,

then these beautiful romances are a must-read for you!

Seven couples, seven clean contemporary romances, one delicious book.

#JustRomance

Because nothing matters more than love.
     
Read an excerpt




Grab your copy @
Amazon.in | Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk 


About the author


Jyoti Arora is an Indian novelist and blogger. Besides her books, her writing achievements include several wins in blogging competitions, over five years of freelance writing experience, developing books for kids and abridging 30 English novels like Jane Eyre, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, etc. 

Jyoti’s first novel ‘Dream’s Sake’ was published by V&S Publishers in 2011. It tells a beautiful love story revolving around the troubles of physically challenged people. Her second novel ‘Lemon Girl’ is based on the theme of gender crime against women and victim-blaming. It is featured in Ezvid’s wiki list of 9 Well-Written Novels That Put Women Front & Center. It also received appreciation from Ms. Maneka Gandhi. Her third novel ‘You Came Like Hope’ talks about the opposite side of the issue discussed in Lemon Girl. That is, it talks about the fake cases filed by women. This too is a case of gender crime and victim-blaming. But in this case, it is the man who suffers. The book received much appreciation for its unique theme and heart-warming love story. All three books are intense and based on serious social issues. For her fourth book, Jyoti decided to write something lighter and happier. That’s what has resulted in #JustRomance, a collection of happy love stories. 

Books have always been Jyoti’s best friends. In fact, books so fascinated her from early childhood that she learnt to read by herself even before she started going to school. And she considers herself fortunate that she is able to pursue her dream of being a novelist and work at what she loves best.

However, if books are her first love, the thrilling and steadily advancing world of technology also fascinates her. As a result, one of her blogs is a technological blog called TechnoTreats. One of her posts in this blog even won her the title of Samsung Mobiler in 2011. After that, she has won several other blogging competitions too.

She is a patient of Thalassemia which forced her to drop out of school too soon. But she did not let that defeat her. She studied on her own and completed her schooling through correspondence courses. Then she went on to Jyoti study BA English (Honours) from Delhi University and then achieved postgraduation degrees in English Literature and Applied Psychology from Annamalai University.

For her determination and achievements, she has received appreciation from several eminent dignitaries and her life story has been covered in various TV shows, radio programs, newspapers, magazines, and websites. In the year 2016, she was one of the 100 special women achievers of India that were invited as special guests to attend the Republic Day parade in Delhi. 


You can stalk her @

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram
  

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Search for Self (Book Review: Thar Express - Nagendra Murti)







Title : Thar Express
Author: Nagendra Murti
Genre: Mystery / Thriller









A man is found in the aftermath of a landslide in Kashmir. He has no memory of either who he is, or how he got there.

Thar Express, the book by Nagendra Murti, is the story of this man. The story of is struggle to find ‘himself’, despite being suspected by Indian authorities. The fact that he's caught in Kashmir, close to LoC (Line of Control between Indian and Pakistan) leads to serious questions about his nationality and intentions.

Thar Express, the train connects Karachi, Pakistan to Jodhpur, India.

Thar Express, the book weaves an intricate tale that takes the reader from Kashmir to various cities and states of India, and across the border too, in search of truth and identity of this man.

As he leaves Kashmir, and moves from one place to another, his actions send mixed signals, which keep the authorities on their toes trying to figure out who he really is.

Thar Express, by Nagendra Murti, opens with serene monsoon memories of childhood friends. The peaceful scene soon changes to the plight of the mysterious man and his heart-rending plight.

Just a few pages into the book, I had a soft corner for the protagonist. I was rooting for him, whether the proof was in his favour or not.

Truth and deceit, Patriotism and Terrorism, Humanity and Selfishness, all clash in this fast-paced thriller.

The craving for home, the pain of not belonging, the insecurities of being a stranger even to oneself and the fear of authority is effectively portrayed in this book.

“His mind struggled between a terrible urge to remember who he was, to reunite with his family, to meet someone who he would recognize from past and the trauma of death and pain all around him.”

The goodness or at times, the unbelievable, innocent susceptibility of human nature finds a place too.

It is disturbing that most of this can happen to anyone. It can be so easy for a person to be at the wrong place at the wrong time, to make a small mistake and set the dominos falling... dominos, which may never be able to get back up.
As a reader, there was a feeling of a certain helplessness when I was lost in the story of Nagendra Murti's Thar Express. I guess, what I am trying to convey is that this book made me ache for the dilemma of Mano, the man with only a nickname.

The tale of Thar Express has many a twist, its’ fast-paced narrative keeping the pages turning fast.
It is the ending that is the icing on the cake. The climax of the book is unexpected and a fitting finale to Thar Express’ gripping tale.

Book Review - Supertraits of Superstars (Priyanka Sinha Jha)




Title: Supertraits of Superstars
Author: Priyanka Sinha Jha
Genre: Non-fiction / Self-help
Publisher: Rupa Publications India Pvt. Ltd.
First published in 2014
Pages: 186
Price: Rs. 195 (Print copy)

Priyanka Sinha Jha's Supertraits of Superstars is about 'Success Secrets of Bollywood's Brightest'. A self-help motivational book, using biographical anecdotes from the lives of some Bollywood Stars.

The book is not exactly biographical because it doesn't narrate life-stories of these actors. Rather a few incidents from their lives are used to highlight their 'supertraits'.

As the author says in the introduction to this book, reading Richard Bach's Illusions as a youngster was a life-changing moment for her. As a journalist, she interacted with Bollywood actors. She got inspired by them.

It takes an open and positive mind to be able to appreciate and soak up the goodness, to be able to make it a motivational factor for oneself.

Eleven superstars with supertraits that have been 'sharpened patiently over the years'.
Amitabh Bachchan's Discipline, Shah Rukh Khan's Passion, Vidya Balan's Reinvention, Aamir Khan's Perfection,...

The book starts with Amitabh Bachchan - a good start. His discipline, punctuality and humility is impressive, and the author illustrates them with impressive incidents.

"Success can be as difficult to process and assimilate as a failure and rejection"
The supertraits are about achieving success, but all these individuals have been successful for quite sometime now, and it is a supertrait in itself to be able to not let this success get to oneself and take it in one's stride.

Discipline, hardwork, humility, never-say-die attitude, focus and much more... and knowing that these stars live each day working harder, not taking their success for granted, is a great motivation.

One of the questions I was asking myself as I read this book was whether a reader who is not familiar with the world of Bollywood would enjoy this book.
I think, yes, but not half as much as a Bollywood fan would.

To clarify, I love my fair share of Hindi films and do browse through Bombay Times and HT City almost every day. In a Dentist's waiting room, I would usually reach for 'Filmfare' or 'Stardust'.
On the other hand, I don't read any of these cover to cover.
So, I am interested enough, but not a crazy fan.

Being the Editor of Screen, I am sure she knows tons about the private lives of these stars. Her integrity has to be appreciated as she doesn't resort to gossip - it would certainly have additional waves for the book.

A lot of incidents or habits she wrote of are already well-known. Aamir Khan, for instance, is referred to as perfectionist all the time. It is the way, these traits are explained that one can use this book as a positive motivational book.

There are a couple of instances where I felt that certain topic has been over-discussed, though.

The book is about admiration of these wonderful individuals.

The author uses clear expression, identifying the core strength of these actors, rather than vaguely telling stories about them.
It is like someone explaining a boring subject to you in an entertaining way, making it interesting.

I would have loved a few more anecdotes, some more stories I didn't know of.

In the author's words:
"While this book may or may not turn you into a Bollywood star, it can certainly make you a superstar in your own universe."

Some actors I wish had been included - Kajol, Anil Kapoor, Sushmita Sen (Don't call her a superstar, but write about her), Farhan Akhtar.

Can we look forward to a sequel?

Read it even if you don't usually read about Bollywood stars. The book is about hardworking individuals who are actors.







About the author
Priyanka Sinha Jha is a journalist who, in her eighteen-year-long career, has written on celebrities, films, lifestyle, business and more. She has been a correspondent for publications as varied as Citadel, The Asian Age and Intelligent Investor. At the age of twenty-six, she became the editor of Society, India's first celebrity magazine, followed by a stint as editor of HT Style and HT Saturday. Currently, she is the editor of Screen, India's foremost film and entertainment weekly. She has also contributed to Outlook, The Week and Tehelka, and has a regular column in The Indian Express: Play.