Cover Reveal: Avishi by Saiswaroopa Iyer

~ Cover Reveal ~
Avishi by Saiswaroopa Iyer
12th July, 2017
Long before the times of Draupadi and Sita
Immortalised in the hymns of the Rig Veda
But largely forgotten to the memory of India
Is the Warrior Queen with an iron leg, Vishpala
Brought up in the pristine forest school of Naimisha, Avishi reaches the republic of Ashtagani in search of her destiny. When Khela, the oppressive King of the neighbouring Vrishabhavati begins to overwhelm and invade Ashtagani, Avishi rises to protect her settlement. But peril pursues her everywhere.
Separated from her love, her settlement broken, with a brutal injury needing amputation of her leg, can Avishi overcome Khela?
About the Author:
Saiswaroopa is an IITian and a former investment analyst turned author. Her keen interest in ancient Indian history, literature and culture made her take to writing. Her debut novel Abhaya, set in the times of Mahabharata was published in 2015. Avishi, her second novel set in Vedic India explores the legend of India’s first mentioned female warrior queen Vishpala.
She holds a certificate in Puranas from Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies. She is also trained in Carnatic Classical music and has won a state level gold medal from Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams.
This Cover Reveal is brought to you by Book Review Tours

 

Book Review: The Lost Daughter of India by Sharon Maas

About the Book:

One woman. One impossible choice. Her daughter or her happiness …

When Caroline meets Kamal the attraction is instant. He’s enchanting, charismatic and she can’t wait to set up a new life with him in India. Both their families are against the union but Caroline is convinced they’ll come round, especially when she gives birth to a beautiful daughter, Asha.

Asha is an adorable child but Caroline, homesick and beginning to hate the remote Indian village they live in, struggles with motherhood. Kamal is hardly ever there and she feels more and more isolated. In the grips of severe depression Caroline flees back to America, leaving Asha behind.

Ten years later …

Caroline recovered from her illness, is consumed by thoughts of the daughter she abandoned. Desperate to find Asha, she reunites with Kamal, intent on tracking her down. Will they ever be able to find their lost daughter? If they have any chance, they must confront the painful truths of the past and a terrible secret that has been kept for many years, until now.

A heart-breaking and beautifully written story of loss, secrets and the strength of a mother’s love against all odds. If you enjoyed Diane Chamberlain and Lucinda Riley then this book will find its way into your heart and stay there. 

My Thoughts:

The main premise of the book, child trafficking and prostitution, is rather relevant and important for everyone to be aware of. The story focuses on that when Asha is kidnapped and sold away. Well, going back a little, the story starts of by introducing us to Kamal and Caroline, going back and forth in time to give us insights into them and Asha, their in the present time. The story also consists of some other very important characters, one of them being Janiki, Asha’s foster sister and a kind of mother figure.

The author has brought out the plot decently, but there is a lot of repetition and this forced me to lose interest in the book a little. Once a point is emphasised, there is no need to keep talking about it again and again. This was a major deterrent. Other than this, the characters were well developed with a good amount of depth. All the players had a role to play and the author has done some amount of justice in her description of India. On one side she has shown us the glamorous parts, or what people assume it to be, and on the other she has brought out the underlying truth behind most of the glamour surrounding the country. It is not as exotic as most foreigners seem to think and this is emphasised through Caroline’s character who has a love-hate relationship with the country, starting off with a romanticised notion since her childhood.

The story progresses to focus on Asha’s life after her parents leave her to grow up with her foster parents (though foster isn’t exactly the right word. They are a family who take her in and love her as much as her parents, sometimes even more). Set in Madras and Bombay, the author brings out some harsh realities, forcing the reader to pause and think. Some of the scenes have been described very well and the attention to detail in them makes up for the negative points. It is also clear that a good amount of research has gone into this book and that makes the information more authentic and believable.

The story is filled with heart-break but brings out the importance of family and the lengths to which people will go to rescue the ones they love. It also shows us the ways a persons ideas can affect and influence their decisions. I recommend this book mainly for the plot line and idea that the author is trying to portray and make us aware of.

Get the book on Amazon at:

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Review: Delilah Dusticle and the Cursed Tempest by A. J. York

Author A. J. York is back with another book in the Delilah Dusticle series. I was offered a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

About the Book:

In this exciting instalment, Delilah Dusticle and the Dustbusters travel to the vibrant and mystical land of India. On arrival, they are tasked with a quest to overcome a powerful curse and save a life. It soon becomes clear that it is Delilah, who must find the strength and the power to defeat the curse. This is the third in a series of stories following Delilah and the Dustbusters on adventures around the world. Get ready to join the fun and experience the magic!

Find the book at:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Delilah-Dusticle-Cursed-Tempest-Adventures-ebook/dp/B01F6KY2XE/

On Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29988366-delilah-dusticle-and-the-cursed-tempest

My Thoughts:

This is a rather short novella about Delilah’s adventure in India. The story is fast paced and there is not a single moment in which you are likely to feel as though the author is beating around the bush. It is a simple, fun filled adventure where Delilah and the other Dust busters go off to save he world, or more like a girl from the clutches of a powerful and cursed storm. We once again meet all the wonderful characters from the previous books and it feels as though it is a reunion of old friends. The author leaves us with a taste of what is to come in what might be the final book of the series. The author has managed to capture the essence and beauty of India as well as the heat! The descriptions of the transport systems, the train station etc were spot on.

A delightful short story for fans of the series, this is a perfect book for young readers. It is easy to understand and is comparable on some level with the Faraway series and many others by Enid Blyton. I strongly recommend this book and the others in the series for youngsters starting out to read or still too young to pick up a book. It can be read out to them. The perfect bedtime novel.

Book Review: Running Home by Lizzie Steel

About the Book:

Running Home by Lizzie Steel

After a last minute decision to accompany her parents as they emigrate, Lady Clara Reynolds arrives in India. So intent on running from her past, she is barely aware of where she is running to. Beautiful and compassionate Lady Clara quickly attracts the attention of Sachin Borah, a local plantation owner, and after he kills a deadly snake to save her life, he has her attention too.

Set in the beautiful hills of Kerala, their mutual fascination quickly blossoms into much more. Surely it’s impossible for two people from such different worlds to have a relationship, but how can they stay apart when feel so strongly connected?

My Thoughts:

A riveting story, it explores emotions to a great depth and how strong the bond of love can be between two people. Love is the major emotion that is described or addressed. The story follows Lady Clara, who accompanies her parents back to India, where her father was from. Her mother spends her time being rather unhappy with the situation and the country at large but Clara and her father share the same love for the place. For Clara, it is love at first sight and the tea plantations and beauty of the place only add to her feelings. Bring in the handsome Sachin Borah into the picture and the author has a wonderful recipe for gossip, love, disaster and family, all thrown into one.

The author has brought out the various emotions of each character and has given such depth to each of them that it is difficult not to fall in love with them. The vivid descriptions of the place and the emotions portrayed will draw the reader right into the story. The author goes on to show that love has no boundaries, portraying the same in a very non cliched manner. The language is crisp and beautiful, as beautiful as the words used to describe the place and emotions. The author also brings into picture, the concept of society and how it thinks. This is portrayed really well and is quite easy to relate to.

I know that I probably sound like a broken tape recorder on repeat, continuously talking about the emotions, but the story will draw you in and once inside, there is no going back. It becomes very difficult to put the book down and one can only stop at the end when there is no more to read. It is difficult to talk about this story without revealing it all and thus I will end my review with these last few lines to summarize. The story will bring tears of happiness and sadness to your eyes but the journey is worth it all. For all the lovers of romance or a good love story, this is the book to pick up.

Book Review: The Train to Pakistan by Khushwant Singh

About the Book:

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“In the summer of 1947, when the creation of the state of Pakistan was formally announced, ten million people—Muslims and Hindus and Sikhs—were in flight. By the time the monsoon broke, almost a million of them were dead, and all of northern India was in arms, in terror, or in hiding. The only remaining oases of peace were a scatter of little villages lost in the remote reaches of the frontier. One of these villages was Mano Majra.”

It is a place, Khushwant Singh goes on to tell us at the beginning of this classic novel, where Sikhs and Muslims have lived together in peace for hundreds of years. Then one day, at the end of the summer, the “ghost train” arrives, a silent, incredible funeral train loaded with the bodies of thousands of refugees, bringing the village its first taste of the horrors of the civil war. Train to Pakistan is the story of this isolated village that is plunged into the abyss of religious hate. It is also the story of a Sikh boy and a Muslim girl whose love endured and transcends the ravages of war.

My Thoughts:

The story has been narrated quite well and manages to capture the horror of the situation at the time of independence at the borders. The story is based in a small isolated village called Mano Majra where the most exciting thing to happen would be the stopping of a train. This would be watched by all the villagers. The village is also one where people from different religions live together and treat each other as equal.

Amidst all the peace, an unknown person steps into the village and slowly things start happening. First is the arrival of a ghost train in the middle of the night, following the arrival of a number of soldiers. This triggers various incidents leading to slow divisions between the people of the village due to religion.

The one aspect of the story which I felt was a bit out of place or rather did not seem to fit was the love story between a Sikh boy and a Muslim girl. There was no concrete development on this front and though I waited until the end to understand the point of this plot line, I could not find any. Also, there are a few times the story seems to move away from the main plot line and these side stories do not seem to fit with the entire idea. They just seem to be there without a reason.

In spite of the above, the story is well written and does get across to the reader the situation at the time as well as the hardships faced by people. It also shows us clearly, how the people were so easily divided when asked to choose and ultimately how religion started becoming a barrier between those whose families had lived together for generations.

I recommend this book to all as it outlines a part of the history of our country in an interesting way.

Buy link to Amazon.in (courtesy of the amazon associate program):

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Review: The Seeker by Karan Bajaj

About the Book:

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A violent encounter on the streets of Manhattan forces Wall Street banker Maximus Pzoras to confront questions about suffering and mortality that have dogged him since his mother’s death. His search for a mentor takes him to the farthest reaches of India, where he encounters a mysterious night market, almost freezes to death on a hike up the Himalayas and finally, finds himself in an ashram in a small drought stricken village in South India where strange things begin to happen to him.

But are Yogis who walk on water, do impossible poses, and live agelessly for 200 years the stuff of fiction or fact? Can a flesh and blood man ever truly achieve nirvana? Max struggles to overcome his rational skepticism and the pull of family tugging him back home. In a final bid for answers, he embarks on dangerous solitary meditation in a freezing Himalayan cave. Will Max penetrate the truth of human suffering, or is enlightenment just a new age illusion?

The SEEKER is both a page turning adventure story and a journey of tremendous inner transformation, a SIDDHARTHA for our generation.

Note: I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for an hones review. Frankly, I am glad that I came across this offer and took it up. At first I did not know what to expect but as I persevered to finish the book, I realized that it was indeed worth it. Read on to know my thoughts about the book.

My Thoughts:

This is an enthralling and gripping story of a wall street banker’s journey on his path to self discovery. Max, an American wall street banker, has been through a lot in his life and has come up from the depths of poverty making something of himself. A chance encounter with an Indian yogi on the street sets him thinking along the lines of yoga and enlightenment.

Max sets out to India seeking a teacher and through the journey he treks up the Himalayas and then down to South India. Almost freezing to death in the Himalayas and later almost starving during the Drought in the village he goes to in the South, all shape Max into the person he becomes in the end. Throughout the story the author describes the trials he faces and how he seeks to overcome them. This is done beautifully without sounding far-fetched in any way. If you have any idea about the author’s background, it is easy to see that he has used some of his experiences in life to describe various incidents in the story.

The story is packed with adventure as Max treks up the Himalayas and then ventures down to South India with a stop in Mumbai along the way. The author brings out various lessons through the story without sounding as though he is preaching. The reader can learn a lot about how yoga and meditation can help one relax and be at ease through this story. The author’s style of writing is wonderful and he has woven a story that is ripe with adventure and learning. The reader will definitely feel as though he/she is personally experiencing what the characters in the book are and this is just an example of how strong the descriptiveness of the story is.

If I continue on this path, I will end up revealing a lot about the story which is not fun. So instead, I will stop here and just end my review with a strong recommendation to read this book. Who knows, you may also be inspired to follow the road to self discovery or at least take up yoga and meditation for the peace of mind and soul.

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