June 29, 2016

My Light Bulb Moment!

My light bulb moment

~Journey from being a Biotechnologist to being a Writer~
College Life! Aah! One really gets to live the life of Riley when it comes to going to the college. It is more like getting one’s share of weal and woes. But doesn’t everyone want to have some or the other extraordinary experience during the college life that can be relived and cherished? Well, I had one and probably that will be remembered by me forever, if not cherished.

Post Class XII, it was the right time to jump on the bandwagon and start toiling for my career. I chose Biotechnology as my field of interest and readily decided to spend the five most precious years of my youth in the college. Unaware of what I would become, I started my journey in an entirely new direction. Like a bright- eyed and bushy- tailed student, I put in a lot of hard work and time to ace the test. And I had my share of joyous moments, adventures with friends and silly fights with the not-so-good people. Life was not at all bitter. And it was then when I had the bee in my bonnet about becoming a biotechnologist and working for the Research and Development Department of any blue chip company. But as the placements came I realized that I had bitten off more than I could chew. Research was not my cup of tea. But then what? I was clueless like never before. Things were falling out of place because I was about finish my post graduation. With such a weighty degree, I just had two options- either to opt for corporate sector or apply for PhD. But indecision failed my attempts to think logically.

I applied in one of the leading companies that offered Academic content to offshore students. It was like I became a content writer more by accident than design and that is how my light bulb moment arrived. Content writing had a bounded trajectory. Something was amiss. Amidst the detailed Biology and Nursing assignments, my interest for writing and playing with words was fading away. I wanted something that gave me freedom to express myself. And that is when I heard about a Publication that invited short stories and aimed at helping budding writers. I left no stone unturned and submitted my first story. Luckily, it got selected and I was published. The book was received with love and appreciation by my family and friends. Probably that was what I had been wanting- a break. Thereafter, blogging was in full swing. I wrote day and night. This was followed by more stories getting selected and getting published. To cope with the upgraded reading and writing skills, I indulged in reviewing books. And my education helped. I had never parted ways with English- be it School or College. The love for the language kept me motivated. But opting to be a full time writer would throw me on the breadline. Then I applied for the post of a teacher in a school and I got a second bite at the cherry; I was given English as the subject. My happiness knew no bounds. It was suddenly like the things had fitted perfectly in the jigsaw of my life.

But my memory is not like a sieve. The thought of literally wasting five precious years of mine in doing something that has not come in handy yet, makes me cheesed off. The odds, however, did turn in my favour and I am enjoying my life now. For everything else I just say- different folks have different strokes!

Book Review: Arjun - without a doubt by Dr. Shinde Sweety


Author: Dr. Shinde Sweety
Publisher: Frog Books
Rating: 3.5/5

Summary
“Fate is inevitable. But it is our actions and the perception that pave our path for success.”Much has been read and talked about the mythological characters. Much has been hypothesized. There are beliefs and there are myths. But what if these beliefs help in materializing the character from mythology? But would our perception change if we are introduced to the viewpoint of the characters themselves? Arjun was not born with a silver spoon in his mouth, yet he cherished his life. Probably he was the most admirable soul. He faced obstacles at every point of his life and always ended up burying the hatchet and striving to help others. Failing terribly in love, Arjun lived a life full of crests and troughs. “Arjun- without a doubt” is a book that exposes the readers to an untold truth; a truth that could be seen by Arjun, Draupadi and Krishna only.

This is a must read. Grab your copies soon!


My opinion
Personally, Karna is my favorite character from mythology. And the theme of this book caught my attention in a jiffy. Probably the fact that this book makes Arjun- the centre of attraction and discusses his perception of life caught my attention. All this while, Karna was assumed to have suffered the most in the hands of destiny. But who knew what emotional turmoil was within Arjun? The author has chosen a subject that is seldom dealt with. But somewhere the justice was not done with the characters of Mahabharata. Depicting Karna as a villain and emphasizing on the fact that whatever he went through, was just a figment of his cock-and-bull story, unlikable. Although I appreciate the efforts put by the author for crafting the plot so beautifully, yet I did not quite like the labeling. Beginning with the cover, it is mesmerizing. The color scheme and the title are very catchy. But wait, because something else is in store for you. The plot of the story is non-boring, relatable and nicely paced. The author has taken care to avoid long monologues and monotonous descriptions. The blurb is nice and insightful.

There is mythology, there is fiction, there is mystery and there is spiritual aspect associated as well. The plus point of the book is the lucid and easy narration which captivates the reader’s attention. The vocabulary is exemplary. I would like to compliment the author’s ability to use right words at the right time.

One of the drawbacks is the alignment of dialogues. The book lacks proper demarcation of the speeches and this creates a pause- where the reader might be left wondering who is saying what.

The new light, in which Arjun has been portrayed, is something to ponder on. Not only does this book provide an insight into his life but also gives the readers a chance to walk in his shoes.

Overall an unbalanced yet entertaining read with all the essential elements of a good story!

Best wishes to the author!


Drawbacks
There are some printing errors in the book. At some places, comma (s) is missing.


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Book Review: Emancipation by Suddhabrata D. Roy

Emancipation

Author: Suddhabrata Deb Roy
Publisher: Half Baked Beans
Rating: 3/5

Summary
“Sometimes it takes heartbreak to shake us awake & help us see we are worth so much more than we're settling for.”
― Mandy Hale

“Emancipation, as the names says, is a tale of freedom and liberation. The story revolves around Bankim, who belongs to a humble yet a small town. He has dreams; dreams that are not impossible or unachievable. But his wings have been clipped by his family and the clich├ęd tradition of following the herd blindly and opting for Engineering. 

Read more here.


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June 26, 2016

Book Review: Roots by Rahul Bhatt

Roots

Author: Rahul Bhatt
Publisher: Banyan Publishing
Rating: 3.5/5


Summary
‘Roots’ is an enthralling story of Ganesh, a priest and an astrologer, who tries his best to survive the odds and live a happy life but fails. It is then that he finds a solution to his problem and decides to share his grief with an unknown friend over the phone. But that is not all, for the story has other important characters too. With a little adopted child by his side, Ganesh meets Sarita and Mira. How are these two women related to Ganesh? Does he know about the relationship they share? What does the future has in store for the characters of ‘Roots’?

Grab your copy to know more.


My Opinion
“Every man has his secret sorrows which the world knows not; and often times we call a man cold when he is only sad.”
― Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

‘Roots’ is a heart wrenching novella that has a twisted plot and a good climax. The cover of the book is superb: subtle and somber; the subtle orange mixed with gloomy brown and a tinge of black- all adding to the overall impact of the title, which is very captivating as well. The typesetting and editing is fine.

The plot is gripping and the lucid narration acts like a cherry on the cake. There are frequent monotonous lengthy descriptions/ monologues and that act as a turn off; the setting of the scenes is relatable and gives the readers ample opportunity to experience every moment. The use of vocabulary is fine. Also, I did not quite like the idea of using present simple tense as it made the content confusing. I had to re- read certain paragraphs twice to infer the correct idea.

The author has crafted the characters beautifully and their roles have been given justice. The narration gives life to the emotions and that can be felt when turning the pages. There are grammatical errors though- frequently missing of the comma, etc.

Overall, this story is strong, emotional and intelligent piece of fiction which will definitely touch your heart.

A book that has to be read at least once!

Best wishes to the author!


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June 17, 2016

Book Review: Panorama by Shilpi Chaklanobis


Panorama: A collection of short stories

Author: Shilpi Chaklanobis
Publisher: Notion Press
Rating: 3/5


Summary
Mother Teresa has rightly said- Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.

‘Panorama’ is a collection of short stories that aim at touching the heart of the readers and making them realize the importance of living the moment and finding happiness in small nothings. The stories can be related with the day-to-day life and the feeling of empathy is sure to be felt.

Grab your copy to know more!


My opinion
Life is a continuous process but dare you say that everything works like clockwork. It is very difficult (sometimes) to get the ducks in a row and sail smoothly through the floods and tempests. ‘Panorama’ is one such book that offers an insight into different stories that have emotions and morals attached to them. The cover of the book is catchy. The title is well suited. The blurb is fine but the incorrect use of grammar leaves an overall negative impact. The font (style, size) is fine. I would like to compliment the author’s ability to finely tune all the stories and achieve a specific objective with every climax. For an instance, after reading ‘Wok’, I was instantly reminded of the TV commercial in which a child buys tongs for the mother. I had almost left the book on the table and had already made up my mind to read it after some time when the climax hit me hard. It touched my heart. The ending was fabulous- so creative and heartwarming. My special favourites include:

Wok- story that speaks volumes, strong plot and superb climax

The Thrist- beautifully executed, title could have been better.
Mirage- average story but superb modeling with the title.

The book lacks proofreading and editing. Time and again you can spot grammatical errors, typos and other errors for which I account the author responsible. This is because some of the errors are merely due to ignorance. There are missing commas and incorrect use of tenses as well. The use of vocabulary is also erroneous. For an instance: Ensuring not a single drop of tea in left into it; sari plates, etc. The correct expression for ‘raising the speed’ can be increased her pace or paced hurriedly. Frequently, the semi colon has been substituted with a comma and that makes the sentence ambiguous.

Overall, the book is a compilation of heart touching stories, with nice plot and a twisted climax (in some of them).

Best wishes to the author!


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June 06, 2016

Book Review: In the Shadows of the death by Sourabh Mukherjee

In The Shadows Of Death

Author: Sourabh Mukherjee
Publisher: Srishti Publishers
Rating: 3.5/5

Summary
Antoine Rivarol said,“ It is the dim haze of mystery that adds enchantment to pursuit.“

‘In the shadows of Death’ is a mysterious novella that tells the story of how twisted it is to solve the cases of murder. The book introduces the readers to a great detective of all times, Agni Mitra, who leaves no stone unturned in solving the cases and putting the culprits behind the bar.

The story begins with Sheetal Mehra’s murder and the investigation procedure follows next. When the grass seems greener on their side, the tables are turned as another murder happens and that baffles all in charge. For Agni Mehra, it is practically impossible to accomplish his goal in one fell swoop. But then, he can’t let go, can he? The story becomes fast paced when the murder keep on happening and the thread connecting all of them also connects the personal life of the detective. How does he plan his next action? What connection does he share with the killer?

 Read this novella to get the answers!


My opinion
“In the Shadows of the Death” is a fast paced mysterious story. The plot has all the ingredients that makes it a good pot boiler, in a chronological lineup. We are introduced to Agni, a meticulous detective, who is a whole bag of tricks and is known as a person who takes the bull by the horns. There are killings, there are clues there is some serious crime solving. The title of the book is catchy and dark. The cover could have been better. A cover with a single watermark (Excuse my unawareness for not knowing the exact word) and blend of pastel shades could have done the trick (probably). The blurb is precise and caters the intention of developing interest in reader’s minds. The space on the back cover has been utilized appropriately.

The font (style and size) is perfect. I would like to compliment Srishti Publishers for coming up with yet another successful title. The editing and proofreading has actually been looked into and that lifts the spirits of the readers. The story moves at a comfortable pace and the lucid language acts as a cherry on the cake. The use of vocabulary is exemplary, so much so, that at times I was forced to refer a dictionary. It was a great experience reading through the book.

The author has taken care and avoided any lengthy monologues and extensive descriptions. However, at times the flow of the story was interrupted because of certain scenes which I found unnecessary.

Overall, a good read! A light read for all the mystery lovers.


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Book Review: Infected With Life by A.J. Job Xavier

Infected With Life

Author: A.J. Job Xavier
Publisher: Leadstart Publishing
Rating: 3/5

Summary
In the world of real estate, Deepak is king, building on the legacy left behind by his farsighted father. He has with him, a bright youngster Arjun, whose ambition to grow big at any cost lands him in trouble with a lot of people. Luckose, Deepak's advisor and close friend is his pillar of strength. Deepak is also in constant touch with Annie, his classmate from the US college, who though happily married to Pedro a budding politician in Mexico, still finds time to involve herself in everything that her 'best friend for life', takes up. 

A young girl Aisha, hailing from riot ridden Ahmedabad, gets intimate with Gautam a dashing young builder. Together they plan and implement innovative housing schemes for the youth. Aisha however has to take on roles she had never even imagined, all for her love for Gautam. Life has many surprises for her, from becoming a 'Lady Killer' to turning a new leaf as the promoter of Aisha schools, a new way of life for the rural poor. Arjun is the originator of RealtyEx, a unique commodity exchange for the real estate which finds phenomenal support in Dubai and Almaty in Central Asia though he is shunned in his own country. 

Deepak and Pedro are forced to maintain their own protective armies, while backing Aisha to the full and even encourage her to go ahead with her revenge mission. Set among the exotic Mexico cities, the upcoming Central Asian countries, there is intrigue, lots of action, tender family moments as well as love that blossoms among the innocent ones.


My Opinion
‘In the social jungle of human existence, there is no feeling of being alive without a sense of identity’. ‘Infected with life’ is one such tale about four individuals who are in continuous struggle with life. In the race of proving their worth, they decide to stride on paths that can change the course of their lives forever. This is a heart wrenching novella, with a twisted plot and a good climax. The cover of the book is subtle but not catchy; the blend of pastel golden with black adds to the overall impact of the title. The title of the book is fine and it matches perfectly with the central theme of the book. The typesetting and editing is fine.

The plot is gripping and the lucid narration acts like a cherry on the cake. The setting of the scenes is relatable and gives the readers ample opportunity to experience every moment. However, the lengthy monologues and extensive descriptions about things, sceneries and other situations are monotonous. The use of vocabulary is splendid. The author has successfully justified the inclusion of every chapter though.

Another turn off that I could find was the introduction to so many characters, all at once. The readers might be forced to flip the pages backwards and re- read the introductions. So many characters make the content baffling.

The suitability of the title can be felt as we move further in the story because all the characters are, indeed, infected with life. There are many printing errors and some grammatical mistakes too. These can act like the speed breakers and interrupt the flow of reading.

Overall, this story is strong and emotional. A good read.

Best wishes to the author!


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June 04, 2016

INTERVIEW: Shreyan Laha~ author of 'Never Again'


On the occasion of 20,000 views on Lavender Orchids, here is an author interview that would help all my readers to know about this wonderful author. Go ahead, read and enjoy the conversation. Feedback/ criticism and suggestions are welcomed.

Hi Shreyan,


I am really glad to be interviewing you on this happy day.

1.     Tell us a little about yourself and your background?
I am Shreyan Laha, a final year student in Xavier School of Rural Management, XUB. I completed my graduation in commerce from Ravenshaw University, Cuttack. I hail from Jamshedpur – an alumnus of Loyola School, 2011 batch. Since childhood, I have loved creating stories but never found the courage to shape it up in form of a novel. 
Also, I love football and have a flair for learning languages- especially French.


2.    What were you like at school?
A child who used to help others! Ours was a school which was all-boys till 10th and then, the higher secondary was co-ed. I was liked by all during my younger yester-years. Everyone found me unique but I was hated by most girls in my higher secondary days as they found me hideous and creepy.


3.    What are your ambitions for your writing career?
To write one novel each in every genre and earn some gigantic accolades as time passes by! I’ve written one paranormal romance, the Adventures Beyond Existence, and a war thriller, Never Again. There is lot to be covered!


4.   Which writers inspire you?
There are many. First of all, it is Eoin Colfer. Artemis Fowl series is something which no fantasy lover can put down. Alistair McLean is also one of my favourites as he targets the toughest subject and his novels are really very insightful. My favourites from the classics are H.G.Wells and Rabindranath Tagore. Though I can’t read Bengali (even though I am one), I have read some of Tagore’s translated works. Both of these authors have a fine eye for everything, especially human emotions and changes in the global scenario.

5.   Give us an insight into your main character (referring to ‘Never Again’). What does he/she do that is so special?
There are two different time periods on which my novel is based. First, in World War 2 where the protagonist is Kasper Hartmann, a person of the Schutzstaffel unit of the Nazi army. The other is a historian by the name of Madhav Sarkar, who decodes the diary of Kasper Hartmann. The story of both these characters goes hand in hand. The special characteristic of Kasper Hartmann was the torture he went through and how desperately he sought a meaning for his life. On the other hand, the plus point about Madhav Sarkar was his dexterity while decoding and escaping various perils. Also, it was his resilience which set him apart.

6.   What are you working on at the minute?
I am currently working on a science fiction novel. Not many authors have touched upon this genre in the recent past hence, I would like to take it up as a challenge.

7.   What’s it about?
I would like to keep it as a secret. The only thing I can say is that this novel is based on a lot of research. I went through twenty five theory papers of various scientists to go on with this. I want to keep it unique and mysterious.


8.   What genre are your books?
War thriller and paranormal romance.


9.   What draws you to this genre?
I do not prefer being genre-bound. I like to experiment with genres and I would concentrate on whichever genre sells the best in the future. However, paranormal romance is a viewpoint which requires a lot of depth to delve into. War thrillers have plenty of action and surprises in store, and this is what I like to provide my readers with.

10.                     Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your most recent book?
For the characters of Never Again, the apt person who can play the role of Kasper Hartmann is Akshay Kumar. For Madhav Sarkar, the appropriate character would be Sharman Joshi, someone who can satisfy the role of a historian who has to engage in some action or the other, having a softer side.


11.                     How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?
By reading more and more books! Between the release of two books i.e. “The Adventures Beyond Existence” and “Never Again”, I had read 137 novels – both fiction and nonfiction.


12.                        What is the hardest thing about writing?
Make people convince that your work is worth their valuable time.


13.                     Do you proofread/edit all your own books or do you get
someone to do that for you?
I prefer doing it myself but considering time constraint which I’m burdened with, I think I need to change my decision. Also, paying a bit to get an in depth analysis of your work acts like a reality check.

14.                       How can readers discover more about you and your work?
I prefer playing with the market niche. While there are dozens of readers who long to get their hands on a book with the genre of romance, there will be readers who would prefer other genres. Normally, I seek readers of the genre I write in and approach them myself. After all, if “The mountain doesn’t come to Mohammad, Mohammad should go to the mountain.”

******

“The role of a writer is not to say what we all can say, but what we are unable to say.” And Shreyan has done justice with what is being said in quotes. Wishing you Good Luck for all the future endeavours!

Book Review: Guy on the sidewalk by Bharath Krishna

Guy On The Sidewalk

Author: Bharath Krishna
Publisher: CinnamonTeal Publishing
Rating: 3/5

Summary
Einstein said- If your head tells you one thing and your head tells you another, before you do anything, decide whether you have a better head or a better heart. ‘Guy on a sidewalk’ is a novel that takes you through a dilemma of deciding where to stay. Be it America or India, both have their own positives and negatives, but how does one feel when one decides to part ways with the country one was born in? This is a compelling read, for it highlights the emotional turmoil that Jay goes through. It is a story about his consistent struggle with the head and the heart; it is the story of his life and the continuous process of chop and change.


Read my opinion here.

June 02, 2016

Book Review: Never Again by Shreyan Laha

Never Again

Author: Shreyan Laha
Publisher: Dream House Publishers
Rating: 4/5

Summary

How many of us know history really well? ‘Never Again’ questions the mysterious death of some of the great political leaders and throws light on facts that are sure to make everyone jump out of their skin. The story revolves around a charcoal smeared diary that is won in auction by an inquisitive librarian. What follows next is the sequence of events that showcase corruption, politics and conspiracy.

Read more here.