Friday, July 18, 2014

Book Review: Kingdom Come by Aarti V Raman

Good day ppl !



Yes, another Book Review after a long time.

I got this book from the author Aarti V Raman, courtesy Sundari praising my reviews sky high to Aarti. So I read the book taking my own sweet time & more of my sweet time reviewing it :p
If you read Aarti's mail & her introduction in the book, her enthusiasm is INFECTIOUS. Makes you smile & do her bidding. Sorry Aarti for keeping you waiting.


IED, dead eyes, rubble, fuse, silver gray eyes, heaven, long legs, insane hatred, detonation wire, C4, shrapnel, dead, FUBAR, heart called organ, MI5, precision, technology, sensuous, twin assault, sanctuary, red flecked hair ends, rippling muscles, death-wish cigarette, ....

These words or in technical terms-Tags run around in your mind when reading this book.

The story:
How do you kill a man with no Achilles heel? You cut off his foot - Tom Jones
This line got me hooked !

Krivi, An ex army soldier who is the living-dead body caused by losing his lover in an Terrorist planned car explosion, is looking for revenge. He gets a lead about a orphan girl-Ziya who can be the terrorists sister. He jumps in to get close to her & get leads. Finds him falling for her and that she is innocent, but cant accept the love he feels. She is falling for him too. But as fate would have it, the only family & friends she has are ripped away from her by the same terrorist-The Woodpecker. She joins Krivi in uncovering and getting revenge from this mentally unstable ruthless being. With all these happenings, do these tourtured souls find solace & love in each other?

What I liked:
Exceptional writing and more exceptional research about everything. Aarti hats off to that. No wonder like you wrote in the Introduction, Harlequin Mills and Boon team waited for you to finish,re-edit the book. Felt as if you were a real ex army personnel to write so fluidly about military training, technology used, minds of terrorist, retrieval of data, bomb making and diffuse, Kashmir. I am sure readers got a brief intro to making a hand bomb ;) I want to go to Leh-Ladakh soon now & maybe streak my hair ends red too ;)

What I want more:
Loved the twists, human emotions clearly depicted via writing, really wicked revelations about the Woodpecker & Ziya's parents. I wish I could meet all the characters in real coz you portrayed them so clearly. But sometimes I wished I could run through the emotion depicting parts when there was lot of action happening. I would be gripping my phone when an action scene was happening and there will be detailing of how Krivi's eyes lashed, his grip,... I would be whispering.. Come on guys hurry up... you got milliseconds before KINGDOM COME ! :D

Thumbs up Aarti ! After a long time read such a fat book & loved it a lot. Keep writing & stay the same ! 
All the best.

Disclaimer: I received the PDF version of this book from the author for my honest review.

People here are links to know more & Buy the book:

Buy Links: 
Amazon India

Buy & read the book people. Aarti has many more books to her credit. Some more coming up. So try this one, till you start following her new releases.

Bye Tc.



Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Thoughts: Happiness is within, Love yourself first

Good day ppl !

Incidentally this thought is projected throughout this week:

Love yourself first !
Image source: http://d2tq98mqfjyz2l.cloudfront.net/image_cache/1396722377621327.jpg
I follow the Zen habits blog, and today post is on the same topic:
Pursuing Happiness When It’s Already Within You

Read a nice, thought provoking message on Whatsapp:
Ladies, girls, women: You all need to try this !

ARE YOU HAPPY  !

We are all searching for happiness.
In achieving this happiness our attitude in life plays a crucial role.

After years of hard & dedicated service to his Company, Ajay was being appointed at an elegant reception as the new Director.
It was a small function where his wife Anita , a Home Executive & some of the wives of the other persons in top management were also present.

In an adjacent room, Ann, the wife of the CEO of the Company, asked Ajay's wife a very odd & usual question;
"Does ur husband make u happy?"

The husband, Ajay, who at that moment was not at her side, but was sufficiently near to hear the question, paid attention to the conversation, sitting up slightly, feeling secure, even filling his chest lightly in pride & hope,  would definitely not publically lower or degrade her husband, would answer affirmatively, since she had always been there for him during their marriage and generally in life.
Nevertheless, to both his & the others' surprise, she replied simply;

"No, no he doesn't make me happy…"

The room became uncomfortably silent, as if everyone were listening to the spouse's response.
There was a sudden coldness in the air.
The husband was petrified.
A frown appeared on his face.
He couldn't believe what his wife was saying, especially at such an important occasion for him.
To the amazement of her husband & of everyone!

Anita sat up firmly & explained in a modest but stern tone to the other wives who were present;

"No, he doesn't make me happy… I AM HAPPY. The fact that I am happy or not doesn't depend on him, but on me.
GOD has granted each of us intellect & discretion to reason, interpret & decide.
GOD made me the person upon which my happiness depends.
I make the choice to be happy in each situation & in each moment of my life.
If my happiness were to depend on other people, on other things or circumstances on the face of this earth, I would be in serious trouble!

Over my life I have learned a couple of things:

I decide to be happy & the rest is a matter of 'experiences or circumstances' like helping, understanding, accepting, listening, consoling & with my spouse, I have lived & practiced this many times.
Honestly true happiness lies in being content"

Relieved & reassured, a smile was clearly noticed on Ajay's face.

Moral: 
Happiness will always be found in contentment, forgiveness & in loving yourself & others.
To truly love is difficult, it is to forgive unconditionally, to live, to take the "experiences or  circumstances" as they are, facing them together & being happy with conviction.
There are those who say I cannot be happy  :
· Because I am sick.
· Because I have no money.
· Because it's too cold.
· Because they insulted me.
· Because someone stopped loving me.
· Because someone didn't appreciate me.

But what you don't know is that you can be happy even though u r sick, whether it is too hot, whether you have money or not, whether someone has insulted you, or someone didn't love you, or hasn't valued you.

Being Happy is an attitude about life & each one of us must decide!

Being Happy, depends on U !

Some more posts on Happiness within:
Excerpt: Road to Happiness

Bye people. have a great Happy Week ahead !
Take care & share the Happiness !

Monday, July 7, 2014

Books:Tornado Giveaway; THE MALHOTRA BRIDE by Sundari Venkatraman

Good day ppl !

You must have read the Book reviews I wrote for my author friend-Sundari Venkatraman' books.
Read the reviews:
The Malhotra Bride
Double Jeopardy

So partnering with The Book Club, they have arranged for a Tornado Giveaways. Yeah right, GiveAways, participate and take them away :) I am sure, reading the reviews, must have tempted you to get these books.
So here is your lucky chance ! Grab it, I say ! All the best !




7th July, 2014

Sundari Venkatraman is the 7th Author in the Tornado Giveaway.She has decided to give 10 copies of her book to 10 lucky winners. To enter the Giveaway, see the bottom of this post. To see all the books that are part of the Tornado Giveaway - Click Here




WHAT IS THIS STORY ALL ABOUT ?


Click Here

Sunita Rishi’s just turned twenty, having completed her graduation. She wants to fly free as a bird, explore career options and travel the world. Does she have a choice when Mamma & Pappa insist on arranging her marriage? Born in a rich business family steeped in tradition, Sunita has a tough job on her hands. Can she stop the tide?

Tall, dark and handsome, Akshay Malhotra is the catch of the decade. The only son of Billionaire Raj Malhotra, he’s in a strange fix. His father’s keen that Akshay meets Sunita with marriage in mind. He’s too close to his parents to say ‘no’ for the preliminary meeting. And then he comes face-to-face with Sunita….

Will Sunita be falling from the frying pan into the fire when she agrees to become The Malhotra Bride?



GET TO KNOW HER 


Even as a kid, she absolutely loved the 'lived happily ever after' syndrome as Sundari grew up reading all the fairy tales she could lay her hands on, Phantom comics, Mandrake comics and the like. It was always about good triumphing over evil and a happy end. Soon, into her teens, she switched her attention from fairy tales to Mills & Boon. While she loved reading both of these, she kept visualising what would have happened if there were similar situations happening in India; to a local hero and heroine. 

Her imagination took flight and she always lived in a rosy cocoon of romance over the years. Then came the writing - a true bolt out of the blue! She could never string two sentences together. While her spoken English had always been excellent - thanks to her Grandpa - she could not write to save her life. She was bad at writing essays in both school and college. Later, when it was time to teach her kids, she could manage everything from Science to Mathematics and History & Geography. 

When it came to writing compositions, her kids found her of no help at all. All this changed suddenly one fine day in the year 2000. She had just quit her job at a school's office and did not know what to do with her life. She was saturated with simply reading books. That's when she got home one evening after her walk and took some sheets of paper and began writing. It was like watching a movie that was running in her head - all those years of visualising Indian heroes and heroines needed an outlet and had to be put into words. That's how her first novel, The Malhotra Bride, took shape. 

With the advent of self-publishing, Sundari is the proud author of three books as on today. 

To know more about her :  Blog | Facebook | Goodreads| Twitter


a Rafflecopter giveaway


Next Giveaway on 8th of July2014: Butterfly Season by Natasha Ahmed

Click Here to buy your copy of THE MALHOTRA BRIDE by Sundari Venkatraman

Click Here to buy your copy of MEGHNA by Sundari Venkatraman



Bye. Take care ppl ! Have a great week !

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Activity: Cupcake making class by Cute Cupcake Factory, Thane

Greetings Foodies,
I am sure most of our readers are.
How about some yummy desserts?

Cupcakes !



I personally favour cakes, pastries over ice creams, gelatos,...
So I was suprised & excited when a family friend called up on Saturday morning to check if I would be interested in joining her for a Cupcake making class. I liked the idea, plus it had 3 bonus points for me: 1) It was in Thane and 5 mins walking distance from my home, 2) It was a Saturday 3) In the afternoon from 2:30-5:30 when my son napped.

Perfect ! Frankly speaking I have always tasted cupcakes which you get in bakery shops. But the lovely, mouth watering ones with frostings I have only seen in pictures.
So I was pleasantly suprised when your Teacher- Shuchita Nayak, showed us how simple it was to bake the cupcakes and decorate with frosting.

After frosting, the line up of cupcakes, makes you droool :D


We were 14 of us that day. Suchitra started with introductions and explaining that we were going to make simple, yummy, no-fuss recipes that day. We made 3 types of cupcakes with around 5 frostings.

Yumm, 3types without frosting

There was the
-Classic Vanilla Cupcake
Classic Vanilla cupcakes, hot just out of the oven

-Chocolate Cupcake

-Red Velvet Cupcake

Red Velvet, they say is a Rage now!

The Selling point of the class
-Shuchita is a very experienced in bakery. She has tried, tested lot of methods, researched online, tells you the science behind basic things, bakes all the time. Is ready to learn from her students all the while.
Shuchita, hands on training

-She gave out basic tips which can literally-Make or Bake your cake :D Like why cakes become tough after they come out of the oven, why to maintain proportions given in recipes, oven settings.
Frosting with blue berry

-There were no hidden techniques or secret recipes here. You learnt the same thing she does with every cake.
Dont churn too much, after adding the flour

-She kept making it relevant & highlighting-Practise makes you perfect. Every time keep noting what worked and what didnt. Keep improving. Dont wander away & mess with the recipe or proportions until you bake some 5-6 perfect cakes. She let us be a part of the making process. So everyone was asked to stir, beat, whisk, frost.
Everyone gets to Frost ;)

-Told tips of how to make the recipes egg less too if someone wanted that.
-You get to take home what you bake at class.
My 1year old gobbled up the pieces, even with just 5 teeth, so you can guess how soft & yummy it was ;)
Thats how my Box looked. I promise to improve ! ;)


It was a fun class & you got to learn a lot. I was busy taking down notes like a college student.
Guess thats my habit, I do it mentally when travelling, this time I had pen & paper :D

All Smiles class, heady with the yummy smells of cup cakes

The Cute Cupcake Factory arranges classes almost on all Sundays. So follow them on Facebook, to get the next class. It can be about making Cheese cakes, Cream cakes, Breads, tarts,..... The list is an endless yumminess. Go for it !

Bye. Take care.
Check my Activity page to get a list of Activities to-do.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Travel: Jaipur-Bapu Bazar

Good day ppl !
Here is the last part of the Jaipur series.

Read more about Jaipur:
Travel : Jaipur visit in 1 day
Travel: Jaipur- Albert Museum and Birla Temple
Travel: Jaipur- Hava Mahal and Jantar Mantar
Travel: Jaipur-City Palace and Jaigarh Fort/Jaivana Canon
Travel: Jaipur-Amber or Amer Palace and Jal Mahal
Travel: Jaipur-Bapu Bazar


After an entire 2nd day of visiting on my to-visit places, We returned to our Hotel for the day.


The famous puppet show
 The Puppet show was in full swing. The puppeteers were singing English/Spanish/.. some language songs instead of the traditional songs. Later after the kids had dispersed I asked them why they did so. They said that is Marketing. Tourists cant understand our songs & they get bored. So we learn and sing their songs. These people can speak 5-6 languages & sing.
They were ready to sell the puppets for Rs 600 a pair. 

 Next was our last day in Jaipur. We had a flight to catch at 4pm. This time we googled for Radio cabs & booked one Metro Cab for our trip to the airport.

I had seen the sunset in Jaipur, so why not the Sun rise !
Got up at 5:30. Went to the roof.

Hues on the horizon, preparing for dawn

A waiter came by to check, told me all these haveli's/houses are now turning into hotels.
 Tourism is the Major occupation now here.

Aah here is the Sun, finally.
This is our Hotels tiny Gift shop. But the items were priced double/triple. Google & Make a list of what you would like to take back as souvenirs.



The to-be-bought items of Jaipur. Rajai's or soft quilts, block printed bedcovers, mogdi's. This was displayed in the small shop our hotel kept. Here they were higly priced. So go to local markets for good bargains.
We went to Bapu bazar on our 3rd and last day there. Took an auto there after haggling with one to come down to the correct price for the ride. Roamed around most of the market, window shopping for 1hour. Then after getting an idea of the prices of things I wanted to buy as souveneirs, entered 1-2shops. I had in mind the Jaipur speciality-mojari or the upturned sandals, earrings, necklaces, bedcovers. I kept away from leather articles. I wanted to buy the glass lanters too, seen in almost every houses, palaces, shops.. but didnt :( .
How do you transport it all the way to Mumbai without breaking it even in an aeroplane, my as always practical husband pointed out?

Sorry I wish I had clicked a snap of the items I bought. So if you dont want authentic jewellery or diamonds found in Jhaveri Bazar, please go to Bapu Bazar. Its like Mumbai's Dadar or Crawford market.

Long poooost. Evident why I took 18months exactly to write it :D

Hope it is useful to people going for a quick visit and want to see it all.

I would love to complete the Golden triangle soon. Let you know when I do.

Till then Enjoy your Travels !

Let us know if you have more interesting facts about Jaipur & if we missed any interesting places.
Bye. Take care