Book Review: The Art of Hiding

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Title: The Art of Hiding

Author:  Amanda Prowse

Page: 290 pages

Plot: What would you do if you learned that the life you lived was a lie?

Nina McCarrick lives the perfect life, until her husband, Finn, is killed in a car accident and everything Nina thought she could rely on unravels.

Alone, bereft and faced with a mountain of debt, Nina quickly loses her life of luxury and she begins to question whether she ever really knew the man she married. Forced to move out of her family home, Nina returns to the rundown Southampton council estate—and the sister—she thought she had left far behind.

But Nina can’t let herself be overwhelmed—her boys need her. To save them, and herself, she will have to do what her husband discouraged for so long: pursue a career of her own. Torn between the life she thought she knew and the reality she now faces, Nina finally must learn what it means to take control of her life.

Bestselling author Amanda Prowse once again plumbs the depths of human experience in this stirring and empowering tale of one woman’s loss and love.

Thoughts:  Nina McCarrick our lead is a housewife in her mid thirties living in a posh estate in England. She leads a luxurious life with her husband and two sons. One day her husband is meets with a car accident and dies. She finds herself in turmoil when she finds out that her husband hadn’t told her that they are nose deep in debt. She loses everything, their business, property, wealth and even her house. All she is left with is her two children to take care of. She has no money, no skills to carry on her life and yet she is determined to make it. Once again she finds herself in the modest house she spent her time as a child.

We follow the story from Nina’s perspective with a third person’s point of view. The story mostly revolves around Nina’s struggle to find her feet and nurture her boys after her husband dies. Her journey of transformation from a domesticated house wife to a strong independent woman is what makes this book thought provoking inspite of a common plot. What I didn’t like about this book are the parts where Nina’s relationship with other apart from her family did seem superficial.

I read a kindle copy of the book. The book is divided in 15 chapters. The language is quite simple and easy to understand. Over all the book has a common plot but Nina and her boys journey of starting from a scratch after losing everything is quite heart-warming.

Rating: 4/5

PS: Thanks to the author and Netgalley for sending me a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

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Book Review: Soulmate: A Novel of Eternal Love

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Title:  Soulmate: A Novel of Eternal Love

Author:  Deepak Chopra

Page: 290 pages

Plot: One of the world’s foremost leaders in the field of mind-body medicine turns his talents and vision to fiction with an absorbing, mystical tale of a love that conquers death itself…

Gifted young doctor Raj Rabban is about to have his whole world turned upside down-when a chance encounter on a subway introduces him to the kind of happiness he never thought possible.

But life with his true soulmate is cut short by tragedy, and Raj must undertake a courageous journey beyond the scope of his five senses to regain it.

Favourite Quote: “Whatever relationships you have attracted in your life at this moment, are precisely the ones you need in your life at this moment. There is a hidden meaning behind all events, and this hidden meaning is serving your own evolution.”

Thoughts:   I have enjoy watching speeches and video by Deepak Chopra and also reading non-fiction books by him. I quite like his philosophy and ideologies about mind, body and spirit. I was totally unaware that the author also wrote fiction until I came across this book at a library. I was immediately intrigued by the title and the author and had to pick it up.

In the book we follow Dr Raj Rabban who treats mentally ill patients. He is engaged to a self confident woman Maya and is soon going to marry her. One day Raj meets a gorgeous theatre artist, Molly on a train ride and is immediately drawn towards her. They end up spending a lot of time together to the extent that he starts cheating on Maya with her. He does feel guilty about it and comes clean to Maya eventually. Soon Maya and Raj call it an off. An unfortunate accident takes place and Molly is no more. But Raj can still see her, feel her and talk to her. She guides him, because she lives within him, as a soulmate.

I quite believe in the concept of souls travelling and evolving together over lifetimes. When I picked this book up I thought some new avenues will open up in this area and I will learn something more.  Sadly, I was met with disappointment.

Firstly the plot took a lot of time to build up. The way the story unveiled was quite slow and dialogues rather awkward. I honestly didn’t connect with any of the characters. Their portrayed personalities and the way they acted were quite off. Maybe the author wanted to point out that one breaks free on encountering one’s soul mate, but it didn’t come across convincingly.

I understand that the author wanted to convey a love that is beyond the worldly measures that is why Raj seeing Molly while was engaged to Maya was narrated so lightly but it didn’t sit well with me. Also, Maya inspite of being portrayed as a strong woman forgave Raj so easily and accepted him.  I didn’t like the unfaithfulness and dishonestly being justified by the author.

What I liked about the book were a few philosophies which were very thoughtful and it made me think. Book highlights for me were the parts where Raj started treating his patients with Molly’s help and his spiritual evolution, using unusual techniques.

The takeaway from the book was quite less compared to the efforts one has to take to read the entire book. By the end of the book I was left with confusing feelings about the book. I was trying to like it because of my fondness for the other but I simply couldn’t. Overall the book didn’t meet what was expected out of it. I would prefer to stick with reading the non-fiction books by this author.

Rating: 3/5

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Book Review: The Wrath and the Dawn

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Title:  The Wrath and the Dawn

Author:  Renne Ahdieh

Page: 395 pages

Plot: One Life to One Dawn.

In a land ruled by a murderous boy-king, each dawn brings heartache to a new family. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, is a monster. Each night he takes a new bride only to have a silk cord wrapped around her throat come morning. When sixteen-year-old Shahrzad’s dearest friend falls victim to Khalid, Shahrzad vows vengeance and volunteers to be his next bride. Shahrzad is determined not only to stay alive, but to end the caliph’s reign of terror once and for all.

Night after night, Shahrzad beguiles Khalid, weaving stories that enchant, ensuring her survival, though she knows each dawn could be her last. But something she never expected begins to happen: Khalid is nothing like what she’d imagined him to be. This monster is a boy with a tormented heart. Incredibly, Shahrzad finds herself falling in love. How is this possible? It’s an unforgivable betrayal. Still, Shahrzad has come to understand all is not as it seems in this palace of marble and stone. She resolves to uncover whatever secrets lurk and, despite her love, be ready to take Khalid’s life as retribution for the many lives he’s stolen. Can their love survive this world of stories and secrets?

Favourite Quote: “Some things exist in our lives for but a brief moment. And we must let them go on to light another sky.”

Thoughts:   There was so much hype created around this series that I had to read it. This is a fantasy fiction based in the kingdom of Khorasan. The Caliph of Khorasan, an eighteen year old king is considered a monster. He takes in a new bride every night and has her executed the next morning. Sharzad our female lead has lost her dear friend to this inhumanity and decides to take revenge for her death. Sharzad volunteers to be the next Calipha of Khorasan. The night after they are married, Sharzad narrates an enticing story to the Caliph and decides to reveal the end only on the next night. This is how she manages to survive night after night.

But nothing is what it seems like to Sharzad. She decides to get to the bottom of the truth of why the women are being murdered at dawn. The relationship between Khalid and Shazi builds, from hatred to empathy to love. Their love story is weaved by creating beautiful situations,with beautiful words. There were few phrases where reading once was just not enough.

Apart from the main leads I loved Despina’s character. She is Shazi’s hand maiden and so witty and quick. The other important character was of Tariq, an old friend/lover of Shrazad is determined to kill the Caliph and set Sharzad free. But the question was if Shrazad really wanted to be set free?

The plot reminded me of the Arabian nights. But there is much more to it. More than the plot I loved the way the story unfolded. The writing is what I liked the most about the book. Some people might be of an opinion that it was too flowery and over written but for me the writing is what made this book beautiful. I loved Sharzad’s character. She is so self empowered, determined and fearless. When her heart and mind were conflicted about Khalid, I struggled too. I was basically transported to Khoransan every time I was reading the book. Towards the end there is a little magic that comes into picture. Hopefully we will see more of it in the next book.

I am almost done with ‘The Rose and the Dagger’. Will be reviewing it soon.

Rating: 4/5

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Unboxing- ‘The Hitlist’ Fab Bag Nov’17

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Hi Wanderers, I received my Fab Bag on the very first day of the month. For the women who are confident, fierce & unapologetically themselves, the ‘Hit List’ Nov’17 Fab Bag has Makeup & Beauty products to match up to your energy.

I received a ‘Hologram’ bag which is trending currently. I loved the bag. This is one of the best bags I have ever received from Fab Bag. The bag contained 5 products. Let’s take a look at them one by one.

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  • The Nature’s Co Jasmine Sugar Body Scrub (Rs.425/- for 50g): This sugar body scrub is enriched with jasmine oil and is suitable for all skin types. It removes the dead skin and sooths the irritated skin. It claims to help get rid of tan and stretch marks. Since it is an oil based scrub, the product is not supposed to be used on wet skin. It will show better effects when used on a dry skin. The fragrance lingers on the skin for a while. This is a travel sized product.

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  • Kronokare Bash the Gloss Moisturizing Face Cream (Rs.292/- for 15g)- I received a sample size of the Kronokare face cream. The size and the packaging are perfect for the winter travels. The cream feels light on the skin. The best part about Kronokare products is that it is natural and sulphate free.

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  • Bella Voste Ulti-Matte Chubby Stick – Full size (Rs.499/)– The shade for this product was up for choice. I went ahead and booked the shade 01 Rose Crush shade since I was looking at a new shade to wear for daily use. It gives a creamy texture on application. The lipstick lasts for about 4 to 5 hours. The lipstick is infused with Vitamin C & E making the lips smooth and velvety.  This is my favorite and the only full sized product in the Nov Fab bag.

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  • Fadlor Naturalich Exotic Herbal Infusion Shampoo (Rs.100/- for 30ml)- This is again a sample size product  in the bag. The herbal infusions in the shampoo make it more exotic. I yet have to try this product

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  • Aroma Treasures Aloe Vera Gel (Rs.64/- for 30ml)-  This aloe vera  gel can be used as a moisturizer. It also works well on acne prone skin. The glow after applying any aloe vera based face product is quite evident. I tend to use more of aloe vera based products in winter and I am so glad that this was a part of my fab bag. I wished that a full size of the product would have been included in the bag.

In all this bag contained five products out of which 1 was full sized and 4 were sample/travel sized products. The total value of this bag is Rs 1378/-. You can buy it here.

 

 

Book Review: The Sialkot Saga

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Title: The Sialkot Saga

Author: Ashwin Sanghi

Page: 588 pages

Plot: ‘When it’s a question of money, everybody is of the same religion.’

The trajectories of Arvind and Arbaaz, both ‘businessmen’ of a kind whose lives are unwillingly intertwined, ricochet off one another while they play out their sinister and murderous plots of personal and professional one-upmanship, all the while breaking every rule in the book.

Both are unaware that what they seek and fight over is the very obstacle in realising an ancient secret that dates back to a time long forgotten.

And yet, at the heart of it all, there lies tenderness… and pathos… and blood… and rare moments of an almost exalted happiness. So, can it be that a man is both sinner and saint, victor and victim, black and white?

Ashwin Sanghi, master storyteller and spinner of yarns, weaves together threads of the past and present, fact and fiction, history and mythology, business and politics, love and hatred while dangling you ceaselessly over the cliff with this chilling multi-layered narrative, keeping you guessing till a totally unguessable end.

And you’re left wondering whether it’s a matter of faith… or fate?

Favourite Quote: “What lies behind you and what lies in front of you, pales in comparison to what lies inside of you,”

Thoughts:  I have wanted to read this book since its release and finally I did. I am a big fan of Ashwin Sangi’s books. Inspite of his books being fictional, his research is through. I admire his style of seamlessly blending fiction with history.

Like all his books, this one too is based in different eras. The historic era mentioned in the book starts from Ashoka’s empire, proceeding to the other kings and their kingdoms. The second era starts from the times of the India-Pakistan partition and progresses across the lives of our two lead protagonists, Arvind and Arbaaz, between the year1947 to 2010.

The plot revolves around overly ambitious and power hungry Arving and Arbaaz. Arvind is brought up in a Marwari business family in Calcutta. He has a knack of business since a young age. He rises with his risky and instinctive buying and selling businesses and becomes one of the most renowned businessmen in the country. On the other hand Arbaaz has seen struggle since childhood, being from a under privileged family. He joins the underworld under the guidance of Abdul dada and a few friends and finds his way up to the pinnacle. Both their personal and professional lives are intertwined.

Majority of the book is focused on the lives of these two characters who carve their different paths to make their mark on the world. The plot has a lot of twists and turns, some unbelievable coincidence (a little more than one can fathom) the one mentioned in the epilogue being the most coincidental.  The characters are very well developed. Each character’s actions were justified and were in sync with the events. The partition period was narrated descriptively giving a proper understanding of the flow of events. But in my opinion the historic era lacks it’s due and it could have been elaborated a little more. The writing and the story line as usual was very captivating. The book is almost 600 pages but I did not mind it at all.

Over all, the book is a historical fiction with a quest to uncover a secret, towards the end.

Rating: 4/5

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Book Review: Zero Debt: Break the Debt Cycle and Reclaim Your Life

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Title: Zero Debt: Break the Debt Cycle and Reclaim Your Life

Author: Neeraj Deginal

Page: 112 pages

Plot:  “Yes, being debt-free is POSSIBLE. If I could do it, then, anyone can do it!”Neeraj Deginal

Zero Debts – Break the Debt Cycle and Re-Claim Your Life, is about the author’s ten-year long journey from going neck deep into debt to being absolutely debt-free.

In this book you will learn:

How the author got into debt (circumstances)
How being in debt paralyzed cognitive decision making
How even simple day to day life became complicated
The thought process applied by the author to analyse his situation rationally
Systematic steps taken by the author to become and stay debt-free and the dilemmas faced during execution
Further actions taken to simplify life and plan for a better life

This book seeks to inspire the reader to become debt-free, which eventually leads them to total freedom, be it, financial freedom, emotional freedom or freedom from stress.

Thoughts:  Today in the world of EMI, credit cards and the desire to posses various luxuries, the possiblity of an individual staying debt free is slim. The author in his book ‘Zero Debt: Break the Debt Cycle and Reclaim Your Life’ shares his personal experience of getting into a heavy debt cycle over the years and eventually breaking free from it.

The author starts by highlighting the fact that how families and schools fail to teach kids about managing finances since they are provided for and never have to do so until they start earning. Likewise, the author himself started to manage finances once he started his career. He took various loans to afford a lifestyle and got neck deep into debt.

In the latter half of the book he discusses various ways and methods he adopted to overcome the debt crisis. The methods are very practical and can be adopted by most of the individuals who want to break the debt cycle.

A person with a limited knowledge of finance will be able to read and understand this book. This book is written in a simple language which can be understood by any individual who is struggling with finances and is looking for good advice.

Ratings: 4/5

PS: Thanks to the author and The Book Club for sending me a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

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Unboxing- ‘Steal the Limelight’ Fab Bag Oct’17

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Hello Wanderers! The festival of lights is here. Diwali is one of my favorite festivals because it means happy people around, a lot of yummy food, some quality family time, lots of gifts and shopping. ❤

I hope you all are having a wonderful Diwali. This month I received my Fab Bag on 15th Oct. The theme for this month’s Fab Bag is ‘Steal the Limelight’.

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I received a shimmery gold pouch which perfectly goes with the theme and the festive mood. I received 4 products in my bag.

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  • Mond’Sub Gold Facial Mask (Rs.250 for 60gm)- The mask looks like melted gold. This collagen mask is meant to moisturize the skin along with brightening and tightening it. This gold facial mask is a perfect fit for this bag.

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  • Kronokare City Detox Face Wash (Rs.150 for 30ml)- I have tried shampoo from Kronokare earlier. The best part about this brand is that all the products are sulphate free and organic. This product consists of peppermint, lavender and grapefruit oil. The facewash lathers well. It is a travel size product.

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  • Yuana Premium Hair Oil (Rs.337 for 50ml)- I am not much of a hair oil person and haven’t tried it yet. Hopefully I will try it soon. This oil is a mixture of seven oils. It has great fragrance. But I feel it is a bit expensive.

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  • Sugar Arrested For Overstay Waterproof Eyeliner – 01 I’ll Be Black (Rs.699)- Few products from Sugar Cosmetics were up for choice. They offered various lipsticks, glosses and eyeliner. I went ahead and picked this eyeliner since I had tried their lipsticks and glosses earlier. I loved the eyeliner. It is a felt tip. The liner is long lasting and is waterproof.

 

In all I am happy with this month’s Fab bag. The total value of this bag is Rs 1236/-. You can buy it here.

Let this Diwali bring light, wealth and prosperity in your life…

Once again wishing you all a very Happy Diwali and a Prosperous New Year!

 

 

Book Review: Then The Doorbell Rang

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Title: Then The Doorbell Rang

Author: Capri Jalota

Page: 364 pages

Plot:  One fine morning, Jane wakes up and stands upon the ledge of her 18th floor flat in Dubai Marina. Till a few years back, she was everything that would make anyone jealous – beautiful, rich and successful. But then the wheels of time turned. Today, she is miserable and lonely. Would she get over a deception? Can she forgive herself for deserting a friend? Would she ever find true love? Will karma get the better of her or will life give her another chance to correct the wrongs?

Then the Doorbell Rang is about Jane’s roller-coaster journey as she explores the mystical phenomenon called Life.

Thoughts:  This book is about love, loss, pain, fears, remorse, and friendship. The book begins with Jane standing in her balcony, contemplating her life.  We follow Jane’s life, our key protagonist. In the book her life is carved out  from her childhood to her mid-thirties. Jane is daughter of a British mother and an Indian Indian father, who raised her in the city of Dubai.

At a young age, Jane’s mother eloped leaving a letter for her with a lot of confessions and advice based on her mistakes. From then on Jane decided to be a woman who wants to lead a successful career and wouldn’t allow love to come in the midst of it. . But life never offers what you want. So Jane meets Uday and married him within a period of two weeks form knowing him. She thinks this will work out. But life strikes again. The story picks up from then on.

I loved the imperfection of Jane’s character. She made big mistakes and was coward enough to face them but eventually came around and rectified them. Most of the characters were well depicted and relatable. The narration is from Jane’s perspective with few chapters as journal entries from a first person’s POV.

The plot is as uncertain as life.. The story maneuvers between past and the present.  I loved reading Jane’s journey full of more downs than ups. It is filled with so many unfortunate incidents that are too much to bear for any individuals. My heart went out for her each time. The language is simple yet mesmerizing. The book is long but I didn’t feel that it was dragged at all.

I would recommend this book to those who would like to read realistic life stories filled with highs and lows…

Ratings: 4/5

PS: Thanks to the author and The Book Club for sending me a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

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Book Review: The Indestructible Brand

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Title: The Indestructible Brand: Crisis Management in the Age of Social Media

Author: Venke Sharma, Hushidar Kharas

Page: 172 pages

Plot:  Whether or not your brand is on social media, your consumers are. They are continuously sharing their good and bad experiences about your brand. Most brands are not prepared to deal with negative feedback which, if ignored, can spiral into a crisis. This book seeks to aid brand and business owners to structure organizations to be crisis- ready. Creating a crisis squad and a crisis playbook, envisioning various scenarios that can occur, and what the brand’s response should be are some of the areas the book delves into. It also recommends preventive measures that can save brands from social embarrassment, and social listening strategies that can alert organizations to a problem before it becomes a crisis. When everything else fails and a crisis is at hand, the focus shifts to executing the playbook, turning the conversation around leveraging evangelists and influencers. Once the crisis has ended, it’s time to audit the playbook and close the gaps, as well as evaluate financial or reputational damage done to the brand, and see how quickly one can recover. 

Thoughts:  I came across this book while browsing through the marketing shelf at Crossword and it caught my eye immediately. In today’s world social media is becoming a medium for consumers to voice their opinions and experiences. It becomes very vital for the brands to understand these mediums and address these customers on the social media platforms.

This book is about managing brand crisis that occur on social media The book offers ample of examples and case studies of various brands which have faced customer dissatisfaction, trolling and complains on social media. The book suggests various methods to manage such crisis and even prevent them.

The book is written in an easy to understand manner with a lot of solutions that can be adapted by the brands. It is simplified with reference images of various tweets, Facebook posts, etc. The book is not loaded with jargons making it easy to understand for a person not familiar to social media. The book is crisp and I was able to finish it in one sitting.

I would recommend this book to the marketing, branding and PR professionals and even the business owners to understand the crisis and take preventive measures even before its occurrence.

Ratings: 4/5

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Book Review: Who Shall I be Today?

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Title: Who Shall I be Today?

Author: Sunita Saldhana

Page:  64 pages

Plot:    Who Shall I Be Today?

A woman can never be “just” a woman. She is a million people in one person.

“Who shall I be today?” is a collection of poems that delves into what makes up a woman. It talks of a mother’s love and fears; a woman’s search for herself; the yearnings of the heart for that someone special. It tells of the hurt and pain that love brings, and the courage to pick up the pieces and start over again.

You will find tears and smiles, pain and pride. You will find fear and courage, nostalgia and anticipation. You will find woman in all her avatars.

“Who shall I be today” by Sunita Saldhana is something written from the heart. It is a celebration of womanhood. It is guaranteed to touch the soul of every woman who reads it.

Thoughts:  “Who Shall I be Today?”  is a collection of 57 poems penned down by Sunita Saldhna. The poems are about the various roles a woman plays in her journey of life. Right from the time when her young love flourished to picking up the broken pieces of her heart, from being a daughter to motherhood, from loosing herself to finding her path.

All the poems come from a space right from the author’s heart. The essence of womanhood is penned down beautifully with each poem being powered with emotions of love, fear, passion, pain, etc. The poems are written in simple language, striking a chord with every woman reader.

My top 3 picks from the collection would be ‘From Cygnet to Swan’, ‘Love Beyond Understanding’ and ‘Don’t Tell Me Not to Love’.

I would recommend this book to every woman out there so they can get be reminded how special is it to be a woman and cherish each aspect of it!

Ratings: 3.5/5

PS: Thanks to the author and The Book Club for sending me a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

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