27 April 2022

#BookReview Anywhere But Home: Adventures in Endurance by Anu Vaidyanathan

About The Book

Anu Vaidyanathan is the first Asian woman to complete Ultraman Canada: a punishing 10-kilometer swim, a 420-kilometer bike ride, and an 84.4-kilometer run. She placed sixth. Which is breathtaking. 

But what is your typical good Indian girl, super-nerd doing at the Ultraman? Anywhere but Home is the funny, heartbreaking, unexpected story of a woman who would not give up. As she followed her passion on the roads of Bangalore and across several Indian cities, coaches advised her to get married. 

She was stuck in sports facilities that lacked basic support systems, even toilets. If she wanted to compete, it would need to be on her own salary. All she could rely on were her own two feet and the seat of her bike. With self-deprecatory humor and characteristic curiosity, Vaidyanathan tells the story of how she found the triathlon, how she came to be training in one of the most challenging sports in the world. She writes of her many firsts in the Ultraman, Ironman, Half-Ironman, but also of motherhood and pushing the boundaries of what a body can do. 

My Thoughts

The first thing that interests me about the book is that is about a female athlete. In India where sports mean cricket, a female runner achieving her dream is a brilliant premise for a book.

The writing is simple, easy to understand, and did what it intended to do; motivate others. Anu Vaidyanathan painted herself with such honesty that touches one's heart. She is nerdy, fanciful, resilient, street smart, relentless yet so vulnerable at times. So many of us are like this in our twenties. That makes it so easy to relate to her struggles, challenges.

Anu Vaidyanathan wrote about her training period; training for 90 hour weeks, living in hostels, having limited resources for daily necessities, feeling like she didn't fit in this world.

She also mentioned her relationship with her parents and friends she met along the way. How she had to make hard life choices to survive and achieve her goals. Among all the hardships, she manages to remain humorous and not take herself seriously.

This book is a glaring example to motivate and achieve one's goal in life.

Book Links

Amazon India | Amazon USA

About the Author

Anu Vaidyanathan is the founder of PatNMarks, an intellectual property consulting firm. Anu received her Ph.D. in electrical engineering at UC Canterbury, setting the department and university record in twenty-six months. 

She has been teaching courses in computer architecture, innovation, and business policy at the Indian Institute of Technology, Ropar, and the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad. Anu is a regular speaker at forums on entrepreneurship, innovation, and leadership. 

She is also an endurance athlete representing India in long-course triathlon. She became the first Asian female to have competed in the Ultraman Canada triathlon, comprising a 10-km swim, a 420-km bike ride, and an 84.4-km run. She backed this up with Ironman Canada comprising a 3.8-km swim, a 180-km bike ride, and a 42.2-km run, four weeks later.

Author on the Web

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26 April 2022

Double-Edged Sword (Renegade #4) by J.D.R. Hawkins - #CivilWar #HistoricalFiction @JDRHawkins

The Civil War has ended.

Confederate cavalryman, David Summers, returns home to Alabama, taking his new wife, Anna, with him. Upon arrival, he understands how much the war has changed him and has scarred his homeland. Faced with challenges of transition, he learns how to navigate his new world, along with the pain and trauma of his past. He is also forced to confront his foes, including Stephen Montgomery. Their hatred for one another inevitably boils over into a fierce confrontation, whereby David is arrested.

Will the jury believe his side of the story, even though he is an ex-Confederate? Or will he be hung for his crime?

Book Links:
Goodreads * Amazon.in * Amazon.com

Read and Excerpt from Double-Edged Sword

David helped Anna down after tying the mule, and followed her inside. A lanky man who stood behind a counter looked up from the hotel register as they entered. David nodded to the man, led Anna into the dining hall, and sat down beside her at a small round table. Like before, the room was nearly unoccupied. Three Union officers sat in the far corner, drinking whiskey and smoking cigars. Two men stood near the back of the room. One was playing a fiddle while the other attempted to sing a slow ballad in a low, baritone voice. The room was bright with sunlight, and lace curtains hung over the long windows. A thin, balding gentleman with an apron wrapped tightly around his waist appeared, pencil and paper poised in his hands.

“How do,” he said softly. “What would y’all like to order?”
Anna smiled up at him, but he only stared back.
“Well,” she began, “what is your specialty?”
“And more importantly, how much is it?” added David.
The waiter laughed. “More than you can afford, I’ll wager!”
David chuckled. “We have two dollars. Bring us whatever that provides.”
He glanced at his wife, who glared at him.
“It ain’t Confederate currency, is it?” the man asked.
“Silver,” responded David.
The waiter grinned and walked off into the kitchen.
Anna was still glaring. “The money you earned in prison?”
David nodded.
“You should hold on to that, sweetheart. We might need it for something important.”
He smiled. “You’re important,” he answered. “You said you needed to eat, and I’m starvin’. What could be more important than that?”
The musicians began to play another melody, and the couple listened to the lyrics.
“We shall meet but we shall miss him, there will be one vacant chair.
We shall linger to caress him, while we breathe our ev’nin’ prayer.
When a year ago we gathered, joy was in his mild blue eye.
But a golden cord is severed. And our hopes in ruin lie.”
David couldn’t help but think of the loss of his best friend. The lyrics saddened him deeply, searing his soul, rekindling the painful remembrance of discovering Jake’s lifeless body on the battlefield. He drew a heavy sigh, and took his beloved’s hand.
“It’ll be all right,” she comforted.
He nodded in confirmation, relieved when the song finally ended and the musicians broke into a lively tune.

About the Author:
J.D.R. Hawkins is an Amazon, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling, award-winning author. She is one of a few female Civil War authors, uniquely describing the front lines from a Confederate perspective. Her "Renegade Series" includes "A Beautiful Glittering Lie," winner of the 2013 John Esten Cooke Fiction Award and the 2012 B.R.A.G. Medallion. The sequel, "A Beckoning Hellfire," is an Amazon bestseller and winner of the 2022 B.R.A.G. Medallion. "A Rebel Among Us," the third book in the series, is the recipient of the 2017 John Esten Cooke Fiction Award and winner of the 2022 B.R.A.G. Medallion. Double-Edged Sword is the newly-published, fourth book in the series. These books, published by Westwood Books Publishing, LLC, tell the story of a family from north Alabama who experience immeasurable pain when their lives are dramatically changed by the war. Ms. Hawkins has also published a nonfiction book about the War Between the States, titled "Horses in Gray: Famous Confederate Warhorses," with Pelican Publishing.  She is a member of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, the International Women's Writing Guild, Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers, and Pikes Peak Writers. Ms. Hawkins is also an artist and a singer/songwriter.

JDR Hawkins on the Web:

20 April 2022

#BookReview HACKSTER: The Revolution Begins by by Sankalp Kohli and Paritosh Yadav

About The Book

Vikram is shattered by his past and extremely distressed. Fueled by the universe of vibrations and his father’s legacy, he must now trigger a digital revolution that will leave India leaderless.

Arjun is the head of, a special unit, CIST, which victoriously has been set up by the President in order to tackle the growing menace of cyber threats.

Who is right and who is wrong? Who will emerge victoriously and who will be vanquished in this war on which hangs the fate of the world’s largest democracy. The lines are blurred…….

My Thoughts

The main attraction of any book is the storyline. The story is well thought and it is very much evident from the writing that the author had done his research. As it is a book about hacking, there is much technology-related staff and that is well described. Even a non-techie person like me can understand it well.

Apart from the thriller part, the Love Story between Vikram and Payal is giving a sweet break from all the mystery.

As the characters are concerned, Arjun is very well written and relatable.

This book is for the masses. Teenagers, youngsters will love the book. Whereas seasoned readers may find it a little over the top. For me, it is a perfect read when you are traveling.

Book Links

Amazon India | Amazon USA

About the Authors

Sankalp Kohli was born and brought up in Kanpur, Sankalp is an MBA Graduate from NMIMS, Mumbai. An entrepreneurial soul with an imprint of a perfectionist, he is a workaholic who believes in turning every single moment of his life into something constructive and fruitful. His earlier literary works, 'Because every Raindrop is a HOPE' and 'when I Found You, I Found Myself', have found great success with readers. 

Paritosh Yadav, has traveled and lived across different cultures and graduated from NMIMS University in 2013 with an MBA in the field of telecom technology. His enthusiasm for reading coupled with his fascination and passion for the ingenuity in designs and ideas inspired him to write his debut novel, Hackster. Writing since the age of 12, Paritosh has even been a blogger and a songwriter for his college's band. 

Sankalp Kohli on the Web

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Paritosh Yadav on the Web

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14 April 2022

Princess & Prejudice (Devgarh Royals #2) by Alisha Kay - #Contemporary #Romance @alishakayauthor


It is a funny, passionate, second chance Indian romance by the winner of the Amazon KDP Pen to Publish Contest 2020.

A not-so-fairy-tale romance!

They say opposites attract, but when Yuvarajkumari Jayshree Singh, Princess of Devgarh, and Dr Aryan Sharma meet, it’s more like opposites combust.
He thinks she is a bratty and entitled princess, while she thinks he is an uptight pain-in-the-ass, who needs to have the stick surgically removed from his rather delectable posterior.
When Aryan’s sister gets engaged to Jessie’s brother, they are forced to declare a reluctant ceasefire.
But the hostilities don't cease. Instead, they erupt in an unexpected and unlikely gush of desire and longing.
With their families set to merge, Aryan and Jessie need to decide if his prejudice and her pride can be set aside long enough for the love they feel to blossom. Or will they spend eternity wondering if they'd missed their chance at happiness?

Book Links:
Goodreads * Amazon.in * Amazon.com

Read an excerpt from Princess & Prejudice

Chapter 1


“It wasn’t my fault!”
“It never is! Her Highness Jayshree Singh is never in the wrong. It’s always someone else’s fault,” ranted Dr Aryan Sharma, as he paced up and down the centre of the maze in my garden.
I picked a piece of lint off my red Banarasi silk sari and tried to ignore him.
He had taken his coat off in his rush to play the hero and had rolled his sleeves up at some point during this never-ending lecture. The Patek Phillipe that I had gifted him when he qualified as a paediatrician glinted on his wrist. I wondered if he had ever realised its true worth. 
Probably not, considering that I had convinced his sister - who was my best friend - to pretend that it was from her, and since Nivy still hadn’t made it to the big screen at that point, Aryan had believed her claim that it was the most real-looking fake Patek Phillipe that she had ever seen in Devgarh market. The fact that his sister had spent all her meagre savings on the watch ensured that her doting brother wore the watch proudly, even though he was morally opposed to fakes of any kind. Which was a good thing. If he knew that it wasn’t his sister’s meagre savings, but my more considerable ones that had paid for it, he’d probably fling it into the palace pond.
The watch suited him, I mused. It was gorgeous, almost a piece of art. Yet, it was strong and sturdy, and very, very reliable. Just like Dr Clueless himself.
It was difficult to take my eyes off his hands, beautifully shaped and strong, but sensitive. It was easy to picture him tenderly cupping a baby’s head with those hands, and even easier to imagine him cupping my breast. I shook my head to clear it, and looked away, wondering why you couldn’t find a good breeze right when you needed it. My face felt all flushed and hot.
Aryan was still going on about what a brat I was, and how he was sick and tired of my pranks. At that, I raised my hand like a student in front of a teacher, knowing very well that it would infuriate him.
“What?” Aryan barked, stopping mid-pace with his hands on his hips.
I took a moment to appreciate the sheer beauty of him in his light blue formal shirt, tie askew and sleeves rolled up roughly, all six feet of gorgeousness glaring at me fiercely. Then I relegated that moment to the back of my mind and proceeded to infuriate him even more.
“Would you really classify my actions as a prank?” I asked politely.
He notched up the heat level on his glare. If it got any hotter, I’d turn into sheesh kebab.
“Wouldn’t you?” 
I pretended to think for a second and then shook my head.
“Not really. Pranks are for kids. This was more like a happy accident,” I said, with a sweet smile.
It was. A very happy accident that sent his girlfriend, Dr Arshia Thakkar, flying into the big fountain in the centre of the palace courtyard. Happy for me, at least. I managed to wipe that smug smile off her face for all of five glorious minutes, until Aryan rushed to her rescue, carrying her out of the fountain like a Bollywood hero. I was hoping he’d slip and fall on his ass, but the fates had never favoured me before. So why would they change the habits of a lifetime now?
I was forced to watch him set her down tenderly on a bench and coo over her until Munshi Ji led her into the palace for a hot bath and change of clothes. I had rolled my eyes at the drama. Hot bath, indeed. This wasn’t fricking Siberia. It was Devgarh, and we were in the middle of one of the hottest summers ever. The twit should have been happy at the dunking, instead of acting as if she nearly drowned in what amounted to exactly one and a half buckets of water.
Besides, I didn’t know why he was blaming me for it.
“Why exactly are you blaming me for your girlfriend’s clumsiness?”
I watched with interest as he gritted his teeth and took a deep breath to calm down. An effort that failed miserably.
“Arshia is not clumsy,” he yelled.
“You mean she was trying to swim the length of that fountain for fun?”
“Your dog pushed her in,” he accused, pointing a finger at me.
I stood up slowly and gathered the folds of my sari around me as gracefully as I could. Then I walked up to him and gently pulled his finger down.
“Don’t yell at me, Dr Sharma,” I said softly.
When he opened his mouth to yell some more, I put a finger over his lips.
“Zombie is not my dog. He belongs to Veer. And he didn’t push Arshia in. She tripped and fell into the fountain when she was running around like a headless chicken, for reasons best known to her.”

About the Author:
Alisha Kay writes funny, exciting and steamy stories, with spunky heroines who can rescue themselves, and hot, woke heroes who find such independence irresistible.
The first book in The Devgarh Royals series, The Maharaja’s Fake FiancĂ©e, won the grand prize at the Amazon KDP Pen to Publish Contest 2020.

Alisha on the Web:
Instagram * Twitter 


13 April 2022

#BookReview Becoming Mrs. Kumar by Heather Saville Gupta

About The Book

Julia Robinson’s bored. Her job at a top London ad agency is starting to feel a bit same-ish, more importantly, everyone but her seems to be paired off in cozy twosomes. Julia wants to shake things up—and to the horror of friends and family jumps at the chance of a new job in Mumbai.

Will she be able to navigate the potholes in the street, the glitzy nightlife of exclusive clubs and expensive cocktails, and the customs and traditions of a whole new world to find her way to Mr. Right?

My Thoughts

One of my friend who is book obsessed just gave the book to me from her collection. This is very suspicious as I know for sure she is super protective about her books.

I took the book and took me about 1 month to finish this book. It was like I don’t want to read it and I was bored so end up reading one or two pages.

Oooh God! I don’t want to sound rude, but this book is so dammed boring. I can understand the passion to share one’s love story with the world, but this book is uninteresting.

Apart from the boring part, this book also has the same cliché stereotype of how foreigners view India.

Overall, it is a disappointment.

Book Links

Amazon India | Amazon USA

About the Author

Heather Saville Gupta worked in London's top advertising agencies before fleeing England for a backpacking trip in 2000. She was seduced by the thrill of Asia and took up an advertising job in Bangkok before moving to India. She now lives in Mumbai with her husband and two children. 

Author on the Web

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06 April 2022

#BookReview Play with Me by Ananth

About The Book

Sid is a successful photographer in a boutique ad agency. He is single and has everything he wants - a great job, great colleagues, free-spirited, and a hassle-free life. But if there is one thing that has eluded him - it is love. Until the gorgeous, free-spirited Cara walks into his life. The two begin a charged affair that disrupts all his notions of love and transforms the way Sid thinks about pleasure. But then something strange happens - Sid finds himself falling in love with another woman.

My Thoughts

Someone gifted this book to me, and I am sure that the person hates me. I don’t want to sound rude and I have a little bit of idea of how difficult it is to write, but I can't help to say, I just didn’t like the book.

As of the characters are concerned, Sid is so poorly written. Like the author lost all interest to develop his character.

Cara is comparatively, better written as her motivations seem to be clear about her life and her relationship with Sid, however, she has no depth.

Not come to the erotic part of the book. The sex scenes are terrible. They don’t deliver anything sexy, rather some mechanical process. If the book is erotic drama at least gives some steamy and passionate sex in the book.

There was nothing in the book that I particularly liked; I just read it and asked
me why.

Book Links

Amazon India | Amazon USA

About the Author

Anantha is Chief Executive Officer of HarperCollins Publishers India. Ananth joined HarperCollins in 2015, after having spent over 18 years at Penguin Random House, most recently as its Senior Vice President for Sales. Before publishing, he worked at a bookstore in Chennai, India, between 1992 and 1997 where he discovered his love for books.

Ananth is a published author and photographer.

Author on the Web

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