Thursday, 26 May 2016

Cover Reveal: All of Me by Jonali Karmakar

Title: All of Me
Author: Jonali Karmakar

Length: 69 pages
Publication Date: May 29, 2016


All of Me is a collection of thirteen little stories that have been gleaned from real life as well as imagination. Exploring a range of genres, these throb with everything primal to human nature: fear, angst, joy, love, and longing. Some stories are designed to elicit smiles, chuckles, and maybe even a belly laugh or two whereas some are meant as a reality check. Universal in nature, each story provides a glimpse of what women empowerment or a lack thereof can mean in a person’s life.
From a small hamlet in India to the roads of Australia; from a mother’s betrayal to a daughter’s confession; from an extra marital affair to a same sex relationship learn for yourself the what, how and whys.

Originally written for anthologies and ezines, these stories have been revisited and updated for this new collection.  

About the Author

Jonali Karmakar is a fiction writer with a Masters in English. Writing is not just her passion but her way of dealing with life. She loves being able to escape into the worlds she creates. Everything that she writes becomes a part of her and she wants her readers to know the woman behind those words. In addition to being an educator, she works as a content editor for a local news portal. She has been providing editing, proofreading and translation services for the past few years.

Jonali’s work has been published in several journals, anthologies and poetry collections both national and international. An avid reader, she loves flipping pages of anything and everything on the table and reviewing the same on her blog Eclectic Moods. She feels that reading and writing are the flip sides of the same coin. Writing is her way of communicating with the world. When she’s not writing or teaching she loves to experiment with her paintings.

She has quite a few accolades to her name.

Contact the Author:
This Feature is a part of the Blogger Outreach Program by b00k r3vi3w Tours

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Rhythm of dawn chorus - Tan Renga

night rolled away
the street-sweeper's broom
deepening dawn sounds
© gillena cox

the broom-hand in trance 
rhythm of dawn chorus                © nimi arora

Prompt by and Shared with - 
Carpe Diem Tan Renga Challenge Month May 20th: "night rolled away" by Gillena Cox

Sunday, 22 May 2016

Blogging, Parenting, Nutrition... lots of fun - Horlicks #CatchUpOnGrowth

#CatchUpOnGrowth - the Indimeet that launched  Horlicks Growth+, discussed parenting issues, clarified many nutrition confusions, and as is common with all Indimeets, pampered bloggers and celebrated blogging.

The session started with a discussion among Dr Rajiv Chhabra (HoD of Pediatrics at Artemis Hospital, Gurgaon), Ms Satinder Kaur Walia (a psychologist), and Dr Jyoti Batra (Head Dietician at Batra Hospital). This discussion, moderated by blogger Natasha Badhwar, about nutrition for children and parenting in general was a very informative.

There was much to learn from the session. Here's lists of a few things I brought back with me...

Malnutrition has remained the same over the years, but obesity has increased. Worse still, parents are in denial.
Obesity is not only a health / medical problem. It leads to psychological issues for the child too, such as being bullied, teased, etc.

The many tips I am taking home on nutrition. Most of these are relevant, not just for children, but for everyone.
  • Food plays an anchor role in fighting illness.
  • Over-reliance on milk or dairy products is not good. (I really admired the way the panel was open to discussion. Dr Rajiv Chhabra admitted - and I don't remember this verbatim - that 'Science is a circle. The current circle is that milk is bad').
  • 450ml of dairy products in 24 hours is all that is required for a child over two years of age.
  • Decreased eating leads to anaemia. Anaemia leads to decreased eating... a vicious cycle.
  • How much exposure to sunlight do we need for Vitamin D?
    40 minutes a day, 5 days a week, with least possible clothes. Avoid sun between 11am and 4pm.
  • An average of 30% children need supplements.

Parenting tips -
  • Don't rely too much on written word (books, articles, online search, etc.). Instinctual parenting is just as important.
  • Access to too much knowledge can be a bad thing. Don't believe all that you read.
  • Try child-centric approach. That is, instead of forcing the child to eat what we want, try to give him the best nutrition in what he likes.
  • There are no strict rights and wrongs. Again, use your instinct.
  • Healthy food first, junk later - a rule that works if junk food is unavoidable.
  • When necessary, bargain with the child. The tip before this is an example.
  • The mantra of 'reward and punish' comes in handy in difficult situations.
  • Keep your head cool... easier said than done, I have to say.
  • Teach the kid that one eats for himself or herself. Don't let food become a way to throw tantrums.
  • Make at least one meal 'family time'. A way to be let go of the stress of the routine pressures of life.
  • Work on values of the child. The age-old values of respecting food, etc. make for ethically strong individuals. 
The one advice that I says it all...

Educate yourself, educate your child.

The tweets that kept chirping...

Next was the big launch that we were there for, and information about the product.

Discussing the many things that kids teach us...

Enjoying the chocolatey taste of Horlicks...

Horlicks to take home too...

Saturday, 21 May 2016

Trinity's exciting discoveries (Book Review - Zoe Kalo's Daughter of the Sun)

Title: Daughter of the Sun (Cult of the Cat series, Book 1)
Author: Zoe Kalo
Genre: YA mythological fantasy
Word count: 93,000 words
Release date: May 1, 2016

Trinity is a sixteen-year-old girl in an orphanage near London.

As the book starts, she is at a turning point in her life. She is consciously becoming aware of how 'different' she is - she never gets sick, her sharp senses, her exceptional affinity to cats, and more.

Now a mysterious female, who gives hostile vibes, is here to take Trinity to her long-lost grandmother.

Incorporating Egyptian mythology, the first book of the Cult of the Cat series tells a graphic tale of Trinity's discovery of the mysteries of her family and her destiny.

From the very beginning, I connected with Trinity. As she struggles within herself over her mysterious feelings, as she fights with the bullies in the orphanage, as she is taken to a world that is alien to her and yet is more of a home than the orphanage every was, as she discovers the many secrets of her past, her emotions are written so that one feels for her.

As I started reading this book, I had two different images in my mind. 
One was of Halle Berry in Catwoman. Well, that was the wrong image, though I do wonder where the Cult of the Cat series takes Trinity and if there will be a glimpse of the Catwoman as the story moves forward.
Another is Harry Potter. This is a given.
The fact that Trinity is an orphan, unaware of her realities, with a mystery surrounding how she happened to be in the orphanage is reason enough to think of Harry Potter. But there are no other glaring similarities between the two.

It is a book that keeps you interested with its' fast-paced fantastical story, and the emotional struggles of its' characters.

As the story of Daughter of the Sun ends, there is a closure to some mysteries, while others are left with a hint of more to come.
As Trinity gets engrossed in her new world, she doesn't lose connection with her old one. This leaves the reader with a lot more to look forward to in the next book of the series. 

With a hint of forbidden romance, Daughter of the Sun tells an engrossing tale the magical world of Goddesses, Egyptian symbols, and the Island of Cats.

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Cult of the Cat series blurb
According to ancient Egyptian prophecy, three feline goddesses—Bastet, Sekhmet, and Mafdet—would one day be reborn as triplets during a solar eclipse.
But someone—or something—separated them at birth. Because if ever they were reunited, they would unleash a blistering power that could destroy the world.
In an adventure where the past confronts the present, and blood, betrayal and secrets abound, the triplets face each other for the first time. And discover they’re the only force able to stop the evil god Apophis from enslaving humanity.

Daughter of the Sun, Book 1 - blurb
Sixteen-year-old Trinity was born during a solar eclipse and left at the doorsteps of a convent along with a torn piece of papyrus covered with ancient symbols. Raised by nuns in the English countryside, she leads a quiet life until she’s whisked away to the Island of Cats and a grandmother she never knew.
But before they can get to know each other, her grandmother dies. All that Trinity has left is a mysterious eye-shaped ring. And a thousand grieving cats. As Trinity tries to solve the enigma of the torn papyrus, she discovers a world of bloody sacrifices and evil curses, and a prophecy that points to her and her new feline abilities.
Unwilling to believe that any of the Egyptian gods could still be alive, Trinity turns to eighteen-year-old Seth and is instantly pulled into a vortex of sensations that forces her to confront her true self—and a horrifying destiny.

About the Author
A certified bookworm, Zoe Kalo has always been obsessed with books and reading. Reading led to writing—compulsively. No surprise that at 16, she wrote her first novel, which her classmates read and passed around secretly. The pleasure of writing and sharing her fantasy worlds has stayed with her, so now she wants to pass her stories to you with no secrecy—but with lots of mystery…
A daughter of adventurous expats, she’s had the good fortune of living on 3 continents, learning 4 languages, and experiencing a multicultural life. Currently, she’s working on a Master’s degree in Comparative Literature, which she balances between writing, taking care of her clowder of cats, and searching for the perfect bottle of pinot noir.

Connect with Zoe Kalo on the web: / Facebook / Twitter

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Saturday, 14 May 2016

A perfect vacation...

My perfect vacation...

Leisure and Laziness
Fun and Frolic
Excitement and Energy
Smiles in miles

The idea of a perfect vacation for me is full of paradoxes. And yet I think I am clear about what I want.
One pre-requisite for a good holiday is planning. I like my comforts, even if it means giving up on spontaneity once in a while.

One of my favorite vacations in recent times has been to Singapore.
I think the familiarity I have with the place makes it more comforting. Add to that the balance between doing the touristy stuff and being laid back that we managed to achieve, and perfect memories are all out there.

The Yatra was planned, tickets on International Airlines booked, hotels searched for…

After all the chaos of planning and packing, the first feeling of being on a vacation sinks in at the airport.

Click, click, click starts. 

The paintings on the wall.

The planes ready to fly. 

The view during take off.

What after all is a vacation if you haven’t seen as much through the camera lens as you have from your naked eye. Or do I wink more in the camera, I always wonder.

I winked at the food too, before eating it J

Hello Singapore…

The ‘No Durians’ warning always brings a smile to my face. Such love-hate relationship the Singaporeans have with this fruit.

A vacation needs tiring days of walking and looking at other beings. We spent a day Singapore Zoo and another evening enjoying Night Safari.

Then we spent another leisurely day lazying around and enjoying the rush of Singapore’s busy world.

Ended the serene, relaxing day at the Gurudwara. The langar was bliss.

What is a trip to Singapore without soaking in the exuberant ambience of Universal Studios.

Why is souvernir shopping soothing? And why do I shop for more souvenirs for myself than as gifts for others?

The Fridge Magnets, some funky bracelets and merlion show pieces bought, we moved on to a city tour atop an open bus.

Bye Singapore... Until next time...

What do you bring back from a vacation?
Fatigue? You know, the saying that says ‘I need a vacation to get over the fatigue of my vacation.’
Well, you do need to get back to the ‘normal’ life and there won’t be any time to ease into it. You come back and you are expected to just right into the routines.

I think, what you come back with is not fatigue, if you have had a good mix of excitement and leisure at a vacation.
What you do come back with is a mix of restlessness and excitement… restlessness of leaving behind the time-out from life, and excitement of going right back into the life with more enthusiasm.

Whenever I am back from a vacation, I miss my camera the most. It is with me all the time, I use it more on such holidays, more than I do the rest of the time combined.

So, as I relish the results of my beautiful, but brief rendezvous with my camera, it is time to give it a rest, till I plan my Yatra the next perfect vacation.

Friday, 13 May 2016

The Conspiracy at Meru by Shatrujeet Nath (Cover Reveal)

First look at The Conspiracy at Meru (Vikramaditya Veergatha # 2)

Guardians of the Halahala (Vikramaditya Veergatha # 1) has a new look as well!

The deadly Halahala, the all-devouring poison churned from the depths of the White Lake by the devas and asuras, was swallowed by Shiva to save the universe from extinction.
But was the Halahala truly destroyed?
A small portion still remains – a weapon powerful enough to guarantee victory to whoever possesses it. And both asuras and devas, locked in battle for supremacy, will stop at nothing to claim it.
As the forces of Devaloka and Patala, led by Indra and Shukracharya, plot to possess the Halahala, Shiva turns to mankind to guard it from their murderous clutches. It is now up to Samrat Vikramaditya and his Council of Nine to quell the supernatural hordes – and prevent the universe from tumbling into chaos!
A sweeping tale of honour and courage in the face of infinite danger, greed and deceit, The Guardians of the Halahala is a fantastical journey into a time of myth and legend.

Reviews for Guardians of the Halahala

The story is interknitted with action, brilliant storytelling, and insightful of mythological and legendary elements that get under your skin and challenge the way you perceive history, as only few of the talented authors can. ~ Shreya Ganguly @ The Notepad Reviews

I am intoxicated, drugged, and floating in a world that has come to conquer my senses since the last few days. The world of Vikramaditya. The world carved by author Shatrujeet Nath. ~ Amrit Sinha on Goodreads

The quality of writing is powerful and beautiful, almost surreal. ~ By Manish Mahajan on Amazon

In fact the only disappointing thing about this book was that the second part isn't ready yet. ~ Srikanth Sarathy on Amazon

About the Author
Door-to-door salesman, copywriter, business journalist & assistant editor at The Economic Times; Shatrujeet Nath was all this before he took to writing fiction full-time. He debuted with The Karachi Deception in 2013, followed by The Guardians of the Halahala and The Conspiracy at Meru, the first two books in the Vikramaditya Veergatha series. At present, he is writing volume three of the series. Shatrujeet lives in Mumbai, but spends much of his time in the fantasy worlds of his stories.

Also by the Author:

(Click On the Cover for More Details)

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