Jumat, 13 Oktober 2017

Book of Shadows By Alexandra Sokoloff

Book of Shadows By Alexandra Sokoloff
Every time I pick up a book by Alexandra Sokoloff, I know I'm in for a good treat. I was not disappointed with this her last supernatural thriller: Book of Shadows kept me reading late into the night and I ended up gobbling it in two days.

The story begins with a horrible ritualistic murder: a teenaged girl is found in a garbage dump, strange markings on her chest, her head and hand missing. Detective Garret and his partner are called into the case. Not too long after that they have a strong suspect, a Goth band member who seems to have been dating the victim. As evidence mounts and all points to the young musician, Garret is able to make an arrest. But things get complicated when Tanith Cabarrus, a beautiful woman who not only claims to be a psychic but also a witch shows up at Garret's office and tells him the murderer is still at large and getting ready to kill again. It is her belief that the killer is a Satan worshipper with the intention to summon a powerful demon... and that the final killing will take place on Halloween, only a few weeks away.

Garret feels incredibly attracted to Tanith, but, a sceptic by nature, he refuses to believe in what he can only describe as mumbo jumbo. As the case progresses, however, he begins to doubt the nature of reality and eventually must put all of what he's ever believed in to the test.

Is Tanith correct? Is the killer still at large-or is she trying to manipulate the investigation for her own purposes? Is there, in fact, a supernatural aspect to this case, or does it only looks that way?

I kept asking myself this last question over and over as I kept turning the pages. Just when you're certain there's something supernatural, something else happens that makes you wonder: is it-or isn't it? I love how the author teases the reader in this way.

Alexandra Sokoloff has penned another page turner. The protagonist is a sympathetic cop with a sceptic nature and a dark Catholic upbringing, making him a perfect character for the story. The pace is quick, the dialogue sharp and natural. Sokoloff doesn't waste time with long description or narration. Action and dialogue dominate this story, so if you're looking for a fast suspenseful read, this is the book for you. I also found all of the myth fascinating. Book of Shadows combines the excitement of a supernatural thriller, the chills of a horror novel, and the mystery of a crime story. Add to that a sprinkle of romance and how can you go wrong?

Sabtu, 11 Februari 2017

Beep You! You Beep Hole - The Black Book of Indian Cuss & Slurs

Book Review - After a long time, I laughed with my mouth wide open and thanks to this ‘no-nonsense’ but ‘just for fun’ book, interestingly titled ‘Beep You! You Beep Hole’ by Smarak Swain, an ex IIT Kharagpur graduate. Surprisingly, this book touches upon something we’ve known for ages but never bothered to sit down and make sense out of it. And, by the way, this book is an output of lots of research and I give the author the due credit he deserves. You and I have just don’t have the right to discard this innovative piece of experiment.
Beep You! You Beep Hole - The Black Book of Indian Cuss & Slurs
One wrong word at the wrong place, wrong time, to the wrong person, could bring down things tumbling upon us. Such is the power of cusswords and slurs in our lives. And more we know about the evolution of these words, lower are the chances of us getting royally screwed. In essence, this book presents the reader with a new perspective: of understanding human and social behavior through cusswords and swearwords. Mostly featured around all the words that we’re aware of and have used in our lives, this book goes to the extent of explaining each word from its origin.

Most interesting part of this book are its chapters; ranging from ‘Teri Maa Ki’ to ‘Maals and Items’ to racism – Brown Indians and Chinky Indians. The author takes extra effort to differentiate between good and bad language by explaining the importance it has in our lives. There are some sexist words and most of us have no clue about it. These words mean different when used by different sexes - man and woman. And my favourite part of the book is the part that teaches its readers how to control the use of cusswords in public. The little things that we can do to avoid using these words that’ll make us look like total dicks, oh sorry, fools :)

Priced at 100, I believe this book definitely deserves a read not for the fact that it’s funny. Well, yes and no but more importantly you should read this because it gives you a new perspective to look at taboo words. Secondly, this book can be a great topic for discussion or discourse over a cup of cutting chai. If you are addicted to swearing and it affects the way people see you, you need to read this book. Even if you’re not addicted to swearing however I feel you may at some point in your life, so you better read this book. For a change, you may as well read a book that’s different and funnier than other fiction books out there. So, read this book and let me know what you have to say about it. Happy swearing! Maniacal laugh :)

Tete-a-tete with Shiv Khera

In a recent interview with motivational speaker, author, business consultant and politician Shiv Khera, I managed to dig deep into his personal life and find out things that you and I never knew before. Read on to find out what makes Mr. Khera tick.

Q1. Briefly encapsulate your career journey; educational background etc?
Ans. 1: My education background was quite bumpy. I was the back bencher troubling the front bencher. I was more into sports than academics. I used to read comics beside my text books and nothing else. I had to repeat the 10th grade but in my board Higher Secondary Exam there were only three people who got First Division in Arts and I was one of them.

Q2. How do you define success and what is your success mantra?
Ans. 2: Success is a journey not a destination. It is a feeling. Hence, it is internal not external. Values decide the quality of the journey. Achievement of the worthy goals is the destination and worthiness determines the values because sometime in life people can have unworthy goals.

Q3. Who's your role model? How were you inspired in life?  Any particular incident?
Ans. 3: The life history of 10 Sikh Gurus has been a great source of inspiration to me because they not only reflect the character but courage to implement the character. Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, author of Power of Positive Thinking had a great influence in life. I attended one of his programs almost 40 years ago in Canada which put me on a path to research the quality of success.

Q4. Going by your books, most assume that you're very serious and driven by principles. Tell us what keeps Shiv entertained; does he indulge in any pass time activity and what are they?
Ans. 4: During my school days I was quite actively involved in sports. I use to play football. I represented my school in Army horse riding and I use to play Polo. I am fond of dogs and I have two Rottweiler. Whatever time I can squeeze which is very limited I try to spend with my wife, my children and my grand children. I enjoy going to movie once in a while for entertainment. 

Q.5 You must've travelled to many places and dined at several restaurants. What is your favorite place and cuisine?
Ans. 5: The nature of my work demands lot of travelling. I have travelled to over 20 countries and have tried and tested different flavors and cuisines. However, my favorite cuisine still is the “Indian Food”, which I carve for when I am travelling out.

Q.6 A sound mind makes a robust body; tell us what do you do to keep yourself fit and active?
Ans. 6: I believe the more mental exercise you do the more you remain active. In fact, medical research has clearly shown that there is a very clear body mind connection. Staying physically and mentally active keeps me fit and active.

Q.7. There's a eureka moment in all our lives; moment when we decide what we'll do for the rest of our lives. Is there such a moment in your life when you decided to author a book or become a speaker?
Ans.7: Oh Yes, there was a moment in my life which became a turning point when I attended Dr. Norman Vincent Peale’s program where I realized two things:

 a) Many time in life we become our own biggest problem. Our attitude can make or break our lives.
 b) We cannot solve all our problem but we can handle them.

Life is full of choices and life is full of compromises. Series of positive choices is called success and series of negative choices is called failure. Here I realized that I have to create that positive choice among people to drive them towards success. Since then I devoted my time in research and writing.

Q.8 To be successful one should be self motivated; what did you do as a kid/youngster to keep yourself self-motivated?
Ans. 8: There is a tremendous correlation between Thinking, Feeling & Action. Thought trigger feeling and feeling trigger action. An attitude is habit of thoughts eventually thought pattern become permanent.

When conscious thinking become internalized and goes into the sub-conscious mind our behavior turns into reflex action. Hence, things start happening other than us doing which turns into passion and self motivation. Motivation follows inspiration, because inspiration is thinking and motivation is action. I am highly optimist and look positively to every opportunity. Probably, the positive thinking and optimistic approach towards life has kept me self-motivated. 

Q.9 We heard you're coming up with an academy; Institute of Leadership and Management Training? Tell us little bit about it?
Ans. 10:  Yes I have been planning and searching for some ways to create competent leaders who can manage and lead at the same time. There is dearth of potential leadership quality in the market which inspired me to provide an open place to the inspired youngsters who wants to lead with success.

I am coming up with the Shiv Khera Institute of Leadership & Management (SKILM) which will provide one year Post Graduate Program in Leadership & Management with a sole objective of blending character and competence to create Leaders who can manage and not Managers who cannot lead.

Rapid Fire:
Ans. 1:  Favorite Movie: Coach Carter
Ans. 2: Favourite Shopping area: DLF shopping centre, Vasant Kunj

Ans. 3: Favourite city: Singapore (city country)

Ans. 4: Favourite song: Indian Ghazals by Jagjit Singh

Ans.5: Favourite author: Dr. Norman Vincent Peale

Ans. 6: Favourite book: You Can Win

Connect The Dots by Rashmi Bansal

Book review - “Connect the Dots”, is a book that brings forth the true stories of people who made it big, without any degrees. This book is contrary to its prequel, which brought forth the success stories of people with MBA degrees, the ones from IIM’s.
Connect The Dots by Rashmi Bansal

People who read “Stay Hungry Stay Foolish” created a mental model that success is only for the MBAs, and not for the normal bunch. This belief created quite a stir, before Rashmi realized and decided to write a book exclusively encompassing the success stories of people without any kind of college education, thus was born “Connect the Dots”.

The book is divided into three parts namely Jugaad, Junoon and Zubaan, wherein Jugaads are the type of people who didn’t get any formal training, but learned by experimenting, observing and applying. It includes someone like Kunwer Sachdev of Su-Kam, who created 500 cr business from scratch; Ganesh Ram- Founder of Veta, India’s largest English training academy, who started in an era when there were no BPO’s in India.  

Junoonis are the type of people who are passionate about something that is ahead of its time, Chetan Maini, founder of Reva, designed a solar car when Global warming was not so well known. Zubaan constitutes creative people who made a difference in their respective chosen arena, like Paresh Mokashi, the creator of Harishchandrachi, India’s official entry to Oscars last year or Krishna Reddy, whose Prince group consisting of daily wage laborers won “India’s Got Talent”.

The author underlines the fact that none of the people mentioned in the book have any kind of degrees, but what differentiated them from the rest of the world was their relentless dedication and endurance, number of hours diligently spent, and their ability to never give up, irrespective of the number of failures.

“Connect the Dots” narrows down to be a contemporary fiction, every story narrated in the book will hold a special place in your hearts; few chapters will definitely sweep you off your feet, especially the first chapter which contains the story of Prem Ganapathy, who came to Mumbai with no money at all and today owns Dosa Plaza, a fast food restaurant with 26 outlets in the country.

You will connect with each and every character in the book, if you don’t, the book will actually create a relationship between you and the characters in the book. One book you ought to read, buy it, lend it or even steal it, I don’t care, but you better read it without fail.

Closing words from the author states: Entrepreneurship is all about following you heart, one who fails to follow his/her heart lives in mediocrity.

Book Review of Six Suspects

Booksroundup.blogspot.Com - Several authors in the past have shown urban India in different spectrum, most of it being seemingly superficial, but as fascinating as one could ever imagine. From the likes of Shobhaa De and Salman Rushdie, who are popularly famous for transforming simple urban events into fabulous drama, follows Vikas Swarup, the author of “Six Suspects”, a book which sneaks into the tabloid world of Indian elite society.
Book Review of Six Suspects, The son of an affluent politician, Vicky Rai is gunned down amidst large crowd in a party. Thus making everybody in the room a probable suspect, out of which six individuals with a weapon in their possession are made the prime suspects, when caught red handed. The six suspects comprise a corrupt bureaucrat, who calls himself reincarnation of Mahatma Gandhi, a U.S tourist who has come down to get married to a pen friend, a tribesman, on a mission to recover a stolen relic, a Bollywood vamp, who boasts about her not so worth accomplishments, an ambitious young man who involves in small time thievery, and a politician.

Vikas managed to portray something of high importance in today’s news channels and newspapers, crime. He paints the picture of crime infiltrated India, the people involved in it and the aftermath affects. By quoting real examples which took place in India across last few years, the story intertwines several instances which bind the characters together. The book also brings forth the condition of crime inflicted scenario in India, the environment that surrounds it, from which only the common man is affected, while the felon walks free. Six Suspects serves as a drug, as it succeeds in keeping the reader high on anticipation for the most part, and hooked on for the rest of it. Can “Six Suspects” be called a perfect follow up to “Q & A”? Yes most definitely; because just like the last book, this book poignantly narrates yet another culture that is sweeping through independent India. Few foreign writers have already bought the rights to rewrite the story for Hollywood, and it is believed that, if not for sure, Danny Boyle, who made “Slumdog Millionaire” from Vikas’s last book, might be roped in to make this film.

The characters at some point feel recursive and tetchy, nevertheless the plot keeps everything intact

Rabu, 08 Agustus 2012

Happy Brithday MJ: The Moonwalker

This post was inspired from the 'book 'Moonwalk'.

10 % CR (craziness) + 20 % CT (creativity) + 20 % DG (drugs) + 10 % CN (controversies) + 40 % PS (passion) = MJ (Michael Jackson). A minute mismatch in the above equation would have never given this world - The Moonwalker. One can hardly ever find such an equation in an individual; MJ was an exception. If there was someone who lived just for what he was passionate about then, undoubtedly it was MJ. A man, who drank the love of millions, drove crazy almost everybody with his killer moves and lived all his life doing what he was best at.
Happy Brithday MJ: The Moonwalker
Someone aptly said that a troubled childhood would propel one into a disturbed and unpleasant adult life. Mike might have been successful but, at every facet of life he tried dead hard to regain his lost childhood. Success was accompanied by a series of health problems, troubled marital-life and loads of controversies for the “Man in the Mirror”. People questioned the “Black or White” star on the series of surgical experiments to alter his identity; of course, my only question is show me a handful of stars/celebrities who are un-botoxed, un-plastic surgeried and definitely un-toupeed, and then use them to create a giant matching quiz and await the real winner.  

This “Smooth Criminal” bridged the gap between rhythm, blues and Pop Music and transformed it into a global culture. His trials and tribulations for the most part were overlooked; most people came seeking a connection with an icon or simply celebrated, sung and played his music while others barely familiar with his work enjoyed it to the fullest. Millions loved him and a very few hated him but, a majority of them idolized him. MJ might have left anything for neither himself nor his family. But, to the world he left behind his priceless aura and a story to be passed on to the generations to come.

Which Michael Jackson will be remembered - The unsurpassed entertainer, the gifted and driven song-and-dance man who exerted rhythm, melody, texture and image to create and promote the best-selling album of all time “Thriller” Or the bizarre figure he became after he failed in his stated ambition to outsell “Thriller,” and after the gleaming fantasy gave way to tabloid revelations, bitter rejoinders?

Selasa, 15 Mei 2012

Book Review of Outliers - The Story of Success

BooksRoundup.Blogspot.Com - Success, a word we all love to embrace, chant and yearn. We search for it at workplace, in our personal lives and everywhere we could possibly imagine. We also know success is a culmination of relentless determination, passion and hard work, but still we fail to understand it. However, most of the times we seek out for success without much effort, as though it was a pill which can be popped whenever one wished to be successful.

Book Review of Outliers - The Story of Success - Wouldn’t it make you wonder, if someone told you that success is very much achievable provided you work hard on a daily basis, and identify the opportunities life presents us? Malcolm Gladwell throws light on similar note in his recent book “Outliers”, wherein he shares his hypothesis on the number of hours one has to spend before mastering any activity.

The book brings forth real life stories of ordinary people, who with unceasing commitment became extra-ordinary. According to his book which is based on a research which states that the sooner you complete 10,000 hours, the sooner you become a master at that activity, precisely meaning successful. If you do the math then it rounds up to an average of three hours a day for approximately 10 years, sounds incredible doesn’t it, but the author has stories to prove it. Gladwell emphasizes on the fact that obsessive practice makes any person good at what they wish to pursue.

He takes “The Beatles”, Bill Gates as his real life examples, to prove the stupendous amount of time they spent before becoming world class. Especially in the case of Bill Gates, the author says he had a computer when the world didn’t even know what it actually was. Had he not put his nose in it and became damn good at it, none would have known about Microsoft ever at all. The theory of Power Distance Index (PDI) is an intriguing chapter which describes the willingness to communicate within a paradigm of hierarchy. This proved the miscommunication in airplanes where crew members are at different levels of hierarchy. Thus leading to several airplane crashes.

The discussion about how people tend to give up on Math when they can’t arrive at solution instantly is a story that would make you smile, especially if you ever gave up on math in your life. Cultured cultivation is yet another interesting chapter wherein Malcolm shares his ideologies on culture. He describes cultured cultivation as the difference in the way middle class and lower middle class raise their children.

Malcolm’s narration is very subjective, but he supports every word with reliable data and reasons, never making one feel rhetorical. The author enlightens his readers by throwing light on factors that lead to success and failure, he points out that if success is a combination of many factors, so is failure. He also point out that not everyone has the same opportunities and in some cases this can be changed by society. Finally, Outliers is a landmark book, which will definitely influence and make a difference in its reader’s lives. If you are looking for some inspiring read then I would definitely recommend this book.