Sunday, August 28, 2016

Chakana by W. E. Lawrence

28094715No.of pages :325
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Published on :28 December 2015
Genre : Historical romance
Audience : Adults
Book Links : Goodreads Amazon
Author Links : Goodreads

My review


Chakana is a historical novel set in the 1940’s that is before WWII. Starting from the prologue, I liked the flow of the novel. It is well balanced-neither fast or slow but unnecessarily the story is hurried according to my POV as if the author wants to end the novel too soon. I wonder how he managed to do that in the 325 pages long book.

What drew me to read the novel in the first place was the treasure hunt and being ahead of the smugglers and winning over them. I enjoyed these parts more in the novel than personally knowing the characters. 

Chakana is the story of lost Incan treasure of King Huascar. Dr. Charlie and Kate Rhodes go to Peru on a mission to find Kate’s lost brother Nick. There Kate meets James Fleming by accident. First she didn’t know he is a secret agent. What she knows is that she has met him once in her past. Both Kate and James try to solve the puzzle that unlocks the mystery revolving around the treasure. Will they find it despite the huge threat by the big shots who want it for themselves? You will find the answers in this book. As the book blurb mentions, there is action, suspense, romance, danger, adventure all in this one novel.

Kate is a police woman, James is a secret agent and Dr. Charlie is an archaeologist and Kate’s brother Nick(past student of Dr. Charlie) is also an archaeologist.. Then there are bad guys who are after the treasure for all the wrong reasons. James Fleming helps Kate find Nick, her brother. They also together try to find the treasure. If they didn’t find it, it will go into the hands of bad people. 

Kate and James didn’t find the treasure, nobody will. Everyone in the world will be speaking in German. Millions of people depend on them even if people in all around the world didn’t know it. Germany will conquer the world and do whatever that pleases them. James and Kate are the only people left to save the world. 

Like the book blurb says. the Nazi’s Third Reich could win World War II and they might take over the world. The history part amused me and thrilled me. I was thinking , what is going to happen next.I wanted to know more about the Inca Gods, the Inca people. I didn’t really understand why they have to hide their treasures while they can just pass it to their future generation.

So I had a love and hate relationship with the story because of the Incas. Why do they have to tempt people and drive them crazy towards the place where the treasure is hidden. Other than that, the author has done his job well by producing this novel where there is no major flaws only minor flaws. I can say that the steamy sexual scenes between the lead couples are rushed into but I understand one scene happened because of the hypnotizing place. The leading lady is more interested in having sex than the male lead. It is not understandable as the story of the novel happens in the past.


The main put off in the novel for me are confusions regarding the main characters .I understand that it is the author’s second novel. The characters are under developed. I am unsure why there seems to be a hurry in each situations revolving around the story and the people. I hope the author has noted this down and makes necessary corrections in his future novels. 

My advice for the author is he needs to slow down a little bit and have to ask for second and third opinion whether he has made any error. The novel for me is a little too predictable, it is clear from the start that the leads will accomplish the task given to them with due care and diligence. After all , in which novel the heroes and heroines didn't finish the task and went home with their hands full.

For some reasons, I did not like the end portion of the novel. It was as if the author doesn’t know(ran out of ideas) about how to execute the novel so he chose a short cut instead. But overall, I will say that Chakana is an entertaining as well as a delightful read.

Rating 3.5/5

My verdict 

Though the novel is a historical romance, it is not readable by children below 15 years of age but others can read it. I can give assuarance you will not be disappointed with the novel where the story progresses in each chapter. Highly recommended for those who like historical romance and adventure.

Disclaimer I received a free copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

End the Insomnia struggle by Colleen Ehrnstrom

27214308
No.of pages : 227
Publication date : 1st october 2016
Published by : New Harbingers Publication
Genre : Self-help
Book links : Goodreads Amazon
Author links : Goodreads

My review

Before reviewing this book, I want the readers be honest with themselves which is how many of you suffer from Insomnia. If you are unhappy with your sleeping pattern even after trying so many methods, going to doctors also didn’t help you, let me stop, this book is your saviour. There are previous books written around this topic -Insomnia and how to get rid of it to enjoy a happy and healthy life, the authors would have been successful by selling those books but I am doubtful as to how the readers are benefitted. This book is real proof and an eye opener that is why the topic Insomnia has been taken in the hands of this brilliant author and I am very pleased to say she has not disappointed me.

Now that’s like speaking ill of all those authors books as I did not read their book in the first hand even so I will say that they would have forgotten to give proof to eradicate Insomnia in the form of flow charts, tabulations, case studies, questions and answers, road maps, road blocks, etc which can be found in this book. As I have myself suffered from sleepless nights, I know the value it costs. That’s the only reason I picked this book.

It did help me get an idea about what she was trying to stress in the Introduction page and the first chapter itself. I will give a thumps up for her hard work. The book must be read essentially by all starting from the teenagers to grownups. This book might bore people even those with Insomnia, I want to cite the author’s advice be strict with yourself but not too strict as some might fall prey to another disease, anxiety.

How can you utilize the book to the fullest

Author says, your sleep will not improve just by reading this book. You cannot become proficient at any skill (knitting, woodworking, skiing, golf, swimming, cooking, and so on) just by reading about it.

In the first chapter, the author deals with sleep log/sleep diary in which the author asks you to record a number of things. She has given an example for the same. But as she says, you can create a much simpler lists that suit your taste and do not aggravate your symptoms such as anxiety. You can be your own master(I found the author’s list not helpful for me so I created my own).

Sleep is essential for survival.We can learn about hormones that are responsible for sleeping. We cannot force ourselves to sleeping. There is good news in this chapter. How we can get a good sleep? The answer is here.We can learn about predisposing characteristic.What they are and how they are present before sleep deprivation/ chronic sleep disorder occurs. This chapter is a follow-up chapter of second chapter.

The endocrine system is responsible for hormones. The hormones that are most important for sleep include melatonin and cortisol. We encourage you to check in with yourself to assess if you are sleeping to live, or living to sleep.

Case examples are given and flow charts depict what we didn’t know before. Combined with the knowledge of writing our own sleep log with an awesome example given on the book, whoever has sleeping difficulties will learn a lot about themselves and their poor sleeping patterns.

In the fourth chapter, we learn many facts about CBT-I(Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) and I have shown the below two as the life changers of a sleep deprived person.

Though CBT-I has been shown to be effective, it has two significant challenges. The first is that it requires you to be uncomfortable, both physically and emotionally. The second is that it requires you to trust in the process for a number of weeks before you see or feel any progress. This is going to be a struggle!

CBT-I relies heavily on behavioral change, and behavioral change is hard! Keeping a sleep log, restricting your time in bed, and skipping a nap are all examples of behaviors that are initially uncomfortable but can help you return to restorative sleep patterns.

The main thing to worry any of us would be this bugging question, What if I take medication for another medical condition?Yes, the answer is given.

Individualized treatment plan as stated in the book helps to determine our sleep efficiency in percentage. Detailed Stimulus Control Therapy is helpful for those who are not able to get enough sleep even a tidbit I can personally assure a lot of people with Insomnia will get better after having finished reading the fifth chapter. 

However, the sixth chapter and the rest of the chapters are not waste, it discusses what one should do and what one should not do. If this chapter didn’t help what to do?Don’t worry. You have six more chapters. Sleep Restriction Therapy which helps you to reach your target amount of sleep.The eighth chapter deals with combining SRT with Stimulus Control Therapy. We can also learn about behavioral strategies and cognitive strategies.

It is estimated that humans produce hundreds, if not thousands, of thoughts per hour.Your mind groups your thoughts and uses themes like good/bad, always/never, right/wrong, and love/hate.Minds are not 100% accurate.

In simple words, cognitive restructuring is necessary for all those who think too much and have constant worries about when they will be able to fall asleep.

“I keep trying to replace my negative thoughts with positive thoughts. Why can’t I convince my brain to be more optimistic?” Read the 10th chapter.

In the 11th chapter the author has talked how to worry less about things naturally by being able to convert a negative thought into a less negative thought. I am totally impressed by the idea. We can schedule our own time to worry. What’s the worst that can happen?. I mean really. We can find this chapter to control our thoughts and at the same time be optimistic about life. This chapter eradicates doubts and kills it. Can I do worry time before bed? Read the book.

You must convince your already frustrated mind to choose to do something different. You are required to complete worksheets and redesign your daytime and nighttime rituals.

The final chapter is dedicated to all those anxious, depressed, discouraged people whose thoughts are filled with pessimism.Mindfulness and cognitive defusion are the only methods that has the ability to sweep the unwanted thought process. There are mindfulness exercises that will help you to live in the present moment. 

We can skip the 13th chapter, if our sleeping habit is healthy. We must ask ourself in the end of the five Treatment programs how they helped us in getting sleep- Stimulus Control Therapy, Sleep Restriction Therapy, Sleep hygiene, Cognitive restructuring, Designated Worry Time, and Mindfulness and cognitive defusions.

If the treatment programs do not help or some of you are stalled out, it is big time you should see a trained professional as the author suggests. The book ends here or should I say our course on the topic, Insomnia. The 14th chapter is to congratulate the readers who have finished reading this book and are leading by example to tell their story.

Is this your(our) new forever? The answer to this question is yes and no. We know ourselves than anyone else. Rightly said by the author at the right time. 


Disadvantages

I don't like all the calculation thing. I found solace in my own treatment plan by reading the book. I wish the readers form their own by following this as sample. As it is a PDF, I am not able to view some of the tabulations properly as there is no rotation button.

Rating 4/5

My verdict  Go buy this as a gift for anyone in your family who has Insomnia, they will be very thankful to you.

Disclaimer I thank the publisher for providing a free ARC of the book.

Friday, August 05, 2016

Feral (Many Lives Spinoff #1) by Laxmi Hariharan

No. of pages : 56
Published on : May 29th 2016
Genre : Young-Adult, fantasy,  fiction
Book links : Goodreads Amazon Juggernaut
Author links : Goodreads Website Twitter

My review


For all the fans of The many lives of Ruby Iyer, this book is a real treat to their hungry souls. Feral is a novella woven around Maya, whose journey is to find her blood relations. After being disgusted with who she thought was her own mother, she is now after finding her family. Will she find her true parents? She is just a seventeen year old teenager who is at a crucial stage of her life. All these years, she believed she was one among the pack of werewolves,  and with her crush on hybrid Luke who she fondly calls Luka, will she be prepared to leave the place because of all the pains unnecessarily created by her then mother?

She already has Luke who she promised she will return back once after finding her parents. But it’s in human nature to give in to temptations, there are emotions that we can’t escape from, we almost can’t deny the urges to do the opposite. She is attracted to Jai. They both have common grounds. This leads to having weird feelings about him in a good sense that she is not able to get out from. Though she was confronted by Luka, she says he is the only love of her life, she is confused. I call their love puppy love or  an infatuation specifically pointing to their young age.

This novella is mostly set around the city , beautified(call it utopian) city Bombay after Tsunami and revolves around Maya, how she will be able to survive in this new city away from where she used to live. The world we live is a small world.That being said, when in Rome do as the Romans do is an energizing proverb for all those who live far from their families because of their job. So we have to make some adjustments to suit ourselves to certain common rules, this is what the main protagonist Maya does. Eventually, she makes friends all of whom are male. It just happened for she is an outgoing girl. 
These friends are also nice people.

Likes


When we compare, USA and UK, how can we describe our country? Particularly regarding Air pollution, Noise pollution, Soil pollution, Thermal Pollution, etc. What is the reason? We all know the reason. In our country many of our people lack discipline(even educated people) and do not think it is their duty to act as a responsible citizen. Spitting on roads, disobeying traffic rules, throwing used plastic bags, we can pity ourself no need for developed countries to take pity on us. This novella talks about what we desire, Utopian world even if it is for seconds time.

Dislikes

I found three big flaws in this novella which is that Bombay is not a small city, how she was able to get a job(maybe she was a girl) that easily even if she was, how did she manage to find her real parents and all that with such a short notice/span of time without an effort and why she was let free by her so-called mother which states it very clearly she is nothing to her even if Maya dies. I felt it was her insecurity to end up being lonely made her to do the crime.


What can you expect from this novella?

Did Maya find her true parents in an unfamiliar city? What is her first impression on finding about her parents and her sibling?Buy the novella and know it for yourself.

My verdict


Forget logic, enjoy the novella. Sometimes all it takes you to smile is that finding a good book which can make you think, get yourself immersed, and who knows you may even get access to the fantasy world/utopian world.

Rating 3/5

Disclaimer I received an ebook in exchange for my honest opinion.

Book Blitz : The conspiracy at Meru by Shatrujeet Nath




The Conspiracy at Meru (Vikramaditya Veergatha # 2)







VICTORY IS TEMPORARY. THE BATTLE IS ETERNAL.


Vikramaditya and his Council of Nine have fought valiantly to repel the rampaging hordes from Devaloka and Patala – but Avanti has been brought to its knees. Ujjayini lies battered its citizens are scared and morale is badly shaken. Meanwhile, the barbaric Hunas and Sakas are gathering on the horizon and cracks are emerging between the allied kingdoms of Sindhuvarta.

The only silver lining is that the deadly Halahala is safe. For now.

Bent on vengeance, Indra is already scheming to destroy Vikramaditya, while Shukracharya has a plan that can spell the doom for the Guardians of the Halahala. How long can the human army hold out against the ferocity and cunning of the devas and asuras? And will Vikramaditya’s love for his queen come in the way of his promise to Shiva?




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.



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.









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