Friday, May 25, 2018

Blog tour & giveaway ~A gentle heart by Christie Logan




Ambitious realtor Alex has plans for his life—big plans—and getting dumped by his fiancée won't sidetrack him. He'll have to face her again at an important business function, but he won't let himself be the object of pity and scorn. What better way to show the world—and his ex— how well he's doing than to arrive with a beautiful woman on his arm? A woman he finds, of all places, behind the lingerie counter of a department store.

Tyffanie has dreams that extend far beyond her sales counter, but she's been burned by men only interested in her looks. Deep inside, she's still the gawky, freckle-faced girl other kids used to tease. When handsome, successful Alex enters her life, everything changes. He's the first to look beneath the surface, respect her, and care about her hopes and dreams.

Alex discovers there is so much more to Tyffanie than outward beauty. He's falling in love with her kind soul and gentle heart when he must decide how far he's willing to pursue success and all its trappings. Because his need to win at all costs may cost him Tyffanie's love.







Excerpts from A Gentle Heart:

Excerpt 1:

Alex didn't know what to make of this girl, made up like a high-fashion cover model with the demeanor of a school girl. He couldn't decide if she was truly innocent or just a little dim. Or maybe both were an act and she was dumb like a fox.

He'd been fooled before, after all. He'd believed Claire's act, hadn't he?

Whether Tyffanie was for real or just a very good actress, he wouldn't get distracted by her charms. His eyes were wide open this time. No way would he let a woman fool him again.










Author Christie Logan

Christie Logan writes sweet romance straight from the heart. She lives in upstate New York with too many pets, too many dust bunnies lurking under the bed, and too many plot bunnies bouncing around in her head. She thinks everyone deserves a happy ending and in her books, they get one.



$50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Giveaway

Ends 6/10/18

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. 
No purchase necessary. 
You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. 
The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. 
This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. 
The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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Sunday, May 13, 2018

My rainbow by Khush Agarwal, Isha Setia, Dhritika Dhawan, Harshvardhini Pareek, Aditya Agarwal, Isha Rautela, Shivangi Singh

24962784No. of pages : 169
Publisher : Quill club writers
Published on : April 5th, 2013
Book links : Goodreads Amazon

My review

Never ever imagined children as young as 11 years old can write remarkable stories with such competency and make the readers wonder in awe whether this has been penned down by them.  My rainbow is a work of brilliant young writers from Delhi Public School, Jaipur. All the stories give moral messages to the readers and the way they have narrated is purely extraordinary. 

With this mature thinking, impeccable vocabulary skills and comprehension of the psychology of humans, they have a bright future ahead of them and as the book was published in 2013, some of these children would already be on their way towards a splendid future and working on their dream.  The age of the writers is between 11 -16 but doesn’t feel like it and I am truly stunned to describe my exhperience after reading.

#1

The legend of Zalim Khan by Khush Agarwal, a 13 year old lad is a story in which the three lazy sons of a dead bandit have to solve the puzzle in order to find the fortune their father has left. Will they be able to find it? The treasure hunt has twists and turns and is very complicated. A wise mother's love for her haughty sons is said aesthetically.

Rating 4/5

#2

Water under the bridge by  Dhritika Dhawan, also a 13 year old is a simple, delicate story that made me realize the pains of a fatherless girl child. A seventeen year old girl who lives with her poor mother finds the whereabouts of her father suddenly in a newspaper at the place where she works as a nanny to a six year old boy. With her mother's blessings, she pays him a visit. Now that his father is a rich man, she wants to find out what made him to leave her and her mother. Will his answer put her at last to rest? He wants her to live with him in his mansion. Will she agree?

Rating  3.5/5

#3

Carnival in Lousy town by Harshvardhini Pareek is an interesting folklore by a 11 year old. Due to a spell cast on the town, everyone is lousy. Will they become normal again?

Rating 3.5/5

#4

Fate by Isha Setia is also an imaginary story of a fatherless girl child but distinctive. It talks about destiny and life changing things happen to a mother and daughter. Much of the story happens inside a circus.

Rating 3.5/5

#5

The Interview by Shivangi Singh is a detective story. It gives the readers a glimpse of how a five year old looks at the world. The memory power of seeing people, their appearances, behaviors and characters leaves a strong impact on the child.  This is told with precision. Nandhini gets an opportunity to interview Prof. Braganza in her journalism class who she thinks she has seen in handcuffs when she was a child. Is she mistaken? Will she be unburdened by the truth?

Rating 4.5/5

#6

The decision by Isha Rautela- If you are given a chance to forget the past to become the keeper of library of the future, will you agree? Yash gets into trouble and meets a man who is bizarre. The man says, he is the chosen one. What will be the decision of Yash? This story is just wow.

Rating 4/5

#7

Adventure of the mysterious flagstone-Young boys face the armed gangsters with downright bravery that puts them in danger. They are dealing with a high tech criminal. How are they going to succeed?

Rating 3/5

The children possess gift of the gab which is tremendously evident and they did give the adult writers, a tough job. The title ‘My rainbow’ is apt and all the short stories are educating in the sense, the readers can expect to expand their knowledge. It is not advisable to compare one story with other stories as they are all unique and takes place on a different setting.

These seven riveting short stories are addictive and doesn’t bore the readers even a tidbit. Fast paced, one could finish the book almost within 2 hours. It’s a must read by youngsters. Inspiration and curiosity takes one to explore previously unknown territories. All Children, if properly guided like these young writers, will achieve the success their parents and mentors could just wish and surpirse the world with their shrewdness.

I received this book in July 2013. The lots of editing errors made me stave off from reading around that time. By chance, I picked it today from my neatly arranged bookshelf and began reading by shirking the errors by not giving due attention and was glad, I did it. 'My rainbow' entertains as well as elevates the readers to stand up for what is right.


The book was received as part of Reviewers Programme on The Tales Pensieve.

Monday, May 07, 2018

I owed you one by Madhu Vajpayee

38223954No. of pages : 258
Publisher: Lifi Publications Pvt Ltd
Published on : January 2, 2018
Book links : Goodreads Amazon
Author links :  Goodreads Twitter

My thoughts

So many emotions. So many misunderstandings. So many hurt feelings. I owed you one is a book that made me judge lot of things in life like the way it is carried out. Are marriages really made in heaven? Is there any proof for that? This again raises another important question, is there any proofs of a heaven to start with? Why do people have belief in such things when there is no solid evidence?And by that, what do they mean? If they haven’t seen it, why do they say it? What it feels like to be in there? 

Can peace, happiness and good health be bought by marriage? Are all married couples satisfied with their union? If the previous marriage doesn’t work out, how sure are they that a second marriage or a third marriage will be fruitful?Is marriage a joke? Is a live-in relationship or an affair sounds better? How does it differ? Is freedom, the right answer? Will there not occur any difficulties or is it just the choice to leave anytime makes the relationship lively?

Another interesting topic in the book is communal riots. It’s strange when I think about it. Hindus, Christians, Muslims, etc. They call themselves. Was it written on the baby’s head or body that she or he is a Hindu or a Muslim by birth? If it is not written, what triggers these people follow these religions blindly? Does Hindu Gods and Muslim God told these so, so, so innocent people to fight, argue, kill or rape? What is the difference between a Hindu criminal and a Muslim criminal? What color blood does a Hindu and a Muslim have? How many years Hindus and Muslims are going to survive this world starting from their presence on earth? Why there is so much hate among the religions? Does one human, the other alien?

If we are all confident of dying, why does it matter we are from what religion. Are we going to take it with us to our grave and how will it help in the aftermath? What is the definition of a Hindu and a Muslim?  What makes the Hindus superior than the Muslims and vice versa. Is religion also a joke? These are ordinary questions. I can say more but this is a very sensitive topic (?????), I don’t want to continue as the most mature ones (?????) know the answer for all the queries that I am widely concerned about. Why am I talking about these two religions and relationships is because the story revolves aroud them.

The narration is told in first person, Dev Khanna. He is a chemical engineer by profession living in Melbourne. Unlike most fathers, his father was always distant and unloving.  He didn’t know why he remained that way until one day he grows up and enters college, he learns the reason through a third party who he befriends later. When the reality hits hard, the world around him comes crashing down, he gets angry but not able to confront his father he confronts his mother who acted all those years and protected him from the harsh truth.

The story happens in 20th century and most women’s thinking were traditional that time even if their husbands indulge in sexual immorality, controlled or assaulted them, showed indifference that they made adjustments or were told to make adjustments and were forced to stay in the marriage. Few who resisted this injustice were labelled by the society as bringing disgrace to all other women and their parental home. This goes for blameless husbands but men were considered to have freedom and options to move away from a relationship if they felt it doesn’t contribute to their personal or professional growth. 

Women were not given independence to opt for a career once they marry or even before they marry, those who did were questioned and so in fact, many companies had more male employees than female employees in India. Only the upper middle class and rich women were allowed to work yet they had limitations. Those days were different. Parents gave dowry to men not knowing why the men’s family were entitled to receive it, what was the need to buy and this continues today. Men are considered to be superior even when taking everything into account, the fact they rank No.1 in criminal activities. 

Female are vulnerable beings hence be submissive while men has to be dominating is a thought who created is not transparent. If truth be told, this is what makes these folk dominating personalities and somewhat proud in the society. Anyway, there are people who will disagree to this as there are men who have daughters and wives who they overjoyfully treat as princesses. I would ask these people, why crimes committed by men against women are not ceasing? Why are crimes by men high, women low?

The main protagonist Dev Khanna is too good to be true. As in my opinion, he doesn’t owe Saira anything for that matter but for the love and respect for his mother, he obliges. I do have a valid point to make. What kind of satisfaction, some persons have by making their spouse suffer uncontrollably for years by being in an affair? They must show some form of care or sympathy regardless of how and why for the sacrifice their spouses are making . Do they not know, their actions can be termed as psycho behavior?  

In this century which is the continuation of last century’s one of the messes, confused marriage,  the main problem married couples encounter are ego clashes and we see couples heading to courts for getting a divorce. Some people survive the relationship just for the sake of their children and keep quiet and be passive like Dev’s mother, I am asking, is marriage funny? What example are they setting to their children?Whatever it may be, marriage is always sacred, if both parties don’t understand each other and respect each other’s feelings, what for they are living?

I found Saira and Amar’s relationship to be senseless. If their parents didn’t agree to their relationship, they can live abroad in London or remain single instead of spoiling the lives of those who truly understands them and respects their feelings above their own. It was too much for me to take. In Muslim religion, it may be different (stressing restrictions), at the same time, Saira had the freedom to study in London. She could have made a wise decision. Does experiencing a different culture rubbed on her the wrong way?

Radhika and Dev’s love story was wonderful and full of meanings.  Then we have to agree, every beautiful love story faces the test of time. Mr. Goyal’s son’s fate was sad. His wife and his mother’s reaction was justifiable. When Dev told them the reason, why he owes Saira, I didn’t find it very convincing. In fact, from the very beginning I didn’t find it convincing and it was stupid. In my opinion, Dev is the kind of person who will help even a stranger. 

At least Saira is guilty. Why do a fair percentage of men always hide their emotions well by not telling how they are actually feeling, act strong and don't 'repent' for their actions? I have less experience with men and many novels potrayal of them were heroes or villains. Also I must agree, I have less experience with women so I would like to believe the author’s words as I feel there is truth in it. 

I have only few who I call trustworthy and good. My judgement about these people outside my clan are loosely after reading the characters mentioned in books.  Many of them were far from reality, irritating to say the least. Some men I have come across were cheap and indecent. From what I have learnt, they are the types who initiates baseless (useless) chats with girls and gives friend requests/follows them on social networks and requests their photo cowardly and are loud-mouthed. What's their goal?

Some girls and women are no different but what makes them tick with me is we are of the same gender and I don't encourage their habit of adding men (in many cases, it includes their own) who are bad influence. These women rejoice giving friend requests/follow or love talking to men offline/online who can be termed as, 'attractive' in rare cases 'shy' in today's society even if it leads no where which is pathetic. Who cultivated this thinking is a well-known answer (who else, it is men and men alone). 

A significant amount of young females have a learning disability, it's not the attractiveness or shyness that lasts, it's the goodness of one's character. These men are good men is a wrong assumption. They rape even a 100 year old lady. Certain men why they act shy around women needs careful consideration. Harmful and violent people who destroy the lives of others for their selfish purpose and desire need to be analysed and warned in a gentle manner. 

As a feminist, I wouldn’t want to understand men just keep a distance from them or observe them to check their real worth and at best, I pick the company of the mature, good natured and the wise owing to most criminals are men. Women this day are inspired by them and the news I hear are alarming. What kind of pleasure men and women have by chatting about things that are not productive?Why do they want to add more friends in networking sites when they haven't met plenty in person? Is it practical? Does likes, comments, tweets and shares are the answers? How are they benefitting from it? Do they not know they are wasting time instead they could concenterate on important matters like improving their quality of life and those close to them? I do add people in my social accounts if I feel the person definitely deserves to be known and liked. The author could have explored Zoya, Surya and Arif's character for readers perception.

Setting boundaries and letting people know what our limits are even in a friendship or love or family relationship is necessary as we can't trust anyone in this modern era as people can misuse us if we give the impression of being too easy which has the potential to turn unpleasant. Being an only child without much love from one of the parent is quite painful. If you learn the other parent is just filling that absence by fooling themselves thinking they will not allow their child to feel the emptiness of being deprived of father’s love is what I put in words as foolish.  

Being brought up in a rich environment, Dev could have chosen to remain in that status but he transfers his wealth to orphanage homes. It touches the heart and strikes the right chord with the readers. His yearning for a loving family especially a large one that brightened up his eyes after seeing his soul mate made me empathize with him but I wouldn't agree only such families gives contentment. 

When Indians reject religion, race, caste and status, they will be unburdened and enjoy life more. I do believe in God strongly not the kind of God many people have faith in. Bad deeds are done by people who have a worst version about God or don't believe in a supreme being at all. This world is not for the strong. It is for the meek and if we choose to be a good human we have to endure the pain created by people who are interested in complicating other's lives because of greediness, jealousy, lust, power, hate, etc. 

I got furious after reading the second half (Zoya's disappearance and communal riots) more than the first (Dev’s sad memories of childhood) . The fact, there is honesty in it and there are children like Zoya and Dev in some parts of this world. Let's pray this situation alters. I was guessing how he is going to find her without knowing anything about her or the problem in India as he has been in Australia for some time. The ending gives clarity as to why the title is, ‘I owed you one’ and why he made the right choice to help Saira, his father's mistress. The author’s language is simple and appealing. 


Put offs

Typographical errors and then the printing mistakes in some of the last few pages. It made it hard for me to read these pages and I just have to skip it as it is not readable.

My verdict

Should I or should I not recommend this book? I would definitely recommend it to people particularly who take religions seriously thus far and don't follow its preachings or put it to daily practice despite this fact proudly announce they are religious in style . Besides, you can learn about corruption, bribery and lethargic attitude of policemen and political leaders in our country. It is not discussed in detail. I hope those who are reading this are adults knowing the real India. If you are going to buy this book, do share me your thoughts immediately after reading it. 

Rating 3.5/5

Excerpt one

“Happy Birthday, Dev!” he said.

“Thanks! Thanks for remembering, daddy!”

There was a pause on the other side.

All of a sudden I was reminded of Ravi’s birthday parties and his father’s unconditional love and, also of my jealousy, my pain, and my tears, because of not getting same kind of warmth from my father on my big days.

This is the problem with the past. Even while not being there, it follows you like a shadow.
“May God give you a long life?” After a pause, he said, “ What would you like to have for a birthday, son?”

“Nothing daddy!” I replied.

Pause again. I waited for him to say something. He didn’t.

I could just hear his breath.

“ Thanks daddy for your wishes! Please take care of yourself! Will talk to you soon,” I said before disconnecting.

Excerpt two

Radhika hasn’t responded to my calls. Her stubbornness isn’t unusual but her reason for that is, I remember asking her once, ‘What can be worst thing that can happen to anyone?’ And promptly she responded, ‘Losing trust’.

“How can you be so precise, so sure of this” I asked.

“ You know what, trust is like giving someone key to your existence and believing they won’t destroy you. Trust is beyond rationale. Losing trust is like losing a part of you, forever.”

“ What about losing love?” I asked.

“ Love can be reclaimed. But not the trust. And that love might never be whole without trust.” She replied.

I fear she hasn’t lost her trust on me. I cannot afford to lose her. Not Radhika, who has given me a new lease of life. She made me believe in myself when I had stopped believing in me. I can deal with her stubbornness. I am ready for any punishment. I can wait for her anger to recede. I can wait for her to understand. I can wait for her, forever. But, I can’t let her go.

Disclaimer  I received the book in exchange for my honest review

Tuesday, May 01, 2018

How to avoid investment traps by Khalid A. Khan

35238008No. of pages : 129
Publisher : Chrysolite Media Pvt. Ltd
Published on : September 22, 2017
Book links : Goodreads  Amazon
Author links : Goodreads Twitter

My review


Financial literacy is one of the major causes of concern in a developing country like India. Not everyone is acquainted with the concept of how investments in the market works. Insurance agents, banking professionals and other financial advisors directly involve in making the people who have limited knowledge or no knowledge invest in products that doesn’t benefit taking into account the futuristic point of view while they earn hefty amount as commissions and create a fortune by fooling us into believing that the investments we made are intelligent.

Insurance policies are sold like hot cakes as the young employees have to show their tax saving investments to save them on their salaries.  Some also buy large home loans for tax deduction. The financial advisors always withhold information about how much commission they earn by selling these products. No doubt many of us lack skills regarding how the investment market literally operates. These agents turn this weakness to their chief advantage and sell products to boost their financial security when our financial security takes a backseat.

This is why SEBI was formed to regulate the securities market. Its main function is to protect the interest of the investors from wrongdoers. On a rating of 1-10, how much it makes the life of the investor easier? We need to ask ourselves.There are separate plans that doesn’t give commission to the distributors. Why do they not tell anything about it? The answer is known to very few.  Most of the salespersons, marketers and distributors of financial products only goal is to satisfy their own self and investors wellbeing is the last one they care about. Selfishness is in their subconscious or conscious mind and aggressively they try to sell these products in full speed.  

The author himself has invested in various products and was cheated big time. Because of this reason, he has taken an authentic effort to write a book to avoid investment traps by the readers. He is an engineering graduate but owing to amoral people, he took active interest in studying these subjects and acquired enough knowledge to educate us.  He says, distributors ignore good products that warrants the investors huge amount of incentives for it doesn’t make these people earn profitable commission. Is it true or false?

The value of Rs.1, 00,000 today is how much 20 or 30 years from now bearing in mind, the inflation? Do we know? The author has a valid point. We also need to be cautious and analyze the pros and cons before putting our precious money in any kind of investment. Just keeping the money in our house locker afraid of getting cheated is also stupidity. Undeniably, the author has a selfless attitude to help the readers avoid investment traps. Answers to questions such as the below are given inside the book.
  • Which insurance plans we can invest?
  • How to calculate our net worth?
  • Which are the most popular and attractive investment options considering the current survey in India?
  • Investing in mutual funds, stock market, insurance policies, fixed deposits, etc how can they be supportive?
  • Should we buy more properties like houses to secure our future and our loved ones future?
  • How to manage our expenses as an individual?
  • How many months worth of expenses should we keep as emergency fund?
  • How much money is needed to fund our children or future children's education for pursuing master's degree assuming the period 2038-2042?
  • What is CGAR?
  • How far we can trust the advice of the relationship managers?
  • If we depend on brokers, do we know the term, ‘Churning’? 
  • Do we have to carry our credit cards and cheque books everywhere we go?
  • How safe is to have faith in the ads?
'How to avoid investment traps' acts as a financial guide and it doesn’t turn us an expert. The figures does help to improve our life financially as a point of fact. My own judgment about the book is , it deliberately empowers us to make error free choices when it comes to investing. If we are not self-sufficient and are greedy in accumulating wealth, then this book is not for us. Living a life without stress involves not falling prey to investment traps and ignoring all things that separates us from becoming a good human. Going through this book helped me form a new understanding.

Asking the right questions to the financial advisor is a must if we opt for large scale investments.  The suggestions given at the end is exceptional and the final word by the author is correctly reasonable. Overall, I felt the book could have been improved a little more for everyone to perceive and if summarisation under each chapter were given, it would aid in making a difference in the mindset of common readers. In some pages, adequate spaces were not given (very lenghthy para) and it prevented me from concenterating a bit. The book is a non-fiction and contains relatively short number of pages, hence it hardly matters .

Rating 3.5/5

Excerpt 

To protect the retail financial consumers; unfortunately, there is no simple and one stop grievance redressal process or mechanism available in India as yet. In the current arrangement, there are multiple regulators and multiple forums;some of these are SEBI, RBI, the banking ombudsman, the insurance ombudsman, Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDA), and Providentt Fund Regulatory and Development Authority of India (PFRDA).