Showing posts with label Book Reviews. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Book Reviews. Show all posts

Author Interview - Shaheen Chishti - British Indian Author, World peace Advocate & Thought Leader


1.    What motivates you to write?

I was born in Ajmer, Rajasthan, and saw at close quarters how women’s lives were in traditional Hindu and Muslim cultures, having interacted with many families and seen many villages. I came across many women’s issues, which moved me. I then moved to England at a young age and saw the socially liberated society where they were making efforts to move up the chain, so to speak. That being said, I noticed that both sides were suffering in different ways and came to realize that society has been unfair to our mothers, sisters, daughters, and partners for centuries. This set my mind up to write a book highlighting the issues faced by women from various cultures and arguing for the advancement of women in all societies.

2. How did you feel after publishing your books?

It made me immensely happy. It has exceeded my expectations and I feel like I can really make a big difference to humanity.


3. What are some of your favorite novels and authors?

My favorite books are ‘A Passage to India’ by E.M. Forster, ‘Passage to Africa’ by George Alagiah and Siddhartha. With regard to authors, I am fond of Shakespeare but have also particularly enjoyed works by the likes of Rabindranath Tagore, Jane Austen, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Charles Dickens.


4. Is there a specific reason for naming your novel?

The title makes me think of all these grandmothers together and deciding to do something important for their granddaughters. It is a simple way of conveying that these women set out to make something positive happen and put in hard work, planning, and effort. They had a vision, and they were going to make it succeed.


5. Where do you write from? Do you go to some specific place, like beachside or the hills? 

Generally, I write at home – either in my garden shed or at the dinner table when no one is around.


6. What inspired you to write the books (in general)? Any tales to tell…

I would hope that my daughters and future granddaughters get to live in a society that fully respects women; a society in which they would not have to face the same injustices and lead their lives in fear of what could happen to them just because of their gender. We have certainly made progress as a society but there is still such a long way to go to ensure that all our granddaughters live without fear of men and are not held back to reach their full potential.

I wanted to help young women find their voices and power, and to make the most for themselves – not for their society. So many young women now are the living legacies of strong women who came before them, able to live their lives and enjoy their freedoms and identities because of the sacrifices made by their grandmothers. So many grandmothers went to their graves without telling their stories, for fear of the repercussion and consequences upon their families. Some understandably lacked courage, others lacked opportunity. But now they can be unburdened.

7. What was your biggest learning experience throughout the writing process?

I learned so much about how women and girls bear the brunt of suffering and abuse – especially in times of war, famine, and poverty. It was a real eye-opener in many ways. It is something that we know but until you read the extent of it, you don’t really believe it. Furthermore, we always associate this type of abuse with soldiers or the enemy, but in many cases, it was fathers, brothers, and friends inflicting this mistreatment. It makes it so easy to dismiss these women as casualties of war, but they are preyed upon by men who want to make themselves feel better about their bad situations.


8. Looking back, what did you do right that helped you break in as a writer?

I approached my publisher at the right time. Fred and Nimble Books have been really instrumental in helping me with this project – in a way, it gave me the confidence I needed.


9. Any best piece of writing advice that you would like to share with new or struggling writers? 

It took one and a half years to write the book – mostly on the weekends, as I work full time. It was not easy to care for a young family and write a book at the same time, but it was time well spent – even if my book helps change just one life.

Perseverance is key! You cannot expect to write a book in a week, writer’s block is a very real phenomenon.

I think it is completely natural to face a block – whether writing or working. We all face creative blocks when some days are harder than others, but just being honest about it is healthy. Creativity cannot be ‘on-demand, sometimes it just needs to simmer for a while. Leaving things for a while and coming back to them or working on something else can often be inspirational. 


Think about who you are writing for and why you are writing, that can help focus the narrative in a better direction.


10. Something personal about you people may be surprised to know?

I like running, hiking, listen to music, and traveling across the world. My favorite countries for this are Brazil and the Maldives.

London remains the most magical city in the world for me: I love walking in the parks, exploring the cafés and just being around the people.


11. Any future books that you would like to discuss now?

Yes, I have another book planned and am extremely excited to share more details when the time is right!

12. What other profession excites you the most?

I really enjoy numbers, so anything that involves numerate skills. Banking or anything Maths-related.


13. Any special mention about your reader (be it with reviews/feedback or anything else)

Thank you so much for taking the time to engage with the stories of these incredible women – Helga, Kamla, and Lynette. Each of these women represents the millions of women that witnessed the Holocaust, the Bengali Famine and the Notting Hill Riots- and it is through their pain and sacrifice that we enjoy the liberties we have today. It is up to us to ensure that these historic atrocities are not repeated. Through knowing their stories and not allowing future generations to forget, we can avoid repeating the mistakes of the past.


14. Do you write the story at a stretch or do you take your time to complete it? If you take a longer time, wouldn’t you be forgetting the story? How do you tackle it?

I write in short spells two hours each or few hours each week. It also depends on my mood.


15. Traditional or Self-Publishing? Why?

Traditional Publishing as long as you have the right publisher and team behind you. They have been immense support for me, as I navigate the literary world.


16. How is the response so far for the book?

Really positive: my daughters love it and that makes me very proud. Family, friends, and business contacts have also given me wonderful feedback. It is truly humbling.

The book is available on Amazon

You can connect with him through his website

Book Review -Decoding the Digital Jungle

Title - Decoding The Digital Jungle
Authors - Vikas Chawla, David Appasamy and Nandita Raman
Genre - Digital Marketing / Marketing
Publisher - Notion Press
ISBN - 978-1-63832-502-4

Social Beat is known for its acumen in the field of Digital Marketing and they have helped some of the major brands across various segments leverage this online. The importance of Digital Marketing has gained momentum after the pandemic since most of the brands were forced to take an alternative route for advertising their products and services. The agency has released a book way back in 2018 and released this book in 2021. 

When some of the best brains in the industry come together, all you can expect is sheer brilliance and this is what you can expect from this book as well. All three authors have been in this field for some time and are known for their approach and delivery.

I loved the cover of the book which is more appropriate and appealing.

Even if you are a novice but have the passion to learn and understand various aspects of digital media marketing, this book will surely serve that purpose as it has covered many avenues in a broader way. They have quoted the live examples of their own clients which adds more value to the context.

If you opine that you are aware of all the social media marketing aspects, I would suggest you give his book a read so that you would know as to what you have been missing so far.

This book wouldn't give you a certification but will certainly make you close to being called an expert. I loved the way the description was given and the flow which is not only smooth but also insightful.

The book describes in detail about the following aspects:

1. Paid Media
2. Earned Media and 
3. Owned Media

This book has 21 chapters. I would recommend you to read all of them without skipping any of them. Take your own time to read one or two chapters a day. Grasp the content. Implement them in your business to see better results, if not good, compared to the past.

This book is available on Amazon


Book Review - The Grand Daughter Project


Title - The Grand Daughter Project
Author - Shaheen Chishti
Genre - Contemporary Fiction
Publisher - Nimble Books LLC

Maya, who hails from Canary Wharf goes to a place called Kamalgazi in India since she loved her grandma very much and wanted to fulfil her last wish. Though she had not seen her in person, the connection she had with her is clearly evident in this captivating novel which according to me is a perfect tribute to womanhood.

The book is a great read despite being lengthy but I felt it is quintessential as it brought out the emotions attached to the characters.

The story revolves around how Mohanlal tried to molest Gita, the mother of Maya’s granny Kamla. The narration which Kamla gave through her letters to Maya is not only emotional but throws limelight on how women were treated those days especially by the landlords and those who had money and power.

Bengal famine was explained in such a way that you yourself could feel the pain associated with it. The predatory men and their lust for flesh could no have been shown better than this since it is very much present even today. Those were the days when the difference between the Good and the Bad touch wasn't known and that is how the unsuspecting women and girls were molested. 

This book wouldn't be suitable for young kids but they can be told about this in a subtle manner. 

Shakti- spouse of Gita

Jagat - Kamal’s cousin. I am not going deep into the characters or the story as I might end up revealing more than what is required.

How Kamla meets Rajeev and marries him is explained beautifully. Rajeev leaves her for good after Rajika(Maya’s mother) was born and was 9 years old. The rouble which a single mother has to undergo has found a splendid narration in this book.

Letters to Rebecca and Tanya by their respective grandmothers - Lynette, Helga and Kamla were handed over to Maya who later finds out that all the three grannies have met each other in the past.

Ronnie, Maya’s boyfriend wasn’t happy about this proposal since Rebecca’s last known address was in New York. Maya wanted to go, meet her in person and hand over the letter to honour her grandmother’s wish.

Helga - Rebecca’s granny suffered a lot during the period of WW-II since she was a Jew and we all know how they were treated by the Nazis. The cruelty of Auschwitz was presented so beautifully in this book which will make you cry, for sure.

The complicated relationship between Helga and Levana, that finally ends with Maya(though they haven’t met each other) is heartbreaking. 

Maya then gets to meet Tanya and hands over Lynette’s letter to Tanya. Though Tanya wasn't receptive in the beginning, she gets to understand the truth. 

The cover page is not only striking and appealing but a thought-provoking one. If any granny has time to read this book fully, they would for sure want a granddaughter like Maya. 

This book is available on Amazon in Kindle, Hardcover and Paperback formats.

Book Review - Aghori : An Untold Story


Title - Aghori : An Untold Story

Author - Mayur Kalbag

Genre - Historical Fiction

Publisher - Flipping Pages

ASIN - B0953S2964

Subraiya Iyer also known as Subbu goes to Kotisurya to meet Aghoris at the behest of his Guru. He Meets Rahasya who accompanies him in his journey and introduces him to Maha Sidheshwar Aghori Baba aka Siddha Baba ji, who commands a good voice and control among the Aghoris.

The very first meeting has an unexpected event. There was a fire that hits the head. Subbu was told that he has to go through a three-step process for the activation to be initiated and complete.

What were these?

Maha Sidheshwar then hands him over to Naryogi Baba who takes him after completing the second step to another aghori for the final step - Hoodibhang Goonfa. 

Then there is an introduction of Kaalika Mahaghori Sadhus, who revered Mahaghori Tadamba.

After the third and the step, they travel to Bhoogampha Goompha(cave).

These steps would make you understand the tedious process which Subbu has to go through but he does it with ease.

The mention of river Dolphins and Shaligram stone sends you goosebumps since these were the part and parcel of the Himalayan region and is pretty much confined to that area.

It is in Kedarnath, Subbu meets Shivaghori Adbhootanand Baba who was believed to be five thousand years old. He said that he practices something called "meditative hibernation".

There was a mention of Jal - Agni Agruti process by Rishi Bruhangnath.

Finally, he meets Bhambole Baba in the  Maharambha cave who hands over Brahma Vatsa Adrushya Shaligram for his guru.

This book is written in the form of an autobiography which makes the narrative easy as the lead character takes us along with him in his journey of search for the sadhus and their lifestyle.

This book brings out the unknown side of the Aghoris. Some of them are scintillating and some, unbelievable. 

This book is available on Amazon

Book Review - Faith and the Beloved


Title - Faith and the Beloved
Author - Kochery C Shibu
Genre - Fiction
Publisher - Mishan Design Point Pvt Ltd
ISBN - 978-93-5408-288-7

This is a brilliant novel by Kochery C Shibu which made me feel that I have read a novel which we use to get in the 70's and 80's. When I say this, I did not mean about the storyline but the writing style which is not only traditional but also makes you feel contended that you have read a really good novel.

As it is mentioned in the description, this story perfectly fits the combination of love, lust, betrayal and revenge. The story begins with Alice Cherozil trying to kill Tony DSouza who happened to her stepfather.

Why was Alice trying to kill him in the first place?

On the other side, Arun and Prem who were brothers had a troubled childhood back in their village where they get chased away. They were about to be killed but escapes luckily. While Prem was a brilliant student and a 'Kalari" exponent, Arun gets killed by the cops. Prem avenges the death of his brother.

Why did cops eliminate Arun?

Was there a conspiracy behind this?

How did Naithy Cherozil, mother of Alice Cherozil fell in love with Tony? Despite being a brilliant student herself, she badly wanted to marry Jiza who wasn't a Syrian Christian but finally agrees to the alliance but the happiness was short-lived since Jiza gets killed in the shootout at Taj Palace Hotel, Mumbai. 

Then there is Tony who had a shady background but somehow attracts Naithy. Though Cherozil is a very affluent family, Tony's attention was towards something else. The story starts getting the pace at this stage which involves the underground don, paid supari, NSA and others.

What was the reason NSA comes into the picture?

Read this brilliantly crafted story which would satisfy your desire to read a lengthy novel which keeps you captivated till the end.

This book is available on Amazon

Book Review - Straight From he Horse's Mouth : Words Of Wisdom From A Pioneer


Title - Straight From The Horse's Mouth: Words Of Wisdom From A Pioneer
Author - Haresh Sippy
Genre - Self Help / Personal Growth
Publisher - BecomeShakespeare
ISBN - 978-93-5458-020-8

A stunning book. This is a collection of 100 quotes that starts with a bang "You cannot create a quote. You have to live through a situation to pour experience into one".

This sets your expectations right from the very beginning. Each and every quote is bang on. I am saying not only as a reviewer but also as a person who has experienced some of them in my own life.

Each and every quote would make yourself retrospect. You may not have come across all of them but for sure, most of them. Though the author isn't a philosopher, the way the content is given, will make you think that he is one.

For a better understanding and grasping, I would suggest you to read only a few quotes in a day and not all of them in one go. I have liked most of the quotes but would like to give a few which had a deep effect on my mind and thought.

An employee deserves to be a boss only when he starts finding fault with himself

Learn to accept what you don't expect

Not Knowing is not a weakness, but not admitting it, certainly is

Insecurity is the result of comparison

Belief comes from your own experience and not someone else's

Identify the cause, the remedy will follow

Mistakes are fuel for thought

As you could see, each and every quote is so strong and powerful that you could very well relate to your work life, personal life and what not?

Author has hit the bull's eye straight rather than beating around the bush.

A perfect gifting option to a book lover and if you are a book lover yourself, you should certainly consider about gifting this to yourself :-)

This book is available on Amazon