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Showing posts with label Leadstart Publishers. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Leadstart Publishers. Show all posts

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Book Review | Return of the Trojan Horse – Tales of Criminal Investigation by Amit Dubey

Return of the Trojan Horse – Tales of Criminal Investigation 
by Amit Dubey #BookReview

The blurb says:

Hello Amit, don’t waste your time; you can’t hack my system. But we will hack your country! Ameen.

They know me! This wasn’t good. The greatest fear a hacker has is having his identity revealed. During investigative operations, I always guarded my identity like the Kohinoor diamond. Then how could they have reached me? It was a-l-m-o-s-t impossible. 

A young software engineer, who, as a hobby, starts helping the Police in solving criminal cases, turns into a critical resource for the Force. He becomes entrapped in the system. Return of the Trojan Horse is the riveting narration of how he is compelled to draw inputs from his personal life and use sharp thinking and advanced technology to solve the criminal cases he is brought into. Based on real life, the book reveals the next generation methodologies used in crime investigation.

With the advent of internet and technology, our lives have changed drastically. We cannot imagine living a day without internet and our gadgets. Every facet of our lives is touched by technology; from the way we shop our groceries, plan our holidays, to how we book our cabs, movie tickets, etc. Whatever we do on the internet, we leave our digital footprints behind. While technology has made our lives easier, it has also made us more vulnerable.

We live in a world where criminals and terrorists are using hi-tech methods and equipment to plan their acts. And hence it is no surprise that those involved in criminal investigations also use advanced technology and next generation methodologies to crack crimes cases. Return of the Trojan Horse – Tales of Criminal Investigation by Amit Dubey gives us a sneak peek into the world of crimes and criminal investigation and how big a role technology is playing in today’s time.

Before I talk about the book, here is something about the author Amit Dubey that you should know. He is a well-known persona in the field of Crime Investigation in India and helps various police departments and security agencies in India to solve criminal cases. He is an IIT alumnus and a software engineer by profession. He speaks regularly at international conferences on cybercrimes and ethical hacking. He has also been featured by CNN-IBN as a National Security Expert.

Given the author’s background, I had high expectations from the book as I felt that the author will be drawing in from his rich experience in the cybersecurity field and will have something interesting to share. The book didn’t just meet my expectations but surpassed it. There are three different fictional case studies in the book - one dealing with a terrorist attack, one involving a kidnapping case and one revolving around a hit and run case (although I do feel somewhere they do have some resemblances with real incidents). All of them are narrated in simple and easy to follow language. The author doesn’t aim to preach or educate you about anything – he just narrates you a story of criminal investigation and how with the help of technology he helped in solving them. The use of technical jargons is minimal and hence the storytelling never feels overwhelming at any point in time.

As you go through the pages of the book, you will know how easy it is to track anyone who uses a smartphone and is connected to the internet. It is quite scary in a way that we are all oblivious to how vulnerable we all are in today’s time connected by technology.

The narration in the book is crisp and to the point. Yet, it often evokes many emotions in the reader– at some point, you will feel angry, sometimes anxious and helpless and often you will feel a strong sense of patriotism. A good pick for anyone interested in reading stories from the field of cybersecurity, criminal investigation and ethical hacking.

This book makes for a great gift for any book lover. So, this Diwali you can gift it to a book-loving friend of yours.

I received a free copy of the book from Leadstart Publishers in lieu of an honest review.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

The Sixth - The Legend of Karna by Karan Vir - Karna Trilogy Part 1

The Sixth - The Legend of Karna by Karan Vir - Karna Trilogy Part 1

When I got the opportunity to choose a book from a list of titles by leadstartcorp to review, I was instantly interested in this title The Sixth - The Legend of Karna by Karan Vir. Readers who have followed by blog will know that I have a special liking for books based on Indian mythology. This book is not entirely mythological, but a blend of two stories from two eras, running parallel and culminating into something interesting for the readers. This is the debut book of the author and is supposedly Book 1 of his Karna Trilogy.

Karan vir Oberoi is the main protagonist of the novel. He is a real estate tycoon living in New York. But, something has not been right in his life of late. He is experiencing recurring dreams of an ancient warrior clad in golden armor and golden earrings. There is a sense of déjà vu, and he feels as if the warrior wants to tell him something. Even though he tries hard to make some sense of his dreams - he ends up being entirely baffled by it. His business associates also see a difference in his attitude and swings in his mood at work. When Karan's mother comes to know about these dreams, she advises him to go back to his roots- India, to get the answers he is seeking. Amidst all these, there is someone who is plotting against Karan and hatching plans to assassinate him. Karan however, miraculously survives the attempt and heads to India where his destiny awaits him.

Running parallel to Karan's life is Karna's story. He is the one he dreams about. We all know about Suryaputra Karna, the unsung hero of Mahabharata. He was Kunti's first born and was eventually treated as the 'Sixth' Pandava at the end of his eventful life. Hence, the author has aptly named the first book of his Karna Trilogy as 'The Sixth'. Karna was known to be benevolent king; he defied social customs and traditions to achieve immortal glory by his virtues and skills. He became the king of Anga and the most trusted man of Duryodhana, the crown prince of Hastinapur. We all know how his association with Duryodhana ultimately sealed his fate.

All of you who have grown up watching the legendary serial Mahabharata on Doodarshan will probably agree that when you think of Karna from Mahabharata, the face of actor Pankaj Dheer will come floating in your mind. Since, then many other versions of the epic have been aired on various channels, but I never had the chance of watching any of those (and I am glad about it). So, the face of Karna in my mind stays the one I saw in my childhood days. But, after reading this novel, a new face of Karna has surfaced in my mind. Thanks to the liberal use of sketches and graphics throughout the novel.

Even though I am not very good at spotting typos, a couple of them did come to my attention. That is something that can be done away with by the editing team.

The premise of the book sounds promising. While most of us already know about Karna, it is interesting how the author tries to amalgamate Karna's story into Karan's life. However, as a reader I did feel the flow of the story could be better. There were parts that could be elaborated, for example - the part where Karan braves a terrorist attack while on a business trip and saves his business partner. His journey in India also seemed to be rushed upon. Also, I really couldn't gauge the character of 'KPS' as he made fleeting entries here and there in the story in the style of a Bollywood villain. May be the author has intended it that way. But, somehow it didn't work for me. Since the story will span three volumes; there are too many unanswered questions when the first part of the trilogy ends. That does rouse the curiosity of the readers and all that can be done is, wait for the next book of the series to be released.

I am looking forward to the next book of the series as I am curious to know what happens next in Karan's life.

I received this book for Leadstart publishers in exchange for an honest review.

Thank you for stopping by! Cheers!

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Sattvik Foods of India by Anupama Shukla

Sattvik Foods of India by Anupama Shukla is a cookbook with a difference. As the first word in the title of the book reads ‘sattvik’ – one can easily get it that it is a vegetarian cookbook. The book revolves round the idea ‘we are what we eat’. But, in today’s fast paced life we have forgotten the importance of food in our life – we just have food to fill our hungry bellies. We tend not to give much importance to the nourishment factor which eventually disturbs the natural balance in our body and pushes it towards illness. 
This book is not just a collection of recipes – it also dwells on the basics of why having the right kind food is essential for one’s physical and mental well being. The author very much believes in how Ayurveda explains the science of food. Before she begins dishing out delicious recipes, she briefly explains the Panchamahabhutas – the building blocks for every single thing in this world. She tells us about their relationship with the human body. We also get to know about the three ‘doshas’ that can affect a human body and ultimately how the ‘Prana’ in sattvik food can alleviates the negativity of the doshas. Every human being can have a different body constitution – so if we can understand our body type, we will be in a better position to choose the right balance in the food we consume. The best part is that the author has summed up the basics in just a few pages. So, my advice is before you jump to the recipe section of the book, do go through the first few pages – it will help you in appreciating the recipes better.

The recipe section of the book is divided into certain segments. Right from breakfast, lunch, dinner, beverages, condiments and festive recipes are covered. If you were under the impression that sattvik food can be nourishing but not as delicious, this book is going to going to make you reconsider that thought. Some of my personal favorite recipes in the book include Aam ka Panha, Thandai, Chaas, Moong Anardana Salad, Paneer Pakora, Bhel Puri, Panchmel Dal, Bhara Paratha, Shrikhand, Rabdi and Til Patti. The book has over 70 recipes to please different tastes and palates. It showcases the fact that sattvik food can be tasty, colorful, nourishing and varied. The recipes are written in a simple and easy to follow language. There is an introduction to every recipe and notes where needed to assist the reader. Here I would like to add that it would have been useful to add the number of serving each recipe makes.

The illustrator Suhita Mitra has done a great job with the numerous illustrations in the book. But, still I missed seeing pictures of the final dishes. A few pictures in between the pages could have made the book look more appealing and attractive – after all we all eat with our eyes first.

Overall, it is a nice cookbook - one that doesn't just give out recipes but also educates us about the importance of eating the right kind of food for a healthy body and a sound mind.

I received a free review copy of the book from the Leadstart Publishers in lieu of an honest review.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Once Upon a Crush by Kiran Manral

Once Upon a Crush by Kiran Manral

The first thing that catches you attention about the book is the book cover. It is so girly and I quite liked it!

Meet Rayna De - an independent career Bong woman, who is stuck in a job with a boss from hell. She is still going to turn thirty soon and is pestered by her parents to meet suitable guys of their choice to get settled in life. Needless to mention she has zero love life. Her life consists of all the mundane things – go to office, work, sleep and office again. Things slightly perk up in the office when Deven Ahuja – the handsome guy seem to be falling for her. But, when things are about Rayna, nothing happens the way you expect them to.

Even though he seems interested in her, there are other rumors circulating about him. To top this Rayna boss is making her life difficult in the office. Out of the blue her best friend lands up in Mumbai and takes shelter in her house indefinitely! Hows Rayna is going to deal with the things happening in her life? Is she going to find the love of her life? Is she going to succumb to the pressure of her parent and her demanding boss? Well, these are the things to read in the novel.

Once Upon a Crush by Kiran Manral, is a quick and entertaining read that comes with a liberal dose of witty and humorous dialogues. It has all the masala of a Bollywood movie. The author has a humorous way to describing each and every character in the novel right from the lady herself to her melodramatic friend Pixie, her irritable office colleague Mathur, her boss Aparajita and of course, the office hunk Deven Ahuja. There are several twists and turns in the plot that can keep the readers engaged. I did enjoy reading it. However, I must say that I found the way the novel ended, quite predictable.

If you are looking for a quick read, then you can pick this book for sure.

About the Author:  Kiran Manral has worked with some of the leading media houses in India as a features writer and journalist. Her debut novel, The Reluctant Detective, was published in 2012. She lives in Mumbai with her family and puts her job definition down as school gate mom.
I received the book from Leadstart Publishers in exchange for an unbiased review.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The Sour Faced Moon by Rohini Lall - A Book Review

The Sour Faced Moon by Rohini Lall

Quoted from the blurb:

Oscillating between the families of Imroz Agha Khan, who resents his prosperous Afghan forefathers and his perennial outsider status in his own homeland and Danielle Anderson, who returns to seek refuge in the truth and dreams she had so abruptly fled from twelve years ago.

A story spanning three generations with malleability of rules as people try to break the bondage they have created all on their own. Rohini Lall s debut novel, The Sour Faced Moon is the saga of intertwining cultures and generations.

It has been quite a while I read this book- The Sour Faced Moon by Rohini Lall, but somehow I could not gather my thoughts on it. Today, finally I decided to pen down what I think of this debut book of the author. The title of the book is catchy and pretty innovative; to start with it can really pique the reader’s interest. However, the cover of the book which is a hazy picture of two beings probably staring at the moon didn't impress me at all. A better job could have been done there.

The story started quite nicely where we know about Zaamir Agha Khan as a kid and his hopes and dreams, but as we proceed to the second chapter we jump generations and know about his grandson Imroz Agha Khan. Slowly many other characters are introduced like Danielle, Bryan, Joshua, Nicholas, etc., but is done is a very confusing and haphazard way. It seems like the author started to weave a story, but went on to leave many threads dangling. I am especially not a fan of stories with too many loose ends  – it leaves me unsatisfied as a reader. From what I read in the book I gather that Danielle had left the valley where the story is set twelve years ago, but no reason for the same is cited. What is her story? What about Bryan and why has she come back with Bryan after twelve years? All these questions were running in the head by the time I was half way through the book and I was hoping that somewhere in the end, the author will satiate my curiosity. But, I was wrong.

The story in the book, just moves on – everyday things are happening, people are contemplating on the past, present and future; thing are just moving on without any concrete direction; everything in the novel evokes a sense sorrow. To add more loose threads in the story there are the characters of Emma – Danielle’s mother, Nicholas, Joshua and Deborah. To me it seemed like 2-3 separate stories were going on together but, I could not fathom their place in the larger picture. It was sort of confusing to say the least. Also, how the title of the novel fits in the book I don’t understand.

I like the author’s writing style – she vividly paints the picture of the things happening in the novel through her writing. However, I do feel that the story should have had a bit more substance. As a reader I don’t like to be told a story with too many loose ends.

I received this book from Lead Start Publishers in exchange for an unbiased review.
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