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Book Review: Raven’s Song (Inoki’s Game) by I.A. Ashcroft, Narrated by Mikael Naramore

Raven’s Song (Inoki’s Game) by I.A. Ashcroft

 
Raven's Song by I.A. Ashcroft
Title: Raven’s Song (Inoki’s Game)
Author: I.A. Ashcroft
Narrator: Mikael Naramore
Paperback: 290 pages
Publisher: Lucid Dreams Publishing (March 14th 2016)
Genre: Fantasy, Dystopia, Post Apocalyptic, Sci-fi
Read: audio book
Stars: ★★★★☆
Buy On: Amazon US | Audible | Amazon India

 

Summary:

(Goodreads)

A century ago, the world burned. Even now, though rebuilt and defiant, civilisation is still choking on the ashes.

Jackson, a smuggler, lives in the shadows, once a boy with no memory, no name, and no future. Ravens followed him, long-extinct birds only he could see, and nightmares flew in their wake. Once, Jackson thought himself to be one of the lucky few touched by magic, a candidate for the Order of Mages. He is a man now, and that dream has died. But, the ravens still follow. The nightmares still whisper in his ear.

Anna’s life was under the sun, her future bright, her scientific work promising. She knew nothing of The Bombings, the poisoned world, or the occult. One day, she went to work, and the next, she awoke in a box over a hundred years in the future, screaming, fighting to breathe, and looking up into the eyes of a smuggler. Anna fears she’s gone crazy, unable to fill the massive hole in her memories, and terrified of the strange abilities she now possesses.

The Coalition government has turned its watchful eyes towards them. The secret factions of the city move to collect them first. And, old gods stir in the darkness, shifting their pawns on the playing field.

If Anna and Jackson wish to stay free, they must learn what they are and why they exist.

Unfortunately, even if they do, it may be too late.

 

My Review:

Note: I received this book from the author via Author Assistant in exchange for an honest review.

Cover: Dark and eye-catchy.

Narration: Easy on the ears. :)

Readability, language: Easy on the mind.

This is the second audio book I’ve managed to complete. I’d enjoyed my first book Project: Perception by Joshua Cook, (another fantasy) so much, I decided to pick up Raven’s Song for a listen. It seems like fiction is working better for me on audio, but that’s a topic for another day.

Raven’s Song is set a 100 years in the future, after the burning. This is a world of shields, radiation and raiders. In this world Jackson a smuggler, and Anna a woman from the past, must learn to use their magical abilities and stay alive.

It was the title that first caught my attention, they are beautiful birds – Ravens and have long been associated with magic. Then there was the cover that reminded me of the Omen series, one of the few books I’ve read in that genre. My mind was already made up to read the book, the blurb was that last nudge I needed.

The plot of Raven’s Song felt new and holds promise for the series as a lot of hints are dropped through the book about the core of the story. However a lot of questions remain unanswered at the end and I am still unclear about the heart of the series.

The concept of the world I.A. Ashcroft is creating for the series looks promising, set a 100 years in the future, a world ravaged by fires, a New York now contained in a shield, protected from radiation and raiders. My only complaint that he doesn’t explain how it all happened, I’m really curious and I hope Book 2 has the answer.

Apart from the main characters Jackson Dovetail, Anna Mathews and Agent Jayden Walker, there are other characters that I.A. Ashcroft has described well and made memorable. I’m looking forward to meeting them in future books.
Jackson and Anna are described well, but it was Agent Walker that stood out for me. His character has so many shades and secrets.

Raven’s Song starts off well and holds a good pace through out. This is a long book, 11 hours and 23 minutes! And I didn’t not get bored at any point, I couldn’t stop listening, wondering what would happen next. The story builds well to the climax and the end is a good primer for the next book.

I do wish though that so many questions had not been left unanswered, I would have like to know more about how the world was destroyed, where the gods mentioned in the blurb fit into the story and what the story really was about.

I quite liked I.A. Ashcroft’s style of writing, it light and easy to digest without big words and flowery descriptions. And yet there is enough dialogue and narration to make the book an enjoyable listen.

Mikael Naramore, the narrator brings the story and characters to life using different voices and styles for each character. His diction is clear with a good rate of speech, my Indian ear had no trouble at all understanding him.

I enjoyed Raven’s Song and I’m looking forward to book 2. I definitely recommend the book if you are a Dystopia Fantasy reader. However be warned, you will be left with a lot of questions and a wait for book two. :)

Buy On: Amazon US | Audible | Amazon India

About the Author:

 
I. A. Ashcroft dwells in Phoenix, Arizona, alongside a wonderful tale-spinner and two increasingly deranged cats. The author enjoys reading and pretending to be other people while rolling dice and wearing fancy hats.

 
Author Links:
WebsiteGoodreadsTwitter
 
 

December 1, 2016   No Comments

5 Reasons Why the Tata Hexa is Great for Traveling With Your Dog

5 Reasons Why the Tata Hexa is Great for Traveling With Your Dog: My Tata Hexa Review

 
Dogs and Cars - Tata Hexa

Cars and dogs are a hit combination but not every car is comfortable to travel in with your dog. We are a family of seven, 5 of whom are dogs, so I have very specific requirements of a car. And the Tata Hexa pleasantly surprised me by meeting almost all of them!

Over the last 7 years we’ve travelled with the dogs in a variety of cars and each trip was a learning experience on dogs and cars; what works for them and what doesn’t. The most important lesson I learned when travelling with dogs – make sure your dogs are comfortable, it’s more important than you think.

Almost all dogs love cars but that doesn’t mean they are comfortable. The amount of cabin space, the roll of the car, the smoothness of the drive, the temperature control inside the car, these are some of the things that can make journeys fun for your dog and you.

It was some of these things I was looking at when I checked out and drove the Tata Hexa over the weekend. I wanted to evaluate how well it would work for me and my dogs, and with this in mind I build a checklist. Here’s 5 reasons why I think the Tata Hexa is great for traveling with my dogs.

 

Tata Hexa Cabin Space

A Spacious Cabin that Allows Movement

 
Just like we cramp after sitting in one position for a long time, dogs cramp too. In small or restricted spaces dogs get fidgety and restless. Dogs need space to move and stretch.

With my pack I’ve noticed they like to rotate between windows, taking turns at each one. The Hexa which is a six seater has a lot of space and windows which makes it a car I think my dogs will enjoying riding in and looking out of.

Of course it won’t fit all 5 of my dogs, very few cars can, but it can definitely accommodate 4 of my dogs – 1 big dog, 1 medium dog and 2 small dogs – with ease.

 

Tata Hexa Soft Edges

Soft Edges and Smooth Contours for Safety

 
Many people use seat belts for their dogs in cars, I prefer to let them move about and make themselves comfortable. It’s an arguable point but it’s what seems to work for my dogs.

However allowing free movement requires that the cabin be a safe space in which the dog does not get hurt. There should be no sharp edges and protrusions that can cause injury.

The Hexa has soft touch interiors, all the surfaces feel soft to the touch. They aren’t cushioned or squishy but neither are they plasticky. All edges are well rounded and there are no sharp edges.

 

Tata Hexa Drive

Smooth Both in Acceleration and Braking

 
I don’t like jerky drives, I hate being thrown forward and back. The dogs don’t like it either. Sudden acceleration and braking throws them off balance and disorients them.

It’s this jerky movement that is one of the main reasons dogs have motion sickness and may dislike cars. But jerky driving isn’t just about driver skill, it’s also about the car and its built.

Over the weekend I got to experience both the manual and the automatic variants of the Hexa. In both versions I found the drive to be smooth. The car accelerated and braked with minimum jerk, and there was barely any body roll too. Even in the off road test, the car controlled sudden braking well with its EBP (electronic brake prefill) technology.

 

Tata Hexa Cooling

Uniform Cooling Across the Car with Climate Control

 
Cars can easily become ovens for dogs. Without the constant movement of cool air dogs can over heat quickly inside a car and even suffer a heat stroke.

Keeping windows open when driving is one solution, but this is a dangerous thing to do. Dogs have been known to impulsively jump out of cars, get their heads stuck in windows and even get hit by high-speed insects and debris when they stick their heads out.

The safest and best option is to keep your windows closed and the air-conditioning running. However in most cars, it’s only the front row or first two rows that have air vents, and this makes for bad air flow.

In the Tata Hexa though, each row and seat has its own air vent and the fans for the passengers in the front and the back can be controlled independently, so there are no extreme temperature pockets and there is uniform cooling across the car. The air-conditioning also has climate control for cooling relative to the outside temperature.

 

Tata Hexa Music System

A Silent Cabin and Surround Sound Music System

 
Dogs startle and get agitated at sudden loud sounds, so a noisy truck coming too close or a loud honk next to the car makes dogs jump out of their skin.

White noise or music reduces the effect of the loud noises outside but in most cars the music across the car isn’t balanced and its louder at the back than in front. Now take into consideration that a dog hears 10 times what we do, can you imagine how loud the music would be to them.

The Tata Hexa however wins on both counts. The cabin is super silent, so silent in fact that, the person sitting right at the back can hear clearly the driver speak in a normal voice in the front. And the music system is top-notch with JBL speakers spread all around the car to give surround sound so you can keep the volume low and yet hear each note clearly. Together they make for a comforting atmosphere inside the car.

 

Tata Hexa Features

All the Little Bells and Whistles

 
Apart from these features of the Hexa, the Tata Motors team has paid attention to a lot of other little things that make traveling in the Tata Hexa an enjoyable experience.

There’s a chiller above the glove box where you can keep food and water cool with the help of the ac. So, you can have chilled water even on a hot day! And the windows have built-in sunscreens you can deploy easily to keep the harsh sun out.

Another add-on that wow’ed me was the carrier that can be added to the roof to make for more storage space. With the dogs taking up all the cabin room, the roof storage is critical.

Tata Hexa Carrier

 

Tata Hexa Air Bags

6 Airbags!

 
This is an excellent safety feature but just like with little children, airbags are not safe for dogs and can hurt them badly when they deploy. This feature was and is one of my biggest concerns but it seems like they will not be a danger to the dogs based on the image above, actually they might be great for the safety of the dogs.

 

Tata Hexa Logo

Summary and Parting Words

 
This was my first ever automatic SUV experience and what an experience it was. I enjoyed driving the car and was surprised by the control and ease of driving. It felt like a big car and yet didn’t feel like it.

The steering wheel gives lots of feedback and is very responsive. Not having to worry about gears on bad roads and traffic was such a blessing. I’m completely convinced about the automatic version except that it does not have all the driving modes and 4×4 option of a manual drive.

If you are a family with dogs, this is a car you should definitely consider. :)
 

Shoutout and thanks to Tata motors and Indiblogger for inviting me to test the all new Tata Hexa in Hyderabad. The Hexa will launch in January 2017 but bookings open in November 2016. Please check the Tata Motors website for more details.

October 27, 2016   4 Comments

5 Reasons To Travel With Your Bestie

5 Reasons To Travel With Your Bestie5 Reasons To Travel With Your Bestie

 
This last week I’ve been doing a lot of crochet and that means lots of TV time. 😀 That also means, I’ve been on the look out for shows to watch and… long story short, it’s how I found out about ‘Yaaron Ki Baraat’ the new TV show about celebrity besties that starts tomorrow, Saturday 8th Oct at 8pm on Zee TV.

Now this post isn’t about ‘Yaaron Ki Baraat’ (though there is some info on it, scroll to bottom if that’s what you came for). This post is about me and my bestie and the one thing we love to do the most, together – travel. Here’s 5 moments from our travels too and reasons why I love travelling with my bestie. 😉
 

5 Reasons To Travel With Your Bestie

 

5 Reasons To Travel With Your Bestie

1. You can say anything, absolutely anything

 
Best friends don’t judge, that means you can say anything without having to worry about being embarrassed. And when you are travelling it’s wonderful to have someone along who you can say anything to.

5 Reasons To Travel With Your Bestie

2. You can say nothing, and that’s fine too

 
With best friends silences are always comfortable. Some silences are uncomfortable but with a bestie you don’t need words, silence is golden and can say so much.

5 Reasons To Travel With Your Bestie

3. Because they always get your jokes

 
Best friends always get your jokes, even if they don’t laugh at it sometimes. But isn’t it great to travel with someone who understands your mind and it’s workings.

5 Reasons To Travel With Your Bestie

4. Sometimes you just need a cuddle

 
It’s true, besties are the best huggers, ever! And, it’s also true that, when you look back at all those lovey-dovey poses, it’ll bring a 100 watt smile to your face.

5 Reasons To Travel With Your Bestie

5. You’ll have an adventure, guaranteed

 
I’ve done some of the craziest things ever with my bestie, some of them impromptu and oh the adventures we’ve had together! Best friends share a craziness and that makes for fun travel.

My bestie and I, boy! have we got stories to tell from our travels. The time we impulsively took an auto up a mist covered Talacavery and found not a soul on top. It was just us and the mountain. :) Another time we took a motorcycle trip to test my new bike, and enjoyed our time so much on the road, we had to race the sun to return before dark. 😀 And then there are all those times we’ve danced around a campfire with no care in the world. Journeys with best friends is the best kind of travel, ever!

What say you? :)

Now as promised, some info on the show because my bestie is a huge bollywood trivia queen and I know she’ll love this show.

Yaaron Ki Baarat (Read – Vivo Smartphone presents Yaaron Ki Baraat co-powered by Amazon.in and Brooke Bond Red Label) is a show that will put celebrity friendships to test through a series of fun challenges and tasks. The first one has Shatrughan Sinha and Amitabh Bachchan. And the hosts are Sajid Khan and Riteish Deshmukh. To me the combination sounds like entertainment. The first episode airs on Saturday, 8th October at 8 PM as Zee TV.

5 Reasons To Travel With Your Bestie

October 7, 2016   No Comments

Why You Should Also Participate in the Autumn Ninja Book Swap

The Autumn Ninja Book Swap

Autumn Ninja Book Swap

I’m a self-proclaimed booknerd, I love anything books, well almost. But the ninja book swap isn’t just anything; it’s this cool funky fun way to get more books, get gorgeous book paraphernalia and make some wonderful bookish friends.

This year I’ve been exploring the world of books outside of the book. I’ve been looking up podcasts, booktubers, book subscription boxes, bookmarks, book holders, … you name it. 😀

It was while searching for book subscription boxes that I first came across The Ninja Book Swap. I’d already missed the first swap of the year, but I marked my calendar and waited for the next one, I wanted to try it out, exchanging books with a stranger sounded like such a novel-fun idea to me.

Ninja Book Swap

My first and only ever ninja book swap before this was the Mini Swap in June. I signed up, created my list of books and started waiting for the actual exchange. By the time Bex’s email arrived a few days later, I was super excited and all charged up. I couldn’t wait.

I was so impatient, I sent off the book I chose immediately, deciding to send my letter separately to follow. Then another wait, this time to receive my package began. The book came a week later, followed by a letter a few more days later. Seems my partner thought just like me. 😀

My Ninja Book Swap

The whole exchange was so much fun, the initial anticipation, choosing a book for someone else, waiting for my book, the surprise of someone else’s choice, getting to know not one but two bookish folk. Yep, it was only after I got my bookswap parcel, that I realised that the person I sent a book to was not the one who sent me a book. 😛

Now, it’s time for another book Swap and I’m again, super excited. Sign-ups for the Autumn Ninja Bookshop are open and I can’t wait for pairing up to begin. (sign-ups close Oct. 2).

If you’ve never participated in a bookswap before, do it, it’s so fun, and don’t wait, join this one. It’ll be so cool to have friends in the swap. Tell me in comments if you are participating in the Autumn Ninja Book Swap.

 

Here’s some stuff you need to know about the Autumn Ninja Book Swap.

 

  1. You can sign up for a swap on theninjabookswap.blogspot.in.
  2. There are two types of swaps – mini swaps and full swaps.
    Mini Swap – one book & a personal note
    Full Swap – one book, a gift or two & a personal note
  3. Sometimes swaps have themes, like this one is Trick or Treat, but you can also just do the original version, or both. 😀
  4. Make your choice of book and gift based on a list of your partner’s likes and dislikes and their bookish wishlist.
  5. Then make a nice shiny package and send it to your partner before the deadline.
  6. Lastly, start watching out for your package in the mail. 😉

 

  • More details about the Autumn Ninja Book Swap here
  • Read about How it Works (all the rules and terms) before signing-up.
  • More questions? Read the FAQ’s
  • Follow @NinjaBookSwap on Twitter for updates and announcements of swaps.
  • The Ninja Book Swap is an international event and Indian residents can participate (however some other countries may not be covered. Please check website).

That’s about it, it’s rather simple but it’s so much fun. I haven’t yet forgotten the excitement of last times swap and that was a mini swap. This time it’s a full swap with an additional theme twist. I’m all in for the original but can’t make up my mind on whether to do the the theme twist too. What do you think? Two swaps?? Are you participating???

September 24, 2016   No Comments

Book Review: Iron Goddess by Dharma Kelleher

Iron Goddess by Dharma Kelleher

 
Iron Goddess by Dharma Kelleher
Title: Iron Goddess
Author: Dharma Kelleher
Paperback: 269 pages
Publisher: Alibi(June 28th 2016)
Genre: Thriller, Suspense, Gay and Lesbian
Read: eBook
Stars: ★★★☆☆
Buy On: Amazon US

 

Summary:

(Goodreads)

Shea Stevens is biker royalty. Her father was the president of the Confederate Thunder Motorcycle Club. Under his watchful eye, she learned how to pick locks, disable alarms, and hot-wire cars like a pro. But all that is ancient history. Or so she thought . . .

After a stint in prison, Shea has worked hard to make a quiet, happy life for herself in Arizona. She spends her time bonding with her big-city girlfriend and running her bike shop, Iron Goddess Custom Cycles, with her dedicated team of misfits. But when one of her employees is shot and three of her specially commissioned bikes are stolen, Shea’s new life collides with the criminal underworld she tried to leave behind.

Shea knows better than to trust the police. So, with her Glock on her hip, she takes the investigation into her own hands. Shea’s search for the bike thieves leads her straight to her father’s old gang—and her estranged sister, whose young daughter has been kidnapped by a rival club. The last thing Shea wants is to be caught in the middle of a war—but if she learned one thing from her old man, it’s that when someone comes at you, you push back. Hard. And that’s exactly what she’s going to do.

 

My Review:

Note: I received this book from Alibi (a Random House Imprint) via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Cover: Grunge and rugged.

Paper and font: Easy on the eyes.

Readability, language: Easy on the mind.

Being a biker myself, the story of another female biker instantly appealed to me and I picked up Iron Goddess. I thought it would be a good insight into the biker culture of America.

Shea is an ex-motorcycle club member who now custom builds bikes for women and is happy in her new life. Until suddenly the old world comes calling when her shop get burglarised, her estranged sister turns up and her niece gets kidnapped. Will Shea be able to get her bikes back? Can she rescue her niece? And keep her sanity and distance from the old life of violence? That’s the story.

Apart from being the name of Shea’s bike shop, Iron Goddess the title is also a metaphor for the strength she must find in herself. I quite liked the cover with its rugged colour tones and graphic. The blurb is a good test of what to expect in the book.

I found the plot new and different, I haven’t read a story like Iron Goddess before. Dharma Kelleher surprised me constantly, I kept guessing what would come next but she always had an ace up her sleeve. I like books that keep me on my toes.

I’ve never been to America or Arizona where this story plays out but the descriptions of the mountains, valleys, city roads, traffic, sudden rains and more, made it all very real for me.

Shea’s strength and will to fight was something I admired but her stubbornness to not stay out of trouble got to me a few times. And then there was her sister and the chauvinistic men who really got my goat. Iron Goddess has a varied cast of characters and I enjoyed the diversity in the book. The characters of Iron Goddess feel real, their emotions and reactions easy to associate with.

Dharma Kelleher uses simple language that makes for fast reading and the story is fast paced too. The climax is good but unexpected and took me a while to accept.

Overall, Iron Goddess was an enjoyable read and I recommend it if you are looking for a fun, action-packed diverse book. I learned a thing or two about American Bike Culture too!

Buy On: Amazon US

About the Author:

Dharma Kelleher
 
A biker chick, Dharma Kelleher writes gritty tales about renegades, outlaws, and misfits. She has a degree in journalism and over the years, has worked as a news director, a construction worker, a goldsmith, a caregiver, and a web developer. Some of her favourite authors are Lawrence Block, Elmore Leonard and Jim Butcher.

 
Author Links:
WebsiteGoodreadsTwitter
 
 

September 22, 2016   No Comments

Book Review: First Comes Love by Emily Giffin

First Comes Love by Emily Giffin

 
First Comes Love by Emily Giffin
Title: First Comes Love
Author: Emily Giffin
Paperback: 380 pages
Publisher: Ballantine Books(June 28th 2016)
Genre: Womens Fiction, Chick Lit
Read: eBook
Stars: ★★★☆☆
Buy On: Amazon India | Amazon US

 

Summary:

(Goodreads)

Growing up, Josie and Meredith Garland shared a loving, if sometimes contentious relationship. Josie was impulsive, spirited, and outgoing; Meredith hardworking, thoughtful, and reserved. When tragedy strikes their family, their different responses to the event splinter their delicate bond.

Fifteen years later, Josie and Meredith are in their late thirties, following very different paths. Josie, a first grade teacher, is single—and this close to swearing off dating for good. Determined to have the future she’s always wanted, Josie decides to take matters into her own hands.

On the outside, Meredith is the model daughter with the perfect life. Yet lately, Meredith feels dissatisfied and restless, secretly wondering if she chose the life that was expected of her rather than the one she truly desired.

As the anniversary of their tragedy looms and painful secrets from the past begin to surface, Josie and Meredith must not only confront the issues that divide them, but also come to terms with their own choices. In their journey toward understanding and forgiveness, both sisters discover they need each other more than they knew . . . and that in the recipe for true happiness, love always comes first.

 

My Review:

Note: Thanks to Penguin First to Read Program for offering me the book to read and review :)

Cover: Simple and clean.

Paper and font: Easy on the eyes.

Readability, language: Easy on the mind.

Blood is thicker than water isn’t just a proverb I learned in school but also, a life lesson. Life taught me that family comes first, they don’t judge but love you for who you are, they stick with you when others shirk you off. And that siblings share a bond, a very special bond.

So, when I first heard of Emily Giffin’s book on the All the Books podcast it caught my attention and I picked it up when Penguin offered it though their First to Read program.

First Comes Love is the story of two sisters and their bond. 15 years ago, when they were in their twenties they lost their elder brother Daniel in an accident. The loss of a sibling changes their life as they struggle to cope with their grief and loss. Over 15 years it’s impacted their relationship too. Will they be able to save it?

I loved the cover, it’s simple and clean. The title’s appropriate and the blurb sets the stage quite well.

I’ve read stories of siblings reuniting before so the plot isn’t all new but it still was different. All the layers and twists involved in Daniel’s accident created a world that was easy for me to associate with. All that was happening felt real.

The sisters, Josie and Meredith feel real and believable; I found myself liking them and disliking them based on the situation. Pain of the loss of a loved one is easier to deal-with with family, but loss can also easily make a wedge between them. I’ve experienced this, so I found myself sympathising with Josie and Meredith as they dealth with their individual loss, and found strength in each other again.

The language of the book is simple and easy but the pace was a little slow for me and that spoilt the climax for me. That said, I enjoyed reading Love Comes First right to the end.

A good read if you are into family drama. A story anyone with siblings can associate with. Go ahead read it, it does stand up to the hype.

Buy On: Amazon India | Amazon US

About the Author:

Emily Giffin
 
Emily Giffin is a graduate of Wake Forest University and the University of Virginia School of Law. After practicing litigation at a Manhattan firm for several years, she moved to London to write full time. She now lives in Atlanta with her husband and three children. First comes Love is her eighth novel.
 
Author Links:
WebsiteGoodreadsTwitter
 
 

September 20, 2016   No Comments

First View of the Vaya tyffyn: a premium tiffin box to keep food hot longer

Vaya tyffyn tiffin-box

I don’t like to cook and I make no bones about it. Che likes to cook but doesn’t have the time. So, for us food is a constant issue. Over the years, we’ve tried a variety of tiffin services and cooks, so my excitement about a premium tiffin-box is understandable.

Only I’m a gu-gu, blind enough to misread service for box. I blame it all on the pesky glasses 😀 But anyway moving on…

Yesterday I attended the launch of Vaya Tyffyn, a premium tiffin-box brand. Here’s all that happened along with some photos and videos from the event last night.

It all started with a sound and light show…

A video posted by Freya (@freya3377) on

 
Followed by a dance…

A video posted by Freya (@freya3377) on

 
Then like it’s customary these days, the next act was stand-up comedy. Karthik Kumar from Evam, Chennai had me in splits with his humour and jokes ranging from the Cavery to Maggi.

Karthik Kumar Vaya tyffyn tiffin-box

 
Mr. Vashist Vasanthakumar, CEO & founder of Vaya took the stage next to unveil the box and talk about all the tech behind it.

Vashist Vasanthakumar Vaya tyffyn Tiffin-box

 
Behind the scenes stories bring products to life, IMHO, and Mr. Vashist Vasanthakumar’s telling of how and why he made Vaya, transformed the simple tiffin-box into an object of technology.

Vaya tyffyn tech

 
As he talked, I remembered all those years of school when I moaned as I opened my lunch box to find cold solidified food. My Mom’s an excellent cook, but most days, it was the hunger that emptied the cold box, not gluttony.

The Vaya Tyffyn aims as changing all of that, with technology. The tiffin-boxes have vacuum insulation and copper coating to retain maximum heat. They are leak proof.

Vaya tyffyn tiffin-box

 
The design of the box is sleek and smart; it’s a box I’d like to be seen carrying around. There is also a smart looking bag to carry the box that doubles up as a mat when eating.

Vaya tyffyn tiffin-box

 
Apparently, one of the challenges the Vaya team faced when developing the tiffin-box was heat. No, not the loss of it but retention. While testing the team found that the boxes stayed so hot, they couldn’t pick them up. And that’s the reason for the plastic lip and lid of the boxes, to facilitate the opening of a hot box.

Vaya tyffyn tiffin-box

 
The launch was hosted by an old friend Lakshmi Rebecca (it’s been a while since I last saw her. 😊 Lakshmi is a filmmaker and she tells little known stories through the medium. Check them out on her YouTube channel – Chai With Lakshmi.).
And the nostalgia continued with Nisha Millet Chatterjee, who also I haven’t seen in years. Nisha is an Olympic swimmer I’ve shared the pool with as a child. 😀 She now has her own swimming academy!
So, it was Nisha and Archana Doshi of Archana’s Kitchen fame, who shared their views on tiffin-boxes and nutrition.

Vaya tyffyn tiffin-box

 
And it all wound down with an excellent dinner that I couldn’t do justice to with my food limitations. But, I did do justice to the desserts – chocolate fudge, cheese cake and cham-cham. ITC Gardenia’s dessert chef rocks! Yum 😋

Vaya tyffyn ITC Gardenia

 
I got my very own Vaya Tyffyn box too! It was a tough choice between the three options – Maple, Graphite and Wool. But I have a thing for steel, so… Take a look…

I’m looking forward to using and testing the Vaya Tyffyn. Review and more on it coming soon. 🙂 You can check out more and buy a Vaya Tyffyn on www.vaya.in.
Do you carry a tiffin-box to work? Isn’t ghar ka khanna the best? What your biggest complaint with your current lunch box?

August 20, 2016   1 Comment

Book Review: Destiny of Shattered Dreams by Nilesh Rathod

Destiny of Shattered Dreams by Nilesh Rathod

 
Destiny of Shattered Dreams by Nilesh Rathod
Title: Destiny of Shattered Dreams
Author: Nilesh Rathod
Paperback: 254 pages
Publisher: Rupa Publications(May 20th 2016)
Genre: Contemporary
Read: Paperback
Stars: ★★★★☆
Buy On: Amazon India | Amazon US

 

Summary:

(Goodreads)

An insider’s view into what goes on behind the glittering facade of corporate stardom, DESTINY of SHATTERED DREAMS is a fast-paced
tale of a brilliant young man’s meteoric rise. It is also a moving portrayal of the fallibility of love.

Ambition, passion
and raw courage are Atul Malhotra’s key aides to realizing his dreams as he learns the art of gambling for high stakes. What follows is a game of treachery, infidelity and murder.

The book lays bare the sordid corporate-politico nexus that compels this once middle-class boy to deftly learn the ropes and negotiate a world where dirty deals and power plays can make or break lives, where one wrong choice could be fatal.

A tale of yachts and hidden Swiss accounts, sordid affairs of lust, intrigue and exhilarating highs, Nilesh Rathod’s Destiny of Shattered Dreams is also the story of innocence forever lost.

 

My Review:

Note: Thanks to Nilesh Rathod for offering me his book to read and review :)

Cover: Eye-catchy

Paper and font: Font could have been bigger

Readability, language: Easy

I had mixed feelings when I first picked up Destiny of Shattered Dreams, the story of a man’s rise and fall in the corporate world. Corporate drama isn’t really my thing or maybe all books I’ve read until now of that type haven’t worked for me.

Either ways I’m tentative about those types of books but Nilesh Rathod’s book did sound interesting so, I took the shot. Glad I did too, I breezed though it and enjoyed reading it.

Atul Malhotra is a boy who comes from simple beginnings and with shear hard work has climbed the ladder. Now he has his own company and powerful political people have invested in it. But with big money comes big trouble.

The cover is a colour spread of red and blue representing dreams with a jagged crack running through it. Between the cover and title, clear expectations are set of shattered dreams. The blurb also sets the same expectation.

The story is mostly set in Mumbai but other cities like Delhi and Geneva also feature as work and holiday destinations. Mumbai is present in the story in the background but it doesn’t play a predominant role.

The characters are very real flawed people who I found myself encouraging at times and getting so irritated with at others. The shallowness of us human beings is so apparent though the story and characters of Nilesh Rathod. At times I also felt the characters were very stereotypical in their reactions, I’d expected a more liberal modern outlook in a contemporary book.

Right at the start within 20 pages I knew Atul was going to go to jail but as he told his story Nilesh Rathod captured my curiosity and held it right to the end. The pace of the book is good but I felt the climax was very clichéd and it dampened the end for me.

The book was an easy read in language and structure and I breezed through it. But I felt that there was too much poetry (it’s translation) and philosophy through out and that also took away from my enjoyment of the book. That said, if you like contemporary corporate or business drama, this book will fit the bill really well. A good fast read!

Buy On: Amazon India | Amazon US

About the Author:

Nilesh Rathod

Nilesh Rathod is a businessperson, writer and poet.Destiny of Shattered Dreams is his debut novel and he is currently working on his second novel. He lives in Mumbai.
 
 
Author Links:
WebsiteGoodreadsTwitterFacebook
 

July 19, 2016   No Comments

Book Review: Twin Reflections by Elizabeth Joseph (The Maze of Mirrors #1)

Twin Reflections by Elizabeth Joseph (The Maze of Mirrors #1)

 
Twin Reflections by Elizabeth Joseph
Title: Twin Reflections
Author: Elizabeth Joseph
Paperback: 170 pages
Publisher: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.(January 2016)
Genre: YA Fantasy
Read: eBook
Stars: ★★★★☆
Buy On: Amazon India | Amazon US

 

Summary:

(Goodreads)

The maze of mirrors has been accumulating energy for ages. When Vera and Mark unwittingly find themselves trapped in the maze, its passages prove to be the least of their problems. Its magic can be a great tool or weapon, as Queen Missena is learning, and they are at its mercy. As they travel through, the illusions created by the maze takes them to places unexpected and dangers unforeseen.

But Vera has magic of her own. Will her magic help her and Mark escape the maze? Or will they be trapped inside forever?

 

My Review:

Note: Thanks to Elizabeth R. Joseph for offering me her book to read and review :)

Cover: Simple and childlike.

Paper and font: Easy to read font.

Readability, language: Easy on the mind.

I picked up Twin Reflections on a whim, without much research, so it was only at the end after I’d enjoyed the book, that I got to know the author was a teenager, she’s just 14, I was stunned!

This is a story of another world, with magic, and some people of this world have powers and auras. There’s something brewing in the kingdom, like a rebellion. There is also a Maze of Mirrors that is like AI, created but now out of control.

The Queen of the Kingdom can maybe control it but she’s new and doesn’t know the ropes yet. And there are these twins, a brother and sister pair who stumble into the labyrinth and now have to fight with all they’ve got to get out of it.

I was lost in all the detail and all that was happening at the beginning of the book but as I progressed it started to fall in place. There’s a lot happening in the story as Elizabeth Joseph creates this new world and sets the stage for a promising series.

The characters of the twins, Vera and Mark are well described and I felt like I knew them. All the other characters too evoked emotion as I found myself rooting for them, especially Queen Missena when she has this epic fight in the labyrinth.

That was one of my favourite scenes. Towards the end of the book there is this cat fight between two magicians that I enjoyed ( 😛 the secrets out, I like cat fights). Another scene that I vividly remember is when the pins drops and Vera sees through the labyrinth, understanding it’s workings, a very Matrix like moment.

The cover is simple drawing of a girl looking into a mirror, like those seen on children’s books and that mislead me into thinking this would be a simple book. But it isn’t, this is a complex story with many layers and subplots. I’m amazed that a 14 year old mind could envision all that and put it on words too, at 14 I was only reading books. 😀

This book is for ages 14 and above and I highly recommend it. There are some bits where I felt it got very muddled and unclear but it doesn’t take away from the story and I hope Elizabeth Joseph’s writing gets better through the series, like Christopher Paolini’s in the Eragon series. The story holds so much promise for an entertaining series.

Buy On: Amazon India | Amazon US

About the Author:

 
Elizabeth Joseph is a 14 year old 9th grade student in Kansas City. She has written several short stories, poems and plays during her elementary and middle school years. She started writing Twin Reflections in the 5th grade and completed it 3 years later in 2015.

Author Links:
WebsiteGoodreadsTwitter
 

July 12, 2016   No Comments