22 September, 2018

#BookReview :: Inkredia - Luwan of Brida by Sarang Mahajan

In Fal Doram, also called as the great empire of Inkredia, a conspiracy begins to unfold. The first step is an easy one – kill a simple, villager named Luwan. When Luwan suddenly faces an enemy straight out of the folklore, he is left dumbfounded by the mystery why they are after him. As he makes a daring run to survive, journeying through the unknown world outside his village, new mysteries emerge, some closely concerning him. Riddled with questions and hunted by legendary assassins, and by the nonhumans made of the darkest element in the nature, Luwan makes a dangerous journey through the incredible empire of Inkredia.

Goodreads * Amazon

Luwan of Brida is the protagonist of Inkredia and the book captures the beginning of his adventure that begins when he refuses to pay the tax of the land, a crime punishable by death. With nothing to lose and a lot to gain, Luwan skips town with his sister in tow. Slowly, he comes to realize that his journey would be more difficult than he could ever imagine. Creatures he had only heard of were now after him. But why? Could it be because of his refusal to pay tax or is there something more sinister at play? Only time will tell all.

I was lucky to have been offered a copy of the book for review purposes. Even though I love fantasies, the blurb of this book doesn’t reveal much and I probably would have skipped picking up this book hadn’t it been for a friend’s recommendation. 

Inkredia is a tale of a young adult as he discovers more and more about not only the land that he lives in but also about himself.  It is also a tale of magic, adventure, friendship, love and betrayal. I absolutely loved the world setting of the book. The author has dived right into the story from the very first chapter, but has managed to sprinkle just enough information throughout the book for the readers to be able to recreate the world in their minds as they read. The narrative style of the author has a certain element of swiftness in it. So, even when there was a certain lag in the story which was necessary for the world buildup, I did not really feel it while reading. 

I liked the way the author has developed the character of the protagonist, Luwan. He is young yet wise. He can be stubborn and rash too. But he is only seventeen! In the first book itself we see him transform from a simple boy trying to make ends meet to a brave fighter. It was interesting to see his fears and then see him face those fears. I also loved the camaraderie between him and his sister. Meg felt like an old soul sometimes. And Kiliarn! If I had the chance to meet just one character from this book, I would choose Kiliarn… let’s keep it at that.

I had one minor issue with this book. The author has set up a whole new world for us. And as amazing as it is, the narrative hampered the reading experience a bit. The author delves into the story straightaway using words and names that are unique to this story without any explanation. They were eventually explained as the story progressed and once a reader gets into the rhythm of the narrative, it becomes easier to understand. But there were moments in the first few chapters of the book when I felt lost. I wish there was a vocabulary list provided. While I did catch up on those eventually, it was difficult for me to get into the story directly. 

Inkredia is a brilliant beginning to a trilogy that promises to bring a lot more of magic and adventure to its readers.

Review Copy received from Glorybug Publishing

06 September, 2018

#Interview with Ishita Deshmukh, #Author of Heart Quake

About the Book:

Bhuj. Circa, 2001. A city wrecked by a massive earthquake. 

They met after ten long years. Their hearts wrecked by the promise of togetherness that could never be. 

As love tries to bloom again in the unlikeliest of places, intrigue sets in. Fleeting shadows… Hidden eyes… Mysterious deaths. 

What will happen when the tremors of love collide? Will he make it to the epicentre of love? Will her heart quake? 

Only Heart Quake will tell… 

Book Links:
Goodreads * Amazon

Interview with the Author:

When did you first realize that you wanted to be a writer/ a storyteller?
I always loved to tell stories. As a child I would create my own fairytales and insist that my paternal grandfather writes them down in a notebook. In school, I took extra creative writing classes. And then, one day, I simply decided to take it up seriously. I am glad that I had the opportunity and my family and friends have always been very supportive. 

What inspires you to write?
The people around me. I love observing them, guessing their backgrounds, and if I am lucky, eavesdropping too. 

How did you come up with the idea for your current story?
It was a creative writing class assignment in the same year that the earthquake struck Bhuj (2001). A few years later, I found the short story in my cupboard and decided to turn it into a novel. 

Are there some stories tucked away in some drawer that was written before and never saw the light of the day?
Oh, there are many such stories. Some are unfinished, some are complete but haven’t yet found the right medium to reach their audience. 

Did any of your characters inherit some of your own quirks?
Sonal, the heroine, has some similarities, such as being independent, stubborn, yet sometimes over-emotional.

What is the best piece of advice you have received, as a writer, till date?
To let myself free, forget my inhibitions while writing. There is nothing good nor bad in the words itself, it’s in the context and the interpretation of them. I am learning to free my mind and play with my characters and situations. 

What is the best piece of advice you would give to someone that wants to get into writing?
Writing for pleasure or as a hobby is very different from taking it up as a profession. Be ready to struggle. Be ready to fail. And if that does not deter you, then you are ready to write and explore your passion. 

What would be the Dream Cast for you book if it was to be turned into a movie?
To be honest, when I created my characters and fleshed them out, I picked out my favourite actors and placed them next to each person. Unfortunately, that was more than a decade ago. So, the same actors will not work right now. Currently, I would love to have Sushant Singh Rajput and Anushka Sharma play the protagonists. 

If you were to be stranded on the famous deserted island, what three things would you carry?
Firstly, I would not be stranded, because I am a control freak and would not let myself get into a situation where there is no way out. 
But if by some misfortune, I did (my worst nightmare!) and I do not lose my mind, then I would have a bottle of water, a romance novel and my mobile phone.  

How do you spend your free time? Do you have a favorite place to go and unwind?
I read a lot. That’s my favourite hobby. 
I don’t go anywhere to unwind, but I watch Hindi soap operas on television. People complain that it is regressive, some of it is, but what I look for is the human quirks that some script writers add to the protagonists / antagonists of a show. I do not follow any program for more than 3-6 months for they start to stagnate, but I certainly study them. 
I like to paint, play the keyboard / piano, bake. So, I am generally never bored. 😊 

Can you share with us something off your bucket list?
There is a very long bucket list, but here are some things I recall right now:
Seeing a book of mine turn into a movie
Being interviewed on TV
Spending 4 months in Europe, exploring the countries and writing
Spending 3 months in Lake District (UK)
A 5-day holiday in the world’s most expensive resort

Tell us three fun facts about yourself.
I love multi-tasking and doing totally different things in a single day. For example, I might cook, then embroider, then write an article, make a corporate presentation and then practice playing the keyboard, all in the space of a few hours. 
I am a sucker for a good romantic movie, even if it is totally predictable (I love Hallmark Channel movies!)
I love planning. My friends often tease me by saying that I even plan to plan. 

What do you have in store next for your readers?
I am still in the planning stage. But it is going to be something personal and yet fictitious. 

About the Author:
Ishita Deshmukh is, in many ways, a mascot for national integration! Born to Bengali and Gujarati parents, (who have a common Marathi surname) she grew up on a steady diet of Tamil culture and French literature in Puducherry. If that wasn’t enough, she is married to a Telugu bidda. She has this uncanny (and unnerving) ability to switch between six different languages in the course of a conversation.
She is a multi-tasking marketing professional who currently runs a small home business in Singapore and helps with her family business back home at Puducherry. 
She is passionate about the arts, loves painting, playing the piano and embroidery, but has always dreamt of becoming a writer. She is a regular fixture at the neighbourhood library and has a special place in her heart for romantic fiction. 
Although not a foodie, she conjures up scrumptious food for her family and friends. Her desserts have necessitated several layovers at Changi, Singapore (much to the chagrin of Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok). 
So, get ready to devour Heart Quake, the first of many delicious fares from her literary cauldron. 

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