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ARC Review: When Love Sticks Around by Danielle Dayney

Book Details:

Author:  Danielle Dayney 
Release Date: 15th November 2021
Genre: Memoir
Series:
Format: E-book 
Pages: 156 pages
Publisher: Belle Isle Books
Blurb:
Hand-me-down pants that don’t quite fit, twilight bike rides down sleepy neighborhood streets, sweaty family camping trips, the things that almost break you, and the things you barely notice-it’s hard to see the shape of your life until you’re looking back on it.
In this collection of short essays, Danielle Dayney recounts her experiences as an awkward child in the piecemeal family that raised her. From her biological father’s absence to her mother’s battle with cancer to the birth of her daughter, Dayney’s stories venture beyond anecdote to nest safely among the tangled experiences that shape the people we become. With a keen eye for the pebbles of humor and glimmers of beauty along the rough roads of her life, Dayney has crafted a book that feels as familiar as a home-cooked meal and as exciting as the first night in a new city.
When Love Sticks Around is a memoir of love, loss, humor, identity, and above all, family-the one you’re born into and the one you gather along the way.
Those are the things worth sticking around for.

Review

Rating: 5 out of 5.

“…it’s hard to see the shape of your life until you’re looking back on it.”

Danielle Dayney

When Love Sticks Around by Danielle Dayney is a beautiful memoir that is an ode to her past life and her beautiful family. This book is in the form of essays that will not only tell you about the author’s life and her experiences but will also make you relieve your own past because her writing is very relatable.

I am so glad that I got the opportunity to read this book because When Love Sticks Around is one of those books that feel less like a story (stories in this case) and more like an experience that is whole in itself. The author’s nostalgic reminiscence of her life, which was so filled with love and sometimes heartbreak, made me deeply connect to her on a level that is hard to explain. And these kind of feelings can only be evoked in a reader when the book is written from the heart and with a lot of love – not to mention with exceptional writing skills.

I would like to congratulate the author on penning down such an emotional journey in such an elegant and relatable way. I would definitely recommend this beautiful memoir to every reader as I am sure this book will speak to each and every one of its readers on some level or another. This is not a book to be missed.


You can also read this review on:

Goodreads


Amazon


Book Spotlight: SimplyMutual : The 1% Formula To Gain Financial Freedom by Deepak Mullick

Welcome to TRB Lounge. Today, we are featuring author Deepak Mullick for his new novel SimplyMutual : The 1% Formula To Gain Financial Freedom

SimplyMutual : The 1% Formula To Gain Financial Freedom

Author Deepak Mullick

Book: SimplyMutual: The 1% Formula To Gain Your Financial Freedom
Author: Deepak Mullick
Page Count: 191
Release Date: 19th August 2021
Genre: Non-Fiction, Finance


Synopsis

SimplyMutual : The 1% Formula To Gain Financial Freedom

Everyone wants to be rich, but not everyone is. There is a method and meaning to it that’s more than just numbers.  

In this book, investment veteran Deepak Mullick takes you on a journey to financial freedom. SimplyMutual isn’t just a guide to make more money, it is about building wealth to live the life of your dreams.  

If you’ve ever thought of retiring in your 40s to do what you love, this is THE book for you!

You can find SimplyMutual on:

Amazon | Goodreads


About The Author

Deepak Mullick
Founder and Chief Wealth Strategist, SimplyMutual

Deepak has spent over a quarter of a century in the investments industry, working with the country’s largest wealth creators. His last assignment was a 15-year stint at HDFC Mutual Fund. He was their Business Head for North, South and East India during different parts of his tenure. Having dealt with a large spectrum of investment avenues, Deepak realised that Equity Mutual Funds is where the best balance can be achieved. This belief in the India growth story and its potential to create wealth for decades to come stems from deep experience.

Deepak spent decades in the financial sector witnessing the fast evolution of each constituent of the investments industry — mutual funds, banking, insurance, investment advisors, NBFCs, the regulators, etc. He associated with the country’s top minds in financial and investment planning, attended numerous workshops and conferences, and dived deep into the intricacies of the business.

To come up with the best solutions for investor needs, he constantly drew comparisons between the most popular asset classes, such as equity, debt, real estate, fixed deposits, and gold, and other new asset classes like foreign equity, cryptocurrency, and art. He weighed each option with an exhaustive list of factors such as liquidity, volatility, regulatory environment, transparency, cost of investing, cost of holding and maintenance, convenience, and returns adjusted for risks, taxes, and inflation. This analysis has cemented his belief in the importance of Equity Mutual Funds for individual investors and given him the foundation to create SimplyMutual: The 1% formula to gain financial freedom.

You can contact Author Deepak here:
Email | Facebook | LinkedIn | Twitter | Instagram | Website


If you are an author and wish to be featured as our guest or if you are a publicist and want to get your author featured on TRB, then please get in touch directly by e-mail at thereadingbud@gmail.com

Book Review: Glimmer of The Other by Heather G. Harris

Book Details:

Author:  Heather G. Harris
Release Date: 1st September 2021
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: Glimmer Of The Other (Book #1)
Format: E-book 
Pages: 188 pages
Publisher: –
Blurb:
I can tell when you’re lying. Every. Single. Time. 
I’m Jinx. As a private investigator, being a walking, talking lie detector is a useful skill – but let’s face it, it’s not normal. You’d think it would make my job way too easy, but even with my weird skills, I still haven’t been able to track down my parent’s killers. 
When I’m hired to find a missing university student, I hope to find her propped up at a bar – yet my gut tells me there’s more to this case than a party girl gone wild. Firstly, she’s a bookish soul who’s as likely to go off the rails as Mother Theresa. Secondly, I’m not the only one on her trail; she’s also being tracked by the implacable and oh-so-sexy Inspector Stone. 
Stone and I team up, and he shoves me into a realm where magic is real – a place where there are vampyrs and werewolves, dragons and trolls. And where my skills are more than just detecting lies…
Oh, and my dog? He’s a freaking hellhound who can manipulate the magical realms themselves.
I need to find the girl.
I need to discover who killed my parents.
And I need to find out more about the attractive but mysterious Zachary Stone…

Review

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Glimmer Of The Other by Heather G. Harris is a wonderful beginning – the first book, in the new urban fantasy series Glimmer Of The Other. I LOVED reading this book because it was thoroughly entertaining and very, very well-written.

This book has everything – I mean EVERYTHING, right from dragons to vampires, wizards to trolls & werewolves and all this on top of other paranormal beings and phenomenons. This book was one hell of a rollercoaster ride in well-developed and beautifully executed urban fantasy settings.

The characters were very strong and I was able to connect to all of them (even the secondary ones.) I loved reading this book and seeing how things turned out for the characters and I am really looking forward to reading the next book in this series (hopefully soon!)

I’d recommend this book to all fantasy readers.


You can also read this review on:

Goodreads


Amazon


Book Review: An Embarrassment of Itches: An Animal Lovers Cozy Mystery (Ginny Reese Mysteries Book 1) by M. K. Dean

Book Details:

Author: M. K. Dean
Release Date: 17th July 2021
Genre: Cosy Mystery
Series: Ginny Reese Mysteries (Book #1)
Format: E-book 
Pages: 297 pages
Publisher: Redclaw Publishing
Blurb:
It’s Diagnosis Murder meets All Creatures Great and Small…

As a house-call vet, Ginny Reese has seen her share of the weird and wacky. But nothing in her previous experience could have prepared her to find one of her clients floating in her own swimming pool.
Local artist Amanda Kelly was extremely wealthy with her share of secrets. By naming Ginny as her heir, not only did she make Ginny the number one suspect, but she painted a big bull’s eye on her friend’s back as well.

With her trusty German Shepherd at her side, it’s up to Ginny to find the real killer and prove her innocence to the sheriff. The new sheriff. Who happens to be her ex.

Piece of cake, right?

Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

An Embarrassment Of Itches by M.K. Dean is a wonderful new cosy mystery series that is tailor-made for pet lovers – as the protagonist is an on-call vet!

I thoroughly enjoyed this book as it was fun, interesting and very entertaining. The characters are well-developed, especially the protagonist Ginny Reese and I was able to not only connect but also relate to the character being an animal lover myself. The plot is really good and kept me engaged throughout the story. The writing is simple yet effective making this book a very quick read.

I would highly recommend this book to all cosy mystery lovers and animal lovers in general.


You can also read this review on:

Goodreads


Amazon


ARC Review: Finding Happiness In The Dark by Kenneth Liddane

Book Details:

Author: Kenneth Liddane
Release Date: 19th September 2021
Genre: Non-Fiction, Self-Development, Self-Help
Series:
Format: E-book 
Pages: 190 pages
Publisher: A Helping Mind
Blurb:
Have you ever said “I WILL BE HAPPY IF…”?
Did you ever achieve that? And if so, what happened next? Are you living happily ever after, or did you set new goals and update your “I will be happy if…” statement? Why does your happiness have to be conditional?
By searching for happiness, we are basically telling ourselves “I am not happy now”, and happiness itself becomes a temporary solution to distract ourselves from how we are actually feeling.
By re-introducing ourselves to our core instincts and drives, we can start to see how we developed unhelpful thoughts, feelings, emotions and behaviours. With this insight, these negative aspects of ourselves are no longer “bad”, instead they are logical and justified.
By considering the knowledge, skills and possible supports highlighted in this book, you will see that you no longer need to avoid, suppress or endure any part of your true self. 
By using your full potential, you are better able to face any challenge and life experience, and in doing so, experience, welcome and acknowledge all of the associated feelings and emotions naturally. 
What are you waiting for?

Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Finding Happiness In The Dark by Kenneth Liddane is a very well-written and well-executed book on helping oneself in times of need when the mind goes into the dark seat and we start to feel alone and unhappy.

This is a book by a very experienced person who is not only equipped with dealing with his own patients for consultations but also has the education and the drive for it. This book had some really great concepts, understandable and relatable answers to some common questions and some brilliant techniques and tricks that can help a person come out of the recesses of depression, anxiety and the com orbit conditions. At least on the surface level. In order to get treated or to know more, you can always consult with the author.

I would recommend this book to everyone who is either going through a dark phase or knows someone who is suffering because of it.


You can also read this review on:

Goodreads


Amazon


Book Review: Hungry Hearts by Julie Hoag

Book Details:

Author:  Julie Hoag
Release Date: 21st April 2021
Genre: Romance
Series:
Format: E-book 
Pages: 234 pages
Publisher: Blackstone Pub.
Blurb:
For fans of “The Boys Next Door” by Jennifer Echols and “Holding Up the Universe” by Jennifer Niven.
When an amateur chef attempts to use food as his love language, Landra, who struggles with anorexia, finds his approach off-putting. In fact, she finds Brian to be rather annoying. 
Undeterred, Brian snags Landra in a friendship that eventually grows into something else, as she finally trusts him enough to sample some of his homemade gourmet treats.
But things have not evolved to the level Brian would like, and soon he realizes Landra’s issue isn’t only with the food he makes. She into the football team’s hottest player. But Brian isn’t about to get one-upped by a jock. He decides to ask Landra out at the same time that Landra manages to snag a date with the football star.
As if dating isn’t hard enough, Landra must battle her anorexic impulses and self-esteem issues if she is to find the boy of her heart. When the voices of self-doubt and shame drown everything else out, Landra will need to give herself permission to be happy. And Brian? Well, he will have to find a way to Landra’s heart, even if it isn’t through her stomach. 

Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Hungry Hearts by Julie Hoang is a beautiful romance novel that will touch your heart.

This book was such a fun ride; it had a solid concept, great characterisation and very well executed chemistry between the two leads. The characterisation, thankfully, was amazing and I was able to relate to the leads, especially the female protagonist, Landra. The writing was simple and good and complimented the story well making it an easy and quick read.

I would definitely recommend this book to all romance readers and to those who would like to read a quick light emotional read.


You can also read this review on:

Goodreads


Amazon


Book Review: Desiree, The Music of My Soul by Peggy Race

Book Details:

Author: Peggy Race
Release Date: 5th August 2021
Genre: Memoir, Non-Fiction
Series:
Format: E-book 
Pages: 254 pages
Publisher: Black Rose Writing
Blurb:
Staunch and rooted to her childhood values, Peggy engages in a battle to overcome a failed marriage, the sudden, heartrending loss of her second husband and her own self-doubts. While sandwiched between each layer of uncertainty, Peggy fights her way forward through the love of her dogs.
Amid personal tragedy, Peggy’s life takes an unexpected turn when she meets Desiree, a rescued Hurricane Katrina dog. Fueled by the serendipitous connection, Peggy deploys an unending passion for answers as she searches for purpose. As Peggy unravels Desiree’s significance in her life, she looks beyond the confines of loss and discovers her true self.
Desiree: The Music of My Soul is a poetic and soul-stirring love story which captures one woman’s journey of strength and self-discovery that transcends grief and loss. Filled with hope and inspiration, Desiree: The Music of My Soul, symbolizes the resilience of the human spirit.

Review

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Desiree: The Music Of My Soul by Peggy Rose is a beautifully written memoir.

First off, if you are a dog lover you are going to absolutely love this book. Even if you are not exactly a dog parent but love animals in general and harbour love especially for sheltered or rescued animals this book will highly resonate with you. I was, personally speaking, completely blown to bits by this book because I am a big-time animal lover and dogs or cats, I love them more than humans, so reading about a rescued dog and how she changed her mum’s life was an emotional rollercoaster for me to say the least.

This is a very well-written, nicely put together memoir that was very engaging and relatable. I would recommend this book to all readers.


You can also read this review on:

Goodreads


Amazon


Book Review: The Essence of Magic by Michelle Ermens

Book Details:

Author: Michelle Ermens
Release Date: 30th March 2021
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Series: Magic’s Source (Book #1)
Format: E-book 
Pages: 285 pages
Publisher: –
Blurb:
Can the Magic’s Source help her protect the ones she loves most?
Thera has always known that she’s different from her wonderful, loving human family. However, that would mean that she’s one of the specials, beings of legends – but how could it be, when no human has seen them for hundreds of years?
A visit from a masked stranger who warns her of danger and an attack on her village shatter the life that she knew. Forced to flee with her mother and her younger siblings, Thera finds temporary shelter in special territory, in the home of a beautiful special named Raven.
She needs more than temporary shelter, though. She needs a way to keep her family truly safe. The Magic’s Source might help with protection, but will Thera dare to seek it out and try to get some magic of her own?
And if she does, what kind of magic will she receive, and what new dangers will she find herself in?

Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Essence of Magic by Michelle Ermens is a fantastic new fantasy read that will definitely blow your mind!

I loved reading this book from the first page to the last! This book had great characterisation, an amazing and very interesting plot, good world-building and brilliant execution of the story idea. I loved the ending and am totally looking forward to reading the next book in this series!

I enjoyed the writing style of the author – it was simple yet good and was easy which made reading this book a pleasure aside from making it a quick read. I would definitely recommend this book to all fantasy readers and lovers of YA genre.


You can also read this review on:

Goodreads


Amazon


ARC Review: Destiny of Dreams: Time Is Dear by Cathy Burnham Martin

Book Details:

Author: Cathy Burnham Martin
Release Date: 31st August 2021
Genre: Historical Fiction
Series:
Format: E-book 
Pages: 242 pages
Publisher: Quiet Thunder Publishing
Blurb:
What happens when an American girl of Eurasian descent finds herself suddenly immersed in all facets of her Armenian ancestry? Told with an often soulfully introspective voice, “Destiny of Dreams” follows the true story of a teenager and her grandfather, retracing loving, learning, and terrifying footprints of the past. While survival remains center stage, love and courage must emerge, or all will be both lost and forgotten. More fact than fiction, the author reveals her Armenian roots in this historical novel, chronicling her family members’ love, strength, and resolve to both survive and thrive in treacherous times. Reflecting the traumas suffered by all people displaced from their original homelands, this Armenian story focuses on one family’s challenge to find light in the dark days of the waning Ottoman Empire. Anyone with the diaspora in their family heritage will relate. Whether thinking of Jewish people from Israel, Africans scattered through slavery, Armenians fleeing annihilation in Turkey, so-called boat people escaping Asia, or Syrians fleeing life-threatening violence in their own nation, humans continue to rise up in the face of the toughest times. Who would emerge from extraordinarily desperate places, and how could they choose to set positive examples of humanity during highly inhumane times? Set in the early 1900s and flashing forward to the 1960s, the story’s themes ring with tolerance and intolerance, dreams and destroyers, family and friends, amidst challenges that eerily parallel life in current judgmental scenarios.

Written for Young Adult and Adult audiences, the book contains some explicit descriptions and a couple of disturbing, though not graphic, violent scenes. While not gratuitous, the depictions may be unsuitable for young readers

Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Destiny Of Dreams: Time Is Dear by Cathy Burnham Martin is a beautifully written historical fiction book about survival and the darkness that plagues our society.

This book was a rollercoaster ride of emotions, along with quiet graphic descriptions of violence, which lent this book an air of seriousness that otherwise would have been missing. I liked reading this book from cover to cover because the plot was very engaging, the writing was good, the characterisation was well done and the execution of the story was really good.

I would recommend this book to all historical fiction buffs. Although do keep in mind that this book has some graphic violent scenes (for those who might find them triggering.)


You can also read this review on:

Goodreads



Book Review: SimplyMutual : The 1% Formula To Gain Financial Freedom by Deepak Mullick

Book Details:

Author: Deepak Mullick
Release Date: 19th August 2021
Genre: Non-Fiction, Finance
Series:
Format: E-book 
Pages: 191 pages
Publisher: –
Blurb:
Everyone wants to be rich, but not everyone is. There is a method and meaning to it that’s more than just numbers.  
In this book, investment veteran Deepak Mullick takes you on a journey to financial freedom. SimplyMutual isn’t just a guide to make more money, it is about building wealth to live the life of your dreams.  

If you’ve ever thought of retiring in your 40s to do what you love, this is THE book for you!

You can find this book on:
Amazon
 | Goodreads

Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

SimplyMutual : The 1% Formula To Gain Financial Freedom by Deepak Mullick is a new release in the Indian Finance genre.

I generally don’t read finance-related or investing advice books, but the title of this one was very catchy and intriguing therefore I was more than happy to give it a read. And I am very happy that I did as this book had a lot of wisdom to impart and a lot of good suggestions for people of all ages to learn about investing. The best part, for me, about this book is that it is written in a very easy-to-understand-by-a-layman language and the author has simplified concepts, which I am sure, are not that easy to grasp otherwise.

I would definitely recommend this book to everyone who’d like to know about investing and the author’s 1% formula.


You can also read this review on:

Goodreads


Amazon

Excerpt Reveal: SimplyMutual : The 1% Formula To Gain Financial Freedom by Deepak Mullick

Welcome to TRB Lounge. Today, I’d like to welcome author Deepak Mullick for sharing an excerpt from his latest release SimplyMutual: The 1% Formula To Gain Financial Freedom.

About the Book

SimplyMutual : The 1% Formula To Gain Financial Freedom

Everyone wants to be rich, but not everyone is. There is a method and meaning to it that’s more than just numbers.  

In this book, investment veteran Deepak Mullick takes you on a journey to financial freedom. SimplyMutual isn’t just a guide to make more money, it is about building wealth to live the life of your dreams.  

If you’ve ever thought of retiring in your 40s to do what you love, this is THE book for you!

You can find this book on:

Amazon | Goodreads

Excerpt

How I gained my freedom at 45

On a warm summer evening in 1947, my grandparents packed their bags and left their life behind. FREEDOM. That was the chant in the air. History was being made as the British left a partitioned India behind. For millions of people this meant leaving behind everything they owned, their life’s work and savings, the security and comfort of their homes, of the life they had known, and moving to unknown lands with an uncertain future. My grandparents too made their way from Dera Ismail Khan in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of what is now Pakistan, to Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh. 

I grew up hearing the stories of their life. In the evenings when we all sat together in the courtyard of my grandparents house, they would get nostalgic. My grandmother would tell us about our culture, our food, the traditions, all the wealth we had, the lands we owned back then, and how we earned our surname Mullick, a title given to big landlords. Even as a child, I could hear the longing in her voice, and a note of bitterness at being uprooted. When I write this from the comfort of my home now, I can’t even imagine what they must have gone through. The way they had managed to move with just a few suitcases, hurriedly packed. The way they had to travel hundreds of miles in search of a new place to settle in an environment of extreme hostility.The stress and anxiety of not knowing where they are headed and the despondency of having to start living from scratch.

But start again they did! And they made quite a success of it too. 

Why am I telling you this? What does a story about uprooting and migration have to do with a book on wealth building? 

Well, in this story there is a lesson. That life is unpredictable. That ups and downs will happen. That sometimes everything you took for granted will be disrupted. But don’t lose your wits. Financial success is all about thinking in the long term. As the poster boy for long term investing, Warren Buffet said, “successful investing takes time, discipline, and patience.” 

I’ll add to that and say wealth building is also about optimism. I consider myself an eternal optimist! It’s in my DNA! And even after witnessing the ups and downs of economies for over 25 years, I continue to believe in the India growth story. But more on that later.  

I learnt important life lessons – resilience, optimism, and street-smartness – from my parents, grandparents, and my Alma Mater La Martiniere, that have helped me immensely on my path to financial freedom. 

After I finished my schooling, I had the easy option to join the family business. But it wasn’t something that interested me. I wanted to look at work as something that helped me live the life I desired. And I am very unapologetic about it. I am a firm believer that you work to live and not live to work. Have you ever thought about it? 

What would you do if you had all the money you needed to live a comfortable life? 

Would you still pursue the job you have currently? 

Would you go after something that you are truly passionate about? 

Would you give and contribute to the world? 

Would you spend time travelling the world, experiencing new things, and gaining different perspectives? 

The thing is, most of us spend a lot of time in the lower 2 stages of Maslow’s Hierarchy. We struggle to make enough money to pay for our basic needs of food, clothing, and shelter. And we compromise on building meaningful relationships and on finding our true potential. Often because that raise or that promotion is so much more important. Well, I didn’t want to live all my life with some golden handcuffs.

So my aim was to find a career path that would help me realize my retirement goals (yes, I was thinking of retirement when I was 20!) by the time I turned 45. A highly ambitious goal given India’s economic situation then. However, in a series of seemingly unconnected events, I found my calling. 

In the early 90’s when I was figuring out my career choices, the financial services sector was abuzz with activity. India was undergoing an economic transformation. From a bottomless pit for foriegn aid, India was creating Economic Liberalization policies that will make it an emerging superpower in just two decades. Companies were coming up with IPOs every other day and there was high demand for finance talent. Later, this timeframe would also be known as the IPO scam period. Amidst this turmoil, I passed out with an MBA degree and a campus placement in a financial services company that gave me a take-home salary of about Rs. 5000/- per month. 

From a starting point of Rs.5000/- per month to a sizable corpus of a few Crores, I have come a long way to retirement at 45. And I have lived well. I’ve indulged in my passions and in things that interest me and my family. We’ve traveled extensively and experienced the world closely. From whisky trails to northern lights, we have made our way to 29 countries across 5 continents.

This financial freedom has been a journey of considerable learning. First, I found a God-sent friend, philosopher, and guide with whom I have had the privilege of working for two decades. And then, for over three decades, I had the opportunity to witness the rapid evolution of the country’s economic constituents – the businesses, the consumers, the regulatory environment, government policy, the markets, and the ever-changing global scene. I have figured out what works and what doesn’t. I have learnt to tame the volatility and to invest in a way that sustains my lifestyle choices while building my corpus of funds. I have distilled this learning into this book and created the 1% formula to gain financial freedom

The idea of this book came from my experiences of sharing my technique with friends and family members who wanted to quit the rat race, to pursue other life goals, and passions. And most of them have benefitted by following my technique. 

This book is written as an equity investing guide for those who are keen to make their money work for them. People in their 20’s and 30’s who are looking to retire by 45 or those who have 7-10 years before they want to retire. People who want an easy to understand insight into how investing works. This book is your ticket to long term wealth creation and living comfortably off that wealth without giving in to stress, anxiety, or overwork.      

In this book I will tell you the secrets to financial success. I’ll share stories of people who have seen the light and changed their investing behaviors for enormous gains. I’ll help you build good investing habits and make informed investment choices. 

While there are different assets you will invest money in – both physical and financial, we will not cover the entire umbrella of financial planning and management. And there is a reason for that. I believe that if you understand equities the right way, and work with the 1% formula, the need for other kinds of investment vehicles is greatly reduced.  

In my 25 years of experience in the financial sector I have got a fair idea of practices of banking industry, insurance industry, and the quality of the advisory business across categories of advisors. I have worked with several financial planners, attended many workshops, and deep dived into the subject of financial and investment planning. I’ve looked at all asset classes – real estate, gold, debt, equity, foreign equity, etc. from the lens of factors such as – returns adjusting for risks, returns adjusting for inflation and taxes, liquidity, volatility, convenience, costs of investing, etc. I’ve realized that Equity Mutual Funds is where the best balance can be achieved. In fact, I’ve been able to pull out of my term life insurance policies because of the corpus I have built through equity MF investments!

And so, this book will deal in equity investments only, and more specifically investing in equity through mutual funds. For the purpose of this book I am also considering Hybrid Mutual Funds with over 65% investments in equity as Equity Mutual Funds.   

By reading this book, you would: 

  1. Get a better understanding of the India opportunity and how long will it remain
  2. Get the right perspective on share-markets, understand emotional hurdles and mistakes on the way to financial freedom, and gain insights on how to benefit from the markets
  3. Learn a simple equity-based technique to build wealth and to create your own “Salary-Pension” stream for retirement

Like every great adventure, this book is a start. And as you read it, I’d like to give a word of caution. This book focuses on financial resilience. That means periods of no-gain or even loss that you sit through for long-term returns.This book is NOT about quick fixes or immediate gains. If that’s what you are looking for, then this book is not for you. If thinking long-term does not appeal to you, then this book is not for you.   

That said, in the coming pages there is a wealth of knowledge and tried and tested methods that work. I hope you’ll find them as useful as I have, and use them to find your financial freedom.


About The Author

Deepak Mullick

Founder and Chief Wealth Strategist, SimplyMutual

Deepak has spent over a quarter of a century in the investments industry, working with the country’s largest wealth creators. His last assignment was a 15-year stint at HDFC Mutual Fund. He was their Business Head for North, South and East India during different parts of his tenure. Having dealt with a large spectrum of investment avenues, Deepak realised that Equity Mutual Funds is where the best balance can be achieved. This belief in the India growth story and its potential to create wealth for decades to come stems from deep experience.

Deepak spent decades in the financial sector witnessing the fast evolution of each constituent of the investments industry — mutual funds, banking, insurance, investment advisors, NBFCs, the regulators, etc. He associated with the country’s top minds in financial and investment planning, attended numerous workshops and conferences, and dived deep into the intricacies of the business.

To come up with the best solutions for investor needs, he constantly drew comparisons between the most popular asset classes, such as equity, debt, real estate, fixed deposits, and gold, and other new asset classes like foreign equity, cryptocurrency, and art. He weighed each option with an exhaustive list of factors such as liquidity, volatility, regulatory environment, transparency, cost of investing, cost of holding and maintenance, convenience, and returns adjusted for risks, taxes, and inflation. This analysis has cemented his belief in the importance of Equity Mutual Funds for individual investors and given him the foundation to create SimplyMutual: The 1% formula to gain financial freedom.

You can contact Author Deepak here:
Email | Facebook | LinkedIn | Twitter | Instagram | Website

If you are an author and wish to be featured as our guest or if you are a publicist and want to get your author featured on TRB, then please get in touch directly by e-mail at thereadingbud@gmail.com

Book Review: Family Matters (The Island Expats #3) by Deb McEwan

Book Details:

Author: Deb McEwan
Release Date: 7th August 2021
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Series: The Island Expats (Book #3)
Format: E-book 
Pages: 112 pages
Publisher: –
Blurb:
A troubled daughter. A heinous crime. A vengeful woman.
When Matt’s daughter, Kayleigh takes a job in Souvia to escape her abusive ex, she’s horrified to be a victim of a malicious crime that goes disastrously wrong.
Matt has no idea why his daughter and her new boss have been targeted, but he’s determined to protect Kayleigh and to ensure her safety from those who want to harm her.
Elena and Kayleigh find themselves right in the firing line as the investigation progresses. Will they err on the side of caution, or will Kayleigh’s skills stop the criminals in their tracks?
Family Matters is the third novella in The Island Expat series. A two-hour crime fiction read with a touch of romance, set on the fictional Mediterranean island of Souvia. 

Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Family Matters by Deb McEwan, the third book in The Island Expats series and the sequel to Bondu and Beyond.

This book was just as good as the first two books in this series and I am so glad I got to read them all. I liked this book because the writing was great, the plot and the concept were very refreshing and the characterisation was well done. So, all in all, this book had all the things that I had expected and then some. I’ve come to like the author’s narrative voice and it made reading this book very quick affair for me, not to mention, the well-executed pacing of the book helped in that too.

I’d definitely recommend this book and the series (so far at least) to all the readers of cosy mystery and mystery genre.


You can also read this review on:

Goodreads


Amazon


Book Review: The Tribunals by David Spivak

Book Details:

Author: David Spivak
Release Date: 28th April 2021
Genre: Post-Apocalyptic, Young Adult
Series:
Format: E-book 
Pages: 222 pages
Publisher: New Degree Press
Blurb:
“Justice is about all of us.”

New Boston was born out of a series of nuclear wars after the devastating results of climate change rendered the US eastern seaboard uninhabitable. The city kept peace through its self-governing tribunal system and was thriving. But what started off as an egalitarian society began to divide along economic lines. The rich moved into the upper levels of the city and the poor masses retreated below ground. Food became rationed and tensions erupted…
The Tribunals follows Jaym, a teenager bursting with youthful energy who grew up in the dark alleys of the Furrows. When a job takes him to the upper levels of the city, he soon faces the most powerful family in New Boston, the Chief Justice and his children, Piers and Gwen. Gwen is intrigued by this Furrows boy, Piers feels threatened by the intrusion.
As the city goes through political upheaval, Jaym finds himself fighting forces greater than himself to try and save his friends and, ultimately, the city from a corrupt system. Can New Boston be stopped from complete collapse?

Review

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

The Tribunals by David Spivak is a young-adult post-apocalyptic read packed with action and intrigue.

I liked the concept of the book, though not exactly unique, the world-building so-far moved the plot forward well. The characterisation was good, but I believe we’ll see more development and build-up of characterisation in the next instalments of this series. Still, for the first book in a series (hopefully it is a series) it is a decent enough book.

The story had many twists and some intriguing aspects that kept me turning the pages. I liked the ending and I am looking forward to reading more books by the author, preferably in this series.

I’d recommend this book to all YA and dystopian as well as post-apocalyptic readers.


You can also read this review on:

Goodreads


Amazon


Book Review: Bondu and Beyond (The Island Expats #2) by Deb McEwan

Book Details:

Author: Deb McEwan
Release Date: 28th May 2021
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Series: The Island Expats (Book #2)
Format: E-book 
Pages: 132 pages
Publisher: –
Blurb:
A new life. A shocking discovery. A missing woman.
When Jenny the rescue dog finds more than she bargained for in the Souvian countryside it triggers Matt’s illness, and the night horrors return. He knows the only way to deal with it is to tackle matters head-on and to seek justice for those involved.
Elena will do everything in her power to help the man she loves, even if it means putting herself and others at risk from men whose only motivation is money.
Matt and Elena are unaware of the depths to which the criminals will plummet to reach their goals; so are the unsuspecting victims.
Bondu and Beyond is the second novella in The Island Expat series. A two-hour crime fiction read with a touch of romance, set on the fictional Mediterranean island of Souvia.

Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Bondu And Beyond by Deb McEwan, the second book in The Island Expats series and the sequel to New Beginnings, serves as a perfectly entertaining cosy mystery taking things ‘up’ a notch as compared to the first book in this series.

I loved reading this book as much as, in fact even more than, the first book in this series. The author’s writing style only made the book a faster read and complimented the well-crafted plot very well. The characters were well-developed and relatable and made the plot come alive with their unique flair.

I am looking forward to reading the next book in this series and would definitely recommend this one and the previous book in the series to all cosy mystery fans.


You can also read this review on:

Goodreads


Amazon


Book Review: New Beginnings (The Island Expats #1) by Deb McEwan

Book Details:

Author: Deb McEwan
Release Date: 29th May 2021
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Series: The Island Expats (Book #1)
Format: E-book 
Pages: 114 pages
Publisher: –
Blurb:
A chance meeting. A Mediterranean island. A dead body. 
When damaged ex-detective Matt Elliott stops to help a stranger in the drizzly English weather it’s the catalyst for changes in his life he could never have imagined.  
Elena Lacey accepts Matt’s help and her safe, predictable future is thrown upside down. Neither of them knows what new beginnings are signalled on the beautiful island of Souvia, especially their association with a crime borne out of passion, revenge, and jealousy.
New Beginnings is the first novella in The Island Expat series. A two-hour cozy mystery read with a touch of romance, set on the fictional Mediterranean island of Souvia.

Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

New Beginnings by Deb McEwan, the first book in The Island Expats series, is a well-written and very entertaining cosy mystery.

I loved reading this book because it had a great plot, well-written story and nicely developed characterisation. This book had everything I expected when I started reading it and successfully delivered on the promise it made – a fun-filled Mediterranean Island cosy mystery.

I liked the characters and was able to connect to most of them, including the side characters. I would definitely recommend this book to all cosy mystery readers.


You can also read this review on:

Goodreads


Amazon


ARC Review: Cenotaphs by Rich Marcello

Book Details:

Author: Rich Marcello
Release Date: 26th July 2021
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Slice-Of-Life, Literary Fiction, Romance
Series:
Format: E-book 
Pages: 200 pages
Publisher: Moonshine Cove Publishing
Blurb:
AFTER A CHANCE MEETING, AN OLD MAN AND A MIDDLE-AGED WOMAN CHART AN UNCONVENTIONAL PATH FORWARD.
When Ben Sanna, a contemplative retiree with a penchant for helping people, and Samantha Beckett, a secretive New York City hedge fund manager, meet by chance in a small Vermont town, they enter into a tenuous relationship. Over several weeks, Samantha and Ben open their pasts inch by inch, sift through their futures consciously, and come to terms with the strength and depth of their bond. A meditation on redemption told in alternating chapters of musings and scenes, Cenotaphs is about platonic love; the ways we close ourselves off in reaction to pain and what happens when we open ourselves up again; and the deep, painful legacy of loss.

Book Review

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.
Watch this review on my YouTube channel

Cenotaphs by Rich Marcello is a beautifully written book about platonic love. It is an unusual love story about a retiree and a girl who is decades younger than him.

The characterisation was brilliant and helped me feel a strong connection to the main characters, Ben and Samantha. The writing was great and complimented the story beautifully. The concept is unique and engaging and the execution of the plot was flawless.

I’d highly suggest this book to all readers, especially those who like a well-written love story that goes way beyond the normal conventions and explores the depth of characters’ emotions.


You can also read this review on:


Goodreads


Amazon


YouTube


Book Review: Aerth’s Aetheric Aegis: The White Mantle by Velora Venn

Book Details:

Author: Velora Venn
Release Date: 3rd June 2021
Genre: Fantasy, New Adult Fiction
Series: Aerth’s Aetheric Aegis (Book #1)
Format: E-book 
Pages: 469 pages
Publisher:
Blurb:
The Aerth’s Aetheric Aegis series is new adult fiction the blends the genres of steampunk, fantasy, science fiction, dystopian, and romance.
A young woman named Elvira Evenfall has grown up in the ruggedly remote, yet enchanting Falsvik Islands with her grandfather. Her life in a simple fishing village is quaint and serene, but that all changes when a looming threat to the world suddenly invades her tiny corner of it.
A swarm of suspicious bats with enigmatic origins known as the Curse, which can infect people through their bites, transforming them into horrible, bat-like monsters, endangers all human life and now is made very real to Elvira and her loved ones.

Dark and controversial secrets about her family and identity also begin to surface, and before long, she’s faced with a major decision: to accept the mystical and versatile energies known as aether and assume her role as an Aethaumaturge in order to join the precarious fight for the security of Aerth, or hold onto the comforting life she so loves?
This choice is made all the easier when it is revealed that her own parents, who were thought dead, are actually still alive. Elvira’s priorities quickly change to wishing to find and return them home safely.
Her decision instantly results in a corresponding new danger, though, forcing her to flee from her peaceful village. A secret society of Aethaumaturges promises to keep her safe in Brume, the impressive and imposing capital of the country of Lluminox.
A host of obstacles and an assortment of characters are met along the way. While she struggles to gain control of her new powers, she also must decipher her similarly new, unanticipated romantic feelings for two separate individuals — one male, and one female.
It becomes increasingly clear, through her interactions, that the world isn’t just plagued by a pandemic, but also an elite ruling class of superior people who often exploit the underprivileged and abuse their power. These people, known as Ascendants, are a vestige of the Archaic Era, a technologically-advanced time period from hundreds of years prior that was considered the pinnacle of mankind, but concluded with civilization collapsing and the destruction of nearly all humankind, due to the ancient peoples’ malice and selfishness.
Let’s hope history doesn’t repeat itself.
Join Elvira and crew on this whimsical, wild ride through a retro-futuristic time. Meet humanoid and animal automata, witness powerful, magic-like abilities, and discover the many mysteries awaiting both Elvira and the reader along the way.

Book Review

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Okay, let’s start with the cover of this book! Truly magical!? Am I right? Just by looking at it any reader is bound to be intrigued and would want to read the story right away.

Aerth’s Aetheric Aegis: The White Mantle by Velora Ven is an action-packed book with highly relatable, flawed and badass characters. The character development in the story is simply phenomenal; the main protagonist Elvira is one of the most unique characters I’ve ever read! Yes, she has her flaws but with the help of her close ones, she tackles everything that comes her way. I really enjoyed reading about her journey. The other thing that I loved in the book was the relationship dynamics in the story. I won’t delve into much detail because SPOILERS!, but I ended up really enjoying the drama going on throughout the book. It is filled with beautiful and amazing artwork throughout, which made the book compelling for me.

With its intriguing plot structure, some highly powerful characters, and their development, Velora Ven has delivered an action-packed thrilling and enthralling adventure for the readers. If you want to dwell in a different world that is captivating and refreshing, I would highly suggest you pick this one up. 

You can also read this review on Goodreads and Amazon.

Author interview: Rich Marcello

Welcome to TRB Lounge. Today, I’d like to welcome author Rich Marcello for an author interview with The Reading Bud.

About The Author

Rich Marcello

Rich is the author of five novels, The Color of HomeThe Big Wide CalmThe Beauty of the Fall, The LatecomersCenotaphs and the poetry collection, The Long Body That Connects Us All. He also teaches creative writing at Seven Bridges’ Writer Collaborative. Previously, he enjoyed a successful career as a technology executive, managing several multi-billion dollar businesses for Fortune 500 companies.

As anyone who has read Rich’s work can tell you, his books deal with life’s big questions: love, loss, creativity, community, self-discovery and forgiveness. His novels are rich with characters and ideas, crafted by a natural storyteller, with the eye and the ear of a poet. For Rich, writing and art making is about connection, or as he says, about making a difference to a least one other person in the world, something he has clearly achieved many times over, both as an artist, a mentor, and a teacher.

Rich lives in Massachusetts with his wife and Newfoundland, Shaman. He is currently working on his sixth and seventh novels, The Means of Keeping and In the Seat of the Eddas, a follow-on to The Latecomers.


You can find author Rich here:
Website | Email  | Goodreads


Interview

Welcome to TRB! Please give our readers a brief introduction about yourself before we begin. 

I’ve been writing full time now for ten years and plan to do so, if all goes well, for the rest of my life. When I started, I had a goal in the back of mind to publish ten books before all was said and done. Cenotaphs is my fifth novel and my sixth book, so I still have a ways to go, but I remain committed to that goal. 

On a personal note, I love Newfoundlands and, in particular, my eight-year-old Newfie named Shaman. When I write in the mornings, she is normally at my side.

Please tell us something about your book other than what we have read in the blurb?

I was really interested in writing about a man and woman, separated in age and circumstance, that form a deep emotional bond. Few books are written about platonic love between a man and woman. In the rare cases when that kind of love does happen, it tends to be a deep and honest love. Once I got Ben and Samantha’s connection clear in my mind, the book wrote itself. I was just a conduit telling their story.

What is that one message that you’re trying to get across to the readers in this book?

That love, in its truest form, a form where two people truly see each other, can be redemptive, even for those who don’t believe they are worthy of being redeemed.

Who is your favorite character in this book and why?

I equally love Ben and Samantha. They are such different people on the surface, but underneath they’re driven by the same things. Cenotaphs is their story, and that’s why I chose to tell it from both of their points of view. 

What inspired you to write this book? An idea, some anecdote, a dream or something else?

As I mentioned above, not many books are written about platonic love between a man and a woman. I wanted to explore this topic in addition to the topic of redemption for those people who don’t believe they deserve it.

How long did it take you to write this particular book? 

A couple of years. 

What are your writing ambitions?

I plan to keep writing for the rest of my life.  I hope to make it to ten novels before I’m done. 

Where do you see yourself 5 years from today?

Going to my writing studio each morning to work on a new novel, Shaman at my side.

Are you working on any other stories presently?

I’m working on two novels, The Means of Keeping, about the climate crisis, and In the Seat of the Eddas, a follow-on to The Latecomers.

Thank you, Rich, for your insightful answers!
You can read Rich’s previous Interview here and the review of his book The Latecomers here.


Books by author Rich Marcello


If you are an author and wish to be featured as our guest or if you are a publicist and want to get your author featured on TRB, then please get in touch directly by e-mail at thereadingbud@gmail.com

Author interview: Deb McEwan

Welcome to TRB Lounge. Today, I’d like to welcome author Deb McEwan for an author interview with The Reading Bud.

About The Author

Deb McEwan

Following a career of over thirty years in the British Army, Deb and her husband moved to Cyprus to become weather refugees. 

Deb loves spending time with her husband Allan and rescue dog Sandy. She also loves writing, keeping fit, and socialising, and does her best to avoid housework. 

She’s written children’s books about Jason the penguin and Barry the reindeer and young adult/adult books about dogs, the afterlife, soldiers, and netball players. 

You can find author Deb here:
Blog/Website | Amazon | Goodreads


Interview

Welcome to TRB! Please give our readers a brief introduction about yourself before we begin. 

Before I started writing books I enjoyed writing rhyming verse and wrote poems/ditties for several friends and colleagues who were moving on to pastures new. I wrote a poem for my niece and her fiancé and was honoured when they invited me to read it at their wedding in 2013.

I started writing song lyrics in the early noughties and collaborated with a few local musicians. I co-wrote a song ‘We Belong Together’, for our 25th wedding anniversary and presented the song to my husband as a surprise. It’s very cheesy but he loved it! You can listen to all my songs here: https://www.debmcewansbooksandblogs.com/my-songs/

I hate cold weather! My extremities turn purple when I’m cold (literally) so my husband and I decided to settle somewhere warm when I left the Army in 2013. That’s why we live in Cyprus. When I’m not writing I work part-time for a military charity and enjoy keeping fit and hanging out with friends and our dog!

Please tell us something about your book other than what we have read in the blurb?

I’ve based the series on a fictional island (Souvia) rather than the island of Cyprus to give me some flexibility with the police procedures. However, whenever I describe any of the locations I have a place I’ve visited in Cyprus in my mind’s eye.

What is that one message that you’re trying to get across to the readers in this book?

In an ideal world you reap what you sow and the characters pay the price for their crimes. Karma is very satisfying!

Who is your favorite character in this book and why?

Elena is my favourite character in this book. She’s hard working, a bit nosey and can be quite naïve, despite what life has thrown at her in the past. Like one of my close friends who’s also a successful businesswoman, Elena’s found her soul mate a little bit later in life and is making the most of it.

What inspired you to write this book? An idea, some anecdote, a dream or something else?

I’ve wanted to write a cozy mystery series since writing my ‘Island Dog Squad’ series of novellas which are based on our rescue dog, Sandy. (Book #1 is free for subscribers at this link https://dl.bookfunnel.com/wdh6nl8p08 ) I also wanted a break from my ‘Afterlife’ series for a while so this felt like the ideal time to do it.

How long did it take you to write this particular book?

Each of the books in this series are approximately 30k long and I already had ideas for the first three. When I’m into my stories I aim to write 1000 words each day so finished the first draft in a month. From first draft to completed book takes about another month to six weeks, depending on how busy my editor is.

What are your writing ambitions? Where do you see yourself 5 years from today?

I’d like to write about 12 books in this series, more in my ‘Afterlife’ series and to also expand my standalone book about netball players into a series. I might even write another in my ‘Unlikely Soldiers’ series so guess that takes up most of the next five years! 

Whatever happens writing is in my blood and I’ll carry on for as long as I am able.

Are you working on any other stories presently?

Although I’m concentrating on this series for now, ideas for the next book in the afterlife series often pop into my head. Jotting them down means I can forget them for the time being and come back to them later.

Why have you chosen this genre? Or do you write in multiple genres? 

Variety is definitely the spice of live and I love writing in multiple genres. (Supernatural Suspense (Afterlife series), Action and Adventure/Military (Unlikely Soldiers) Women’s Fiction (Court Out, A Netball Girls’ Drama), Children’s Fiction (Jason the Penguin books and Reindeer Dreams for 3-8 year olds), Cozy Animal Mystery/Action and Adventure (The Island Dog Squad novellas)). 

I’ve also co-written a non-fiction book entitled ‘Zak My Boy Wonder’. It’s a short, harrowing, but inspirational true story of a mother’s fight for her son’s survival and acceptance in society, and how the military authorities deserted her family when they needed them most. 

When did you decide to become a writer? Was it easy for you to follow your passion or did you have to make some sacrifices along the way?

I had a very busy career in the British Army but have always wanted to write. I had confidence issues and never thought I’d be good enough. We have an illness in our family (Huntington’s Disease) and when I discovered that one of my brothers had the disease but that I didn’t, I considered myself very lucky and decided to make the most of my life. I haven’t looked back since.

What is your writing ritual? How do you do it? And how do you prefer to write – computer/laptop, typewriter, dictation or longhand with a pen?

I get up at 6am and write for an hour before going to my part-time job between 8am and 2pm. Then I write some more when I get home from work. I’m a speedy typist so I type all my stories on the computer at home. I stick to this routine at weekends too as I’m at my most creative first thing in the morning.

I write a rough plot for the first three or four chapters and then the end of the book. I always know the ending but sometimes my characters surprise me by taking unexpected turnings to get there. My characters are like real people to me and often surprise me. Some of my friends find this quite weird but that’s the way it is.

What are your 5 favourite books?

That’s such a difficult question so I’m not going to answer it! I loved reading Enid Blyton books when I was a youngster then Wilbur Smith books when I was a little older. Now I mostly read books by Indie authors such as Jean Gill (I love her Natural Forces and Troubadours series) and I’m currently reading ‘How Icasia Bloom Touched Happiness’, by Jessica Bell. It’s a fascinating story set in a future dystopian world where immortality can only be granted to those who follow the rules. I change genre depending on my mood and am always up to reading new authors.

How do you deal with Writer’s Block?

A good walk sets the ideas flowing and always seems to work wonders.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

As someone once said, ‘Writers write’. So follow your dreams, go to your happy place, and get writing!

Thank you, Deb, for your insightful answers!

Books by author Deb McEwan


If you are an author and wish to be featured as our guest or if you are a publicist and want to get your author featured on TRB, then please get in touch directly by e-mail at thereadingbud@gmail.com

Book Review: Palm Lines by Jonathan Koven

Book Details:

Author: Jonathan Koven
Release Date: 12th December 2020
Genre: Poetry Collection
Series:
Format: E-book 
Pages: 53 pages
Publisher: Toho Publishing
Blurb:
These heartfelt poems speak to a transformative journey “to rediscover love as both a question and an answer.” Seeking hope, honoring family, finding love, accepting time’s passage, and understanding gratitude are all major themes explored in this dreamlike collection. 

Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

A book that’s dedicated to the writer’s family, does a phenomenal job of capturing raw emotions, love, nature and of course family. The book is divided into three parts: Life line , Heart line and Head line. 

The first section of the book gives the readers the nostalgic feeling of one’s childhood and appreciates various other small natural elements. While reading some lines I was so struck at the beauty through which these small nature filled elements were added by the the author. With lines like, “if I focus on the branches, they’ll sway maybe singing” the poet literally tugs on the reader’s heartstrings. All the poems, have this fresh, pleasant aura to them, too many emotions packed that makes you feel love the most. Even though at times the mood of the poems may appear melancholic the end message the reader receives is life is wonderful. 

The second section I feel talks about the adulthood and life’s hardships and the wonderful feeling of loving and being loved. Some poems are filled with longing and hope that makes the readers feel a certain kind of intimacy with the writer. I loved how the poet was able to capture cities and everyday life in his poems and the message at the end of the section again was love and how important family is. Though at times being melancholic, Jonathan Koven does a fantastic job of portraying emotions flawlessly. Inspite of having many emotions throughout all poems, the one emotion that is highlighted and repetitive is that of love. With lines like

"Another and another.
It cannot be denied
there are those who remember,
and those who love." The poet makes it quite clear how highly he regards this feeling of love. 
The line that was my personal favourite was "Love crawls over
your heart. 
Maybe you stumbled into a dream,
and then, into this body." Lines like these made me feel that the book was worth reading. 
The last section dwells on longing and how love can be so painful and fruitful at the same time, while reading, I was so in awe of some lines like,
"I would try to steal it all
as tide fills in, to hold anything
before drowning—but
it is better to let go." 

One word to describe it was simply beautiful. The poetry at times feel like a haunting melody and the raw emotions and memories captivate the reader from the very start. If you are a emotional person like me, then Jonathan Koven’s lines will at times tug at your heartstrings and leave you feeling vulnerable but at the same time you’ll be struck by how hauntingly beautiful and mesmerising the words are. 

Captivating, Raw, Emotional, Melancholic and filled with unconditional love, is how I would describe Palm lines. It’s a very quick read and one can finish it in one go, if someone wants to know the importance of love and family and wants to feel emotions I highly recommend one should pick this one up. 

You can also read this review on Goodreads and Amazon

ARC Review: Burly by Paul Drewitt

Author: Paul Drewitt
Release Date: 
Genre: Literary Fiction
Series:
Format: E-book 
Pages: 226 pages
Publisher: –
Blurb:

Book Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Burly by Paul Drewitt is a beautifully written book with honest prose and an excellent plot.

I was hooked right from the stat and was thoroughly engrossed in the story till the ending. I really liked this book and was able to relate to all the characters as well. But for me the best part about the book is the narrative style of the author.

I’d recommend this book to all readers, especially to those who prefer reading literary genre.

You can also read this review on Goodreads and Amazon (after the book’s official publication date.)

Book Review: The Greatest Game by Greg Rajaram

Author: Greg Rajaram 
Release Date: 15th April 2021
Genre: Philosophy, Drama, Literary Fiction, Surreal
Series:
Format: E-book 
Pages: 242 pages
Publisher: –
Blurb:
Ever since humans became self-aware, we have struggled to find the meaning of life. The price we paid for becoming intelligent was to become painfully ignorant of the difference between good and evil.

Adi, a 10-year-old boy, works together with two old philosophers as they try to unravel the prophecy of a promised King. With insatiable curiosity, Adi must work with the wise men as they rationalize with each other on why and how humans became intelligent. Together they attempt to answer some of the most profound questions related to existence. Does evolution end with human beings or is there an ‘Overman’ who can reach evolution’s pinnacle? Will this Overman be able to define values for humankind?
Centuries later a young boy promises his mother that he will always uphold the love that she has taught him. It is a promise that drowns him in the nectar of the gods. Krish grows up to be an engineer and joins a team of scientists as they try to create artificial consciousness in a machine.
Krish soon realizes that he has a bigger fight on his hands. A fight to preserve love in a desolate world. His quest for true love ultimately leads him down a path where he comes face to face with a fearsome snake delivering a kiss of death.
Humans have come a long way by questioning the nature of objects around us and pushing the limits of our intelligence, but it’s now time that we ask the greatest question yet: when does intelligence transcend to become consciousness?

Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Greatest Game by Greg Rajaram is a philosophical read with complex characters and plotline that will leave you introspecting about life and everything else in its wake.

This book a very fresh take on a concept well-loved and widely accepted therefore it was very interesting to read this book. I liked the author’s narrative style and the fact that the book was layered with complexity, intrigue and knowledge very well. I also liked the characterisation as they were all well-developed and rounded characters.

I’d recommend this book to all readers, especially to readers of philosophical fiction.

You can also read this review on Goodreads and Amazon.

Things To Consider Before Applying For A Mortgage

mortgage is a way to use one’s real property as a guarantee for a loan to get money. Real property can be land, a house, or a building. Many people do this to buy the home they use for mortgage: the loan provides them the money to buy the house and the loan is guaranteed by the house. And in order to make sure that you can easily and hassle-free apply for a mortgage, especially in the post COVID condition, here’s a list of things to consider.

Things To Consider Before Applying For A Mortgage

1. Budget Considerations

If you want to qualify for a mortgage and avoid unnecessary hassle and scrutiny (and not to forget unnecessary stress and embarrassment) then it is a good idea to make sure that you get it on your first application itself. And that can be achieved by knowing your budget limits or constraints before even thinking of applying for the mortgage.
You can check out the latest Money Rates at Wall Street Journal website. You can also check out the Mortgage Affordability Calculator at Mortgage Calculators.

2. Debt-To-Income Ratio

There’s nothing more unappealing than a bad debit-to-income ratio especially when you are planning to apply for a mortgage. So try your best to get it under an acceptable limit and then apply for the mortgage. This makes sure that you won’t be rejected.

3. Downpayment

Mortgage lenders love a big downpayment, so the easiest way to lure them in (and also to think about your future, it would be better if you do this) – pay a high downpayment. It not only provides your profile a credibility but also helps you in the paybacks in the futures.

4. Credit Score

Boost your credit score by paying of your previous EMIs on time and by not defaulting under any circumstance. If you credit score is below a certain range then it shows up on your profile and chances are you won’t be entertained by the respectable money-lenders at all. SO make sure that before you go about trying to find the perfect money lender for your mortgage, first clean up your credit score. It will greatly improve your chances.

5. Documentation

Be ready with all the documentation. You need to make sure you have the following things in place before you even consider taking a mortgage:

  • Your ID
  • Social Security Number & proof
  • Pay slips of last 30-60 days
  • I-9 from the last 2 years
  • Proof of any other source(s) of income
  • Federal tax returns
  • Recent bank statements
  • Details of long-term debits
  • All property-related documentation

Book Review: Pies To Die For – How to Live a Vibrant Life Despite a Fatal Diagnosis by Dr. Carole Weaver

Author: Dr. Carole Weaver
Release Date: 28th April 2021
Genre: Memoir, Non-Fiction
Series:
Format: E-book 
Pages: 141 pages
Publisher: Carole Weaver-Linsner
Blurb:
Pies to Die for is a how-to against the bad stuff of living with metastatic cancer or other lethal diagnosis–the monsters that attack your frame of mind, so you can’t enjoy the time you have left. It is also a romp through art appraising: specifically, through the author’s husband and his clients who have lost art through death, debt, divorce, and disaster.

These stories offer hints about how to cope with something beautiful being gone, or they entertain you with the strangeness of human nature–even without stage four anything. This book is meant to give you tools for your journey, however long or short, so that you live vibrantly, gratefully, and with gusto till the end.

Review

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Pies To Die For: How to Live a Vibrant Life Despite a Fatal Diagnosis by Dr. Carole Weaver is a beautiful book full of gems such as some really good advice, hearty anecdotes, relatable moments of grief and laughter and, most importantly, a lesson on how we tend to ignore to live once we know about how we may die.

This book is written by a terminally ill author, and I would like to salute her for her courage to pen such a beautiful book under her circumstances. You can read between the lines about how passionate the author is about the things that she writes about and it is this particular thing that made me enjoy this book the most.

I would recommend this book to all readers of fiction and non-fiction alike.

You can also read this review on Goodreads and Amazon

Vampires Or Zombies?

Being a supernatural genre fan I am big-time into zombies as well as vampires (but if I’m being honest I am little biased towards zombies.) Anyway, so I’ve been trying to catch up all the zombie and vampire movies on Netflix and that got me thinking that I should do a post on it to keep a track of the movies I’ve watched so far, and keep returning to, on Netflix.

So here’s my list of 5 zombie movies that I like to re-watch every time I crave for some zombie action:

1. World War Z

Former United Nations employee Gerry Lane traverses the world in a race against time to stop a zombie pandemic that is toppling armies and governments and threatens to destroy humanity itself.

2. 28 Days Later

Four weeks after a mysterious, incurable virus spreads throughout the UK, a handful of survivors try to find sanctuary.

3. Cabin Fever

Five college graduates rent a cabin in the woods and begin to fall victim to a horrifying flesh-eating virus, which attracts the unwanted attention of the homicidal locals.

4. Dawn Of The Dead

A nurse, a policeman, a young married couple, a salesman and other survivors of a worldwide plague that is producing aggressive, flesh-eating zombies, take refuge in a mega Midwestern shopping mall.

5. Zombieland

A nurse, a policeman, a young married couple, a salesman and other survivors of a worldwide plague that is producing aggressive, flesh-eating zombies, take refuge in a mega Midwestern shopping mall.


As I said, I’m biased towards Zombies, so I’d recommend reading this post if you want to know which Vampire movies to watch on Netflix: Vampire movies on netflix.

Do share your favourite Zombie/Vampire flicks in the comments below!

Product Review: Covered UV-Protective Swimwear from Lyra

I’ve been one those people who hate wearing swimwear mostly because they are either too exposing or very vibrant and too colourful for my taste. But these swimwear from Lyra are a boon! I really like that they are available in full body covered variety and that too in such beautiful cover. You can check out their whole range here: Lyra Swimwear.

My favourite one is the Sofia Black one because it looks absolutely stunning and it is available in all sizes too.

I you want to buy a good swimwear, then do check these out before making a decision!

Character Interview: Fedor From Fedor by Brant Vickers

Today, we are featuring Fedor, the lead character from Fedor by, for our Character Interview feature.

About The Author

Brant Vickers

Brant Vickers started work as a caddy and delivered flowers in Southern California before going into the military. He’s lived in three foreign countries and seven states. He later found his true profession and calling working with students with special needs where he met some of the most endearing and loving people on the planet. His memoir, Chucky’s in Tucson, reflects those 18 years. This led to his interest in Fedor and his imagined story. Brant lives in Arizona with his wife, Cheryl Ann.

CONNECT WITH THE AUTHOR:
Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Book Depository | Indiebound | Goodreads 


The Interview

Welcome to The Reading Bud! We are really excited to have you over. Please give our readers a brief introduction about yourself before we begin.

Thank you very much. My name is Fedor Adrianovitch Jefticheff and I was born in 1868 in Tbilisi, Georgia, part of Tsarist Russia. I traveled with my father for several years in a small carnival throughout Russia and Europe. A few years ago I was given the chance to become part of the Black Tent in the famous and gargantuan Barnum & Bailey’s sideshow.

What is your age and what do you do for a living?  

It’s now 1900 and I’m 32 years old. We’re currently on a several year tour of Great Britain and Europe. P.T. Barnum presents me as Jo-Jo the Dog-Faced Boy in what is commonly called Barnum’s Freak Show. Several of us don’t like that term, but many of us embrace it and deal with the peculiars of our physical infirmaries. This is how I’m forced to make my living. I have no alternate form of employment. As my manager in Russia, Grigory always said, “If they pay in rubles we give them a show; it’s a show we provide.”

How you like to spend your free time? 

I have been a voracious reader since my mama started reading to me in my early childhood. We read books in German, English, and, of course, Russian. I am now fluent in both reading and speaking those languages. Her favorite author was Leo Tolstoy, as is mine now. But I have been fortunate enough to meet several writers throughout America. I have developed a close friendship with Mark Twain, who by the way is a fan of the circus. Also I have met, among others, Herman Melville, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and Louisa May Alcott. I hope to meet several more here in Europe.

Please share some of your beliefs, principles, motivations and morals (can be social, religious or political or, etc. Anything that will help us get to know you better.)  

I have had to develop a strong attitude to my predicament in this world. My friends and I in the Black Tent cultivate a strong constitution to our lot in life. People pay to gawk at us, but it is the only method, at this time in the world, for us to make a living. My best friend in Russia once said, “I don’t think being ordinary is such a benefit and something they should proud of.” Or as my friend Mark Twain said to me one day, “There was never yet an uninteresting life. Such a thing is an impossibility. Inside the dullest exterior there is drama, a comedy, and a tragedy!”

Tell us something about your family and childhood. 

I have long, thick, silky dark hair all over my body. Everywhere. My papa had the same. Our life in Tbilisi was harsh and poor. Even when my papa could get work we rarely had enough to eat and after my beloved mama died, we went on the road with Grigory. His show was small but I had several close loving friends. At age fifteen I met the Tsarevich Nicholas II and shortly after a scout for the Barnum & Bailey Circus. My life changed dramatically after that and I’ve made many more friends whom I live and work with, and consider them my family now. 

Tell us something about your dreams and aspirations? Were you able to achieve them or are you planning to? 

I have recently met the love of my life and her name is Krao Farni and we suffer from the same malady, but have fallen in love. As Mr. Tolstoy said, “all, everything that I understand, I understand only because I love.” My biggest aspiration is to make enough money and live with Krao comfortably in peace.

What is your biggest fear in life?

I have a fear of not succeeding with my greatest aspiration.

How would you describe your life in one sentence? 

I have traveled and seen more of the world than I ever dreamed. My infirmity has made this possible. If not for it, my life as an uneducated peasant in Tsarist Russia would have been very meager. We were, for all intents and purposes serfs. “You can’t throw too much style into a miracle and you my friend are a miracle,” Mark Twain said of me, and I would suggest that sums up my good fortune in life.

What is the worst thing that has ever happened to you? 

Living in the wondrous, magical, and unpredictable world of Barnum & Bailey’s Circus brings tragedy along with its marvels. Losing close friends to misfortunes in our world also brings some sadness. Along with gaining much, I’ve lost a few of my dearest friends.

Did it change you for the better or the worse?  

I must again quote from my legendary tutor and life long spiritual guide Mr. Tolstoy, “There is only one thing in this word worth dedicating your life to and that is creating more love among people…” If the people, who pay to gawk and be frightened of Krao and myself, can see us and realize we live this life with dignity and love, maybe they would understand there are many ways to live. 11. What are your plans for the future?  We are planning to wed upon our return to the United States and look forward to an early retirement and spend our days reading and enjoying each other’s company. I’ll leave you with one more quote and you can probably deduce who wrote it: If you want to be happy, be. And thank you for the opportunity to share my life and thoughts with you.


Fedor by Brant Vickers

“You can’t throw too much style into a miracle, and you my friend are a miracle,” Mark Twain says to Fedor Adrianovitch Jefticheff, also known as Jo-Jo The Dog Faced Boy. Fedor lives, travels, works, and loves among the haunting cast of performers in the Black Tent Sideshow of P.T. Barnum’s Circus in the late 1880s.

Fedor not only survived, but also profited by being a memorable and unforgettable human curiosity. Along with being an intelligent and avid reader of Tolstoy, Twain, Alcott, and Melville, he has remarkable interactions with a myriad of other world-renowned characters, one being Nicholas II the Russian Tsarevich. This proves that more than just being a “sideshow,” there was a lot of individuality and heart to this “dog-faced boy.”

Richly authentic, dramatic, beautifully written, and always thought-provoking, Brant Vickers tells Fedor’s story in an epic account of this young man’s extraordinary life.

You can find this book here:
Goodreads
| Amazon

Book Review: Presence, The Play by William E. Jefferson

Author: William E. Jefferson
Release Date: 1st May 2021
Genre: Surreal Fiction, Fantasy
Series:
Format: E-book 
Pages: 262 pages
Publisher: Mason S. Haynie
Blurb:
Presence, the Play offers a penetrating perspective on the vital role personal presence plays in the essence of life. This timely, captivating novel speaks to a growing hunger for a way of life that’s real and tangible, the opposite of an artificial existence lived in a realm of mediated connectivity. 

The protagonist of Presence, the Play is a playwright and monk named Script who lives on the Isle of Estillyen. On the opening night of Presence, Script’s long-awaited play, he suffers a devastating fall in the theatre balcony and lapses into a prolonged coma. The novel plays out in Script’s comatose state. 

Presence, the Play offers a meticulously crafted storyline evoking the imaginative prose of J. R. R. Tolkien, the spirited perception of C. S. Lewis, and the dramatic flair of Dante’s Divine Comedy. Readers will join Script on an epic mission to save the Isle of Estillyen from the forces of darkness, experiencing many daunting adventures along the way. 

Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Presence, the Play by William E. Jefferson is a surrealist fiction story that cannot be expressed in words and can only be experienced. I was really impressed with the author’s use of language and the vivid imagery that was painted throughout the words to describe and narrate some of the scenes.

This book had a great concept and the characters were well-built. The book had a good pace and the tension graph made it very interesting throughout.

I’d recommend this book to readers who like to read experimental fiction and like surreal fantastic elements in stories.

You can also read this review on Goodreads and Amazon.

Online Gaming: Then (1990’s) and Now (2021)

I remember the time when I was a kid stuck to playing only with my video game console (Nintendo) but my elder cousins, the “cooler” ones at least, playing games on their new computer sets. Yes, I belong to the era when computers just made their big appearance. And whenever I’d tell them to move away from he screens because even I wanted to play their online games, which was only fair as they always played on my console ALL THE TIME! They’d be very, very reluctant. And I soon found out why.

My first online game was of course, Mario bros. Initially I had some problem getting used tot he arrow keys and the chunky spacebar instead of my remote control, but pretty soon I got the hang of it. My next favourite, and something that I still love, was Tetris.

Since then the gaming world has evolved so much that even a sci-fi book couldn’t have predicted. And the consoling system changed entirely because of the entrance of Sony’s Play Stations, something I own myself (PS4) and X-Boxes. But through all this evolution, something else evolved too – online gaming, yet at the same time, somehow miraculously it offers the grace and the nostalgia that keeps me turning back to them again and again.

Thankfully, even today, Tetris is one game (among many others like Contra and Tank) that I can still play with the simplicity of the 1990’s.

This is one of the places I get my fix of online games these days: Plays.org

If you also love online gaming, then do share your views and platforms of your preference in the comments section below.

ARC Review: Ecclesia’s Table by Mason S Haynie

Author: Mason S Haynie
Release Date: 29th June 2021
Genre: Dystopian Fiction, Speculative Fiction
Series:
Format: E-book 
Pages: 368 pages
Publisher: Mason S. Haynie
Blurb:
The world is a wasteland. It always has been. Moshe, Amaru, and Reenu have never known anything other than the desert wasteland that raised them. When the rumor arises that something other than barren landscape could be out there, the three of them make haste for an abundant future. Upon arrival at this established society, the group quickly learns how and how not to get along amidst group dynamics and seemingly sinister mystery. The trials and social politics that Moshe, Amaru, and Reenu face teach them that some rules are useful and some are meant to be broken. Have a seat at Ecclesia’s Table.

Review

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Ecclesia’s Table by Mason S Haynie is a unique dystopian novel set in a fictional world with a unique twist and a refreshing take on the genre itself.

This book is different from any other dystopian book I’ve ever read and therefore it was enjoyable to read. The characterisation was good and the concept was great. The world-building though could have been a little better had the author focused on the exposition for the place at least. Other than that I have no issues with the book and actually enjoyed it. It felt like a self-contained novel in the entirely of the book.

You can also read this review on Goodreads and Amazon.