Wednesday, 20 March 2019

Review: To All the Boys I've Loved Before


To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Book Description :
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is the story of Lara Jean, who has never openly admitted her crushes, but instead wrote each boy a letter about how she felt, sealed it, and hid it in a box under her bed. But one day Lara Jean discovers that somehow her secret box of letters has been mailed, causing all her crushes from her past to confront her about the letters: her first kiss, the boy from summer camp, even her sister's ex-boyfriend, Josh. As she learns to deal with her past loves face to face, Lara Jean discovers that something good may come out of these letters after all. 

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I wanted to read this book for a long time now but when I started watching, it didn't have much of a grip me. Hence I decided to stop reading midway and tried out for the movie first. There is a ton of material which is missing from the movie but has given more context to the book. I felt like there was something missing which would surely give this book a much better traction.

I have read a lot of teen fictions before but this one so far looks good. It has a lot of cultural references which would just go overhead if you are not accustomed with them. Being an Indian I had to google almost every other food item or some dialogue. It can be a good learning experience for sure. This book shows the perspective of a teenager from USA for sure.

It's a simple story but nothing unique or attention gripping to it. I felt this was an okayish read. Although it was annoying when the book ended on the cliffhanger. I know the end since I already had seen the movie but still, the cliff hanger won't drive me to read the next one if I hadn't watched the movie first. Many of my friends said it gets interesting ahead hence I just decided to post a little review for it instead of reviewing the whole series.

Link : https://amzn.to/2HtNM0N
Link for the Box Set : https://amzn.to/2UL9P60
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Download Time Crawlers by Varun Sayal for free



Book Description :
Alien Invasion, Dark Artificial Intelligence, Time-Travel, High-Tech Mythology, Djinn Folklore, Telekinetics, and life-consuming Cosmic Entities are some major themes in this book which has six tightly-knit, fast-paced Sci-Fi stories.

Stories:
1. Nark-astra, The Hell Weapon: The weapons he possesses make him the destroyer of worlds, and he burns for revenge. A high-tech take on ancient Indian mythology. 
2. Death by Crowd: The dark desires of the masses; darknet websites fueled by a crypto-currency. What lurks in the background - an advanced artificial intelligence?
3. Genie: He rubbed a lamp alright, but what he got was the shock of his life. An entirely sci-fi take on the djinn myth.
4. Time Crawlers: There are individuals who exist in multiple time periods at once, and there are those who know about them....
5. Eclipse: No attacks, no blood-shed, yet there was an invasion and a conquest. Who are these shapeshifter aliens being hounded by an eclipse?

6. The Cave: The fate of an advanced imperial race hangs in balance as a dark celestial entity meets a legendary protector.


Download Link : https://amzn.to/2TOtV2M

Note : Kindly check the book is free before downloading. The book is free for three days ( as per Author )
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Do comment and share your thoughts about it! I'd love to know what do you think. Also, I'd keep updating it quite often so do follow the blog to get all the updates by clicking here.

Also, a minor headsup.... Obsessed is free to read on Kindle Unlimited! Do check it out. I'd be glad to read your reviews!
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Monday, 18 March 2019

Dhawal's Blog - 4- Most Profitable Career Options.

Recently, there has been a ton of discussion about the most profitable careers around me. I am in a stage of life where almost everyone around me is a non-certified yet a trusted and experienced career counsellor. Not intending to hurt anyone but it just gets difficult when you have too much of advice around you.

As its very well said, options spoil you. More the options, more you get indecisive as almost every other option looks lucrative. Some will say follow your heart quoting some random movie dialogue or a nice quote from some book. While a few others will try to show you a very practical approach towards life stating some random never heard before logics and show you some superficial mathematics. The ones which remain will just smile at you and then ask you what options do you have in mind and then just bash all of them asking you to give some more options. Trust me the last ones are horribly annoying.

But out of all these conversations and advices, one advice/conversation was such that, it just have kind of kept its hold on my mind. I won't name the person giving it due to some reasons but I'd surely love to share the account which had happened when I was on the career option divider. I don't aim to just target or hurt any respective field or anyone following their dream careers but just sharing an account which now feels funny to me recollecting it now.

I had already opted for science and it was the time when you had to choose for an entrance exam for heading towards your dream career option. Engineering and Medical were foremost options which were on everyone's tip of the tongue. I was leaning towards the medical and well many tried to convince me to get on the engineering side.

One such special lecture was kept, once again, to ensure that only a particularly sure ones head for the medical entrances. I being the head straight sure that I wanted to go for medicals still struck with my choice but the lecture is something which I still sometimes recollect and laugh.

Our professor, he took a chalk and started explaining how these entrances and other procedures work. Once he finished the factual information, he started telling us what we were heading towards. He almost broke he resolution of my best friend to dive into engineering even when he loved studying biology like me, but unlike what happened after a few months is quite funny.

Sir started explaining, that if a student chooses a path of engineering, he can be graduate in barely 4 years and start earning afterwards. While a person who opts for medical, might not get the admission in the same year and would have to wait for a few more years to get a course of their choice. On Average it would take a student to finish his medical bachelors after 6 years. Now if you count the investment you placed in both, engineering in the most costliest colleges averages to 1 lac/yr but on the other hand a medical student pays approx 5-6 lacs/yr depending on the course, at times even more for the donations and what not.

An engineering student would easily recover his investment done for his education within a few years while a medical student won't find it sufficient even to compete with the bachelor's degree in most ways. While most salaries stay around the same, you'd have to work more just to get the amount you had invested in your degree back.

I know much of it is a bit on the hazy side and not 100% correct but the generalisations made aren't totally rubbish either. It took me a long time later to realise that engineering isn't exactly a piece of cake that people present it to be. There were many things which just changed my perception about the whole concept of career counsellors and their guidance. They might be best in their fields during their own time but for a student, who is right now in this stage, has their own set of problems altogether and nothing works as per the plan.

We often had cracked jokes during the college days when we used to chat with our seniors about the placements from the college. "Taxi or auto driver would earn way more than an engineer these days" that was the statement etched on every mind and it wasn't totally wrong either as I know a few who actually left their engineering - teaching based and other jobs to drive autos and taxis and earned much better than they did with their so called gold and grey collared jobs.

Our maths professor used to say, if you don't know anything, just open a fast food stall and it'd run like crazy in a city. At time we used to think of it as a joke and laugh, but now when we realised that its not a joke and a real fact, we laugh at the irony of the things. At times I still wonder that is so much education really needed? or is this education system just built to keep students in for a longer time to gain more money per year? Is the standard of education really improved or just new subjects and time-wasters are added to increase the cash-churning margin of these institutions while people continue to run after all sorts of degrees and certificates while companies favouring them continue to use it as a benchmark to judge someone's potential.

I don't know what it would be in the future but surely these are a few things which often plague my mind when I feel low, making me think, am I a fool to put such efforts when they are of no use?

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Do comment and share your thoughts about it! I'd love to know what do you think. Also, I'd keep updating it quite often so do follow the blog to get all the updates by clicking here.

Also, a minor headsup.... Obsessed is free to read on Kindle Unlimited! Do check it out. I'd be glad to read your reviews!
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Sunday, 17 March 2019

Are Audiobooks worth it? Audiobooks vs Ebooks

With the recent surge in the audible promotions I assumed there was a lot to check out in the Audio Books section of the book world. Personally, I am quite neutral about audiobooks. I feel they somehow land between the movie adaptation and the actual book. Funnily, where print versions somehow are surviving with the rise of ebooks, there comes a new player increasing the competition.

In the previous days, there used to be plain machine converted audiobooks which read the same text using the Text-to-speech neural network mechanisms. They weren't bad at all, and to be honest, they were quite good considering done by a software push. But to some it wasn't convincing enough. The art of story-telling was actually via the narration and that's how it got converted into books. So, the idea of an actual human reading a book out to you was quite fascinating to many, just like your parent did during your bed time or grandparents telling you some interesting chapter from their lives.

So, with such ideas and presumptions in my mind, I first decided to try out a TTS conversion. It felt weird at the first. Being so habitual with keeping visuals in front I found it difficult to concentrate. I just tried one chapter before I got bored with the accent. I dropped the idea of reading the whole book doing this altogether.

For those who don't know, a few years I had made my own software for Windows and Android which converted your text-based books into audiobooks. It was a really fun experiences working out on that project. So I know what I was looking into before someone just bashes me in the comments.

Getting back to the topic, I headed for the actual audiobook next. I had my doubts now as it should be like watching a movie visuals. Well, not much to my surprise it turned out to be that way. The narration different voices, possibly by voice actors. There was subtle background music as if you have in presentation videos or movie scenes. The narration was actually nice but there was one major con here.

I legit fell asleep. The soothing voice must be calming much which just made me drowsy and when I was off sleeping I never noticed. I did try, to finish the book but bleh, I ended up sleeping. When I tried to listen to it via doing some activity, my focus was instantly lost over the audiobook and headed towards the task I was doing and sitting idle would just drive me sleepy.

What next? I decided that Audiobooks might be nice and good for those who love it, but certainly they're not for me. Although, I liked the text-to-speech approach more where I had text in front of me while the software kept reading for me. I know I am a bit lazy but that was more fun than just listening to someone talking for hours and keep your focus there. It's easy to listen to non-fiction I'd assume but something like fiction which needs imagination and focus, I don't feel its my piece of cake for sure.

I might be happy joining the ebook bandwagon for its sheer number of advantages but not so excited to join the audiobook bandwagon. I have been listening to podcasts but they don't claim such focus since most are just not focus hungry.

If you are wondering whether you should try it out or not, then you should at least give one a try before you jump on conclusion. There are many books on audible which you can give it a try, both free and paid.

If you wonder where to begin with, you can click here and explore the world of audiobooks.


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Do comment and share your thoughts about it! I'd love to know what do you think. Also, I'd keep updating it quite often so do follow the blog to get all the updates by clicking here.

Also, a minor headsup.... Obsessed is free to read on Kindle Unlimited! Do check it out. I'd be glad to read your reviews!
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Saturday, 16 March 2019

Download Silent Defiance by Sonia Motwani for free



Book description :
In her much-anticipated debut poetry collection, Sonia has portrayed a rebel through words. Silent Defiance is an open refusal to everything that hurts the soul . It is the journey of discovering self through the jagged path of self-love,passion and empowerment.

There is a yell, a cry, a scream in response to every ache, break and quake destructing our realm of peace and when these are silenced, the words incarnate the rebel.

This resistance embarks towards the journey of empowerment through the jagged path of self-love with the eyes brimmed with passion and the hearts seeking the supreme desire of discovering self.

Download Link : https://amzn.to/2TCxwRw

Note : This book is free for today and tomorrow. Kindly check  that it's free before downloading.

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Do comment and share your thoughts about it! I'd love to know what do you think. Also, I'd keep updating it quite often so do follow the blog to get all the updates by clicking here.

Also, a minor headsup.... Obsessed is free to read on Kindle Unlimited! Do check it out. I'd be glad to read your reviews!
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Friday, 15 March 2019

Download Take My Heart, Forever By Arpit Agrawal For free



Book Description :

Meet Siddhartha, a good lawyer but a bad human.
Meet Rahul, a good human but a bad doctor.
And meet Shuchi, a good human and an exceptionally well doctor.
Shuchi tries to make a good human out of Siddhartha and a good doctor out of Rahul, but a bomb blast transforms their lives.

Read this revolutionary tale to know how Siddhartha will get a unique PIL passed in the courtroom and Rahul will perform a life-changing surgery, to save the girl they love.


Download Link : https://amzn.to/2F2ULKy

Note : Kindly check before downloading on Amazon website of your region.
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Do comment and share your thoughts about it! I'd love to know what do you think. Also, I'd keep updating it quite often so do follow the blog to get all the updates by clicking here.

Also, a minor headsup.... Obsessed is free to read on Kindle Unlimited! Do check it out. I'd be glad to read your reviews!
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Download The Uncereminous Revenge by Arpit Shrivastava For free


Book Description :

The story is about Aditya Thakur, a humble, ambitious man who very well knew how to speak his mind and about the love of his life, Alisha who was able to understand his deepest feelings.

The story deals with the fact that love does not necessarily have a fairy tale ending. It’s about two people who are each other’s caretakers, secret keepers, partners in crime and best friends.

They were leading a happy life until Achraj entered their life. Achraj, the spoiled son of Kesua’s Mayor, who could go to any lengths to satisfy his ego.

This is not any other love story, it shows the true meaning of life that includes sacrifices, hardships, pain, courage, guilt and not just happily ever after.

It’s a tale of love, malevolence, revenge, anticipation, and Acceptance.

Download Link : https://amzn.to/2O543cY

Note: The book is Free to download for 3 days. Kindly check in your Amazon Region before downloading.
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Do comment and share your thoughts about it! I'd love to know what do you think. Also, I'd keep updating it quite often so do follow the blog to get all the updates by clicking here.

Also, a minor headsup.... Obsessed is free to read on Kindle Unlimited! Do check it out. I'd be glad to read your reviews!
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Wednesday, 13 March 2019

Review: Lehengey and Lafdey



Lehengey & Lafdey by Varun T.
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Blurb on Goodreads :

They say that marriages are made in heaven; but weddings, my friend; weddings are executed in hell! After writing three political thrillers, all of which helped me garner a bit of fame and intellectual fanbase, I was convinced that politics is perhaps the most difficult field a man can engage in. But then, matrimony came along and politics suddenly felt like the non-essential elaichi in this Mughlai Biryani called life. 

When my ‘loved ones’ subjected me to scenarios unimaginable, when as the groom I had to wait for an hour for my baaraat to arrive, when certain ‘rituals’ scarred me with shame for the rest of my life, I so wanted to give it back to the society! And hence, ‘Lehengey and Lafdey’ was born. 

LnL will raise your ire, tickle your funny bone, and show you everything except what a wedding is supposed to be: a sacred union. In a world filled with romantic novels, where love always wins in the end; patience, perseverance and the insane ability to bear a butt load of crap is required to emerge victorious in the holy war of matrimony. 


Enough talk! Jump right in and witness a whirlpool of emotions, with a cup of masala chai and some fryums on the side. Put your seat belts on, for it is going to get crazy. Welcome to the world of Lehengey and Lafdey! 


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If you always wonder what happens behind the scenes in an Indian big fat wedding than this book would surely give you a very good insight to it. It's a short read with a funny tone on overall setting of marriage. The author surely brings out the tension behind the scenes in very light and funny manner. Can be a good one time read when you are bored.

Book Link : https://amzn.to/2HvIxwI

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Tuesday, 12 March 2019

Why Reviews are needed?

In the previous post, I wrote about should paid reviews exist? Here in this post, I want to talk about why reviews still matter in this day and age of digital marketing where just one click and post can just reach out to millions within the reach.

For a consumer like you who is bored and watching a movie, reading a book or consuming any product or service, a petty thing like review would be a pain in the butt as you might be too bored or lazy to write a few words about it. But, your words have a value and have a bigger impact than what you imagine. The industry of reviewing works just because an average consumer is surely lazy or unknown about leaving a review at the right place.

In this digital world, social media and shopping website algorithms are trained to put up those products which have more reviews, good or bad comes in the second recommendation as reviews are only given after someone has actually bought the product right? The products which might be good enough but haven't had enough reviews are just pushed down in the algorithm race. I don't say what kind of products are generally pushed down the line or which ones are brought up, that all depends on individual marketplace or the algorithm creator.

For an average consumer, a few lazy written words can have impact on someone's bread and butter. With such huge risk, most companies and agencies start approaching review agencies. I can assume at least half of them are still ethical but let's just be real, there are more than that who just take in money and leave blatantly fake reviews which at times we all come across once we get a taste of them after buying the product which had one of those.

Imagine, if just one reader, leaves their opinion on the book wherever its been selling, the book gets an algorithm boost there. Opinion and its ranking is a secondary matter but surely, that first option itself means that people are indeed talking about the product its a result of good marketing and product itself as we very well know that not every product is for everyone.

But imagine, if you as a reader, don't post a review on a book you so loved and yet someone who is imagine from so termed fake review teams working for a competitive product, leaves a fake bad review. Would another person even take a chance buying that book again?

When I did a little survey of my own, I discovered that most don't even bother reading the reviews, or writing them. It's like ignoring a hungry lion in front of you isn't the best strategy when you both are locked up in a cage. Ignoring an issue doesn't solve it on its own for sure. Just your ignorance about that factor doesn't account much in the way the systems are been built today. There are people who actually take reviews into consideration before buying things as most can't afford the luxury of taking a risk.

Amazon is a very famous place who's been regularly plagued by spammers in such cases. Even for the most products which we know are genuine you'd find a one star review, just to bring its ranking down.

I discovered, most consumers wrote a review only when they had some sort of grudge against delivery, product etc.. but most who enjoyed barely cared to write about it at all. I know many businesses are looking past the reviews but it might take a while and in this mean time, someone out there might lose his job or bread-butter just because of a simple review. Ever imagined words from an average person can be so powerful?

There are many things which happen in the review based marketing, things like agencies leaving bad reviews on competitors products so just they get pushed down by the algorithm, boosting their own products in meantime by adding positive reviews and many more are the tricks. Of course these things are noticed very and dealt with in some situations but in most cases they are just to smart to execute that algorithm punishes someone and they aren't even aware of it until their account suddenly goes under scrutiny for selling bad products effectively getting them out of competition.

The damage is been done then. It's most of the times too late to make a new account and start again for most businesses. At times, it goes unnoticed and even ignored by bigger companies and institutions as they won't be involving themselves in every dog and cat fight when they get the benefit out of it or it might be bad for their own public image if something like this comes out.


So what should you do to deal with this? I know this question would be in most minds. You should just try to leave some sort of review, words, comments on any platform which certainly helps the things you love to pop up. Once common masses start talking about it, a few agencies working from the shadows won't be able to cope up with the sheer amount of earth's population even if 10% is talking about that one thing. I hope my point is clear.

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Do comment and share your thoughts about it! I'd love to know what do you think. Also, I'd keep updating it quite often so do follow the blog to get all the updates by clicking here.

Also, a minor headsup.... Obsessed is free to read on Kindle Unlimited! Do check it out. I'd be glad to read your reviews!
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Sunday, 10 March 2019

Should paid reviews exist?

I had been coming across this question from a lot of people. I never thought I'd have to write on this but an incident made me think on it. A fellow author friend contacted a xyz blogger for a review for which she was charged a good amount over usually it is. So my author buddy asked that blogger about how she was going to promote her book. The answer was the thing that shocked me, she'd just post a nice review without even bothering to read just because she was getting paid for it. Now, that thinking is problematic for sure.

The reviewing world is having a huge question these days surrounding on the advent of paid reviews. The only answer to this question is neither black or white. It's totally gray. With the advent of PR and marketing, a new section of marketers often called reviewers popped up.

A reviewer being someone who'd actually try the product/service and share their opinions. If you look at it that way, it's not much different than your average consumer sharing views on something for which they had paid for. But in every society there existed a person who used to spend on a ton of stuff as well as talked about every single product or service that arrived in the market.

For Marketing agencies this was a good chance to influence the people by providing that one person with free services and let them speak about their business. Slowly and gradually this section of people started calling them as reviewers or nowadays in the world of social media they're called as influencers.

There's totally nothing wrong in being a reviewer or influencer. It's a simple barter trade where you enjoy something and just give your honest opinion about it. Slowly, some started making this, i.e. talking about the products their way to earn bread. Now issue doesn't arise here. It started become issue when some sneaky ones decided to be lazy and started talking about things without even testing anything themselves, taking money in return. The issue arose with fake review and marketing.

Now, coming back to our topic. Should paid reviews exist? For that my answer is yes, because many influencers work day in and out to produce good quality marketing content and generate traffic for businesses whereas there are some who just join the bandwagon to get free goodies and have zero knowledge about what they are doing.

So what should we do about it? I know this question would be bugging the most of you. Influencing runs on attention. We should know who is really doing something and who is just talking after getting some money. It's really evident as someone who talks openly about anything which it isn't in real, can be easily identified. As businesses, you should be aware if that person/entity is able to generate good reputation as well as sales for your business. There might be some random person, with a million of followers charging you heavily for just a product placement but ask how they're going to work out.

Support and look ahead to those influencers who actually show the genuine content instead of just targeted marketing via any means possible. This will be going on until people actually start posting reviews and talking about what they really feel about anything. Also, it is not totally wrong to talk about a new product or something which might have been approached to you as in influencer but ethics are the primary thing which should be considered before doing anything. if its not ethical then its of no use.

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Do comment and share your thoughts about it! I'd love to know what do you think. Also, I'd keep updating it quite often so do follow the blog to get all the updates by clicking here.

Also, a minor headsup.... Obsessed is free to read on Kindle Unlimited! Do check it out. I'd be glad to read your reviews!
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