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The priory of orange tree – Review

The priory of Orange tree

Samantha Shannon is a British writer of dystopian and paranormal fiction.

Tane a orphan who lost her parents to a fire take training to become a dragon ride in a “city of learning” in cape hisan. The day before the ceremony she encounters a stranger and instead of notifying him to the authorities, with help of her friend Susa, she ensures the stranger reaches the island called Orishima

Ead Duryan an outsider to kingdom of Inys, keeps a watchful on Sabran, the queen and ensures she safe and secure from cuttroats and others who intent to kill. With the rising of the nameless one, the queen has to stay alive, as it is believed it the bloodline of her family is protecting the people from the Nameless one. She has to give to hier a daughter, to not only to continue the kingdom,but to protect from the Nameless One.

The Nameless one rose from the below the earth and took to kill the entire human kind and that was prevented by queen cleolind and Nepuro over a thousand years ago. Now it is arising and Yscalin once part of the virtuedom has surrendered thier loyalty to the nameless one.

It is believed that the bloodline of queen Sabran is protecting the people from Insys and a hier could prevent the his rod. With her loss of child and inability to have other one one, rise of the nameless one on the other, will Ead Duryan and Tane the rider from east be able to kill him and protect the humankind?

I am reading fantasy genre after few years and I loved reading this one. I thoroughly enjoyed reading the book and could not put the book down. There were twist through the course of the story and always kept me on toe to know what happens next

Most of the lead characters in the book were women who were taking lead, were strong and courageous. They had the power to create a good impact on people, who were leading thier people in war and win in whatever tasks they undertook.

I would rate book 4/5

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Impact of business through social media

Social media has become part and parcel of life. It is a phenomenon which affects both personal users and businesses. They have become a triggering point of growth for various companies. The emergence of various social media platform has provided marketers and firms an opportunity to increase the brand visibility.

Nowadays, consumers are using social media to explore and get to know more about new products. From businesses perspective, social media helps understand customers in their natural habitat.  Thus, with the sudden explosion of social media, the brand-consumer relationship has changed dramatically.

Few traits of Social Media

  • Chance to meet new people/customer and interact with them
  • User-friendly
  • Free
  • Offers exposure to businesses
  • Reach among people is higher

Some fun facts of Social Media

  • There are about 4.4 billion users of Internet
  • People on average have 7.6 social media accounts
  • The daily average time spent on social media by users is 142 minutes a day
  • 81 % of the young population feel social media has positive impact
  • In terms of business
  • 91% of the retail brands
  • 81% of the SME

Use some or other social media platform and they use 2 or more social media channels to promote their brand.

Statistics of Social Media

  • In 2015, social media networks earned around $8.3 million from advertising
  • In 2018, $74 bn was spent on advertising through social media
  • In it noted that 78% of the consumers who post their complain about or to a brand via twitter expect a response within an hour

Google Statistics

  • 100 bn searches every month
  • Little more than 90% of the searches happen through google which are carried out by 1.17 billion unique users
  • 15% of the enquires through google are unique searches

The benefits of social media are countless and has had great impact on both business and consumers

Importance of social media

  • Help boost targeted traffic
  • Help business boost the site’s Search Engine Optimization
  • They help understand the audience
  • Help find customers who aren’t aware of the brand
  • Increase revenue through social media

Guidelines and effective ways to use social media

We usually spend time in analyzing, researching to create compelling content that will not align with the firm objectives, but also with its marketing goals. It is important to keep a balance with the content and promoting it with presence of social media at our fingertips. Thus, the need of effective usage of social media for increasing the visibility and sales

  • Visuals play a very important role. Embrace the visuals – Apart from Facebook, LinkedIn where images help get maximum engagement, Pinterest, Instagram and snapchat are other platforms which are based entirely on images/visuals
  •  Caption for any post help attract people. So, HEADLINES MATTER.
  • Select better title
  • Create a new title
  • Timing of the posts is the essence for social media marketing, and it is usually overlooked. For maximum engagement or better brand visibility, we need to post in social media when the crowd is both online and active. Hence it is important to schedule posts during certain time of the day. So, Share at the right time
  • Engaging the social media users increase the visibility. Make the page more interactive by asking questions or feedback. Simply asking a response or feedback question will help in both public relation and marketing
  • There are many social media platforms and it is important to concentrate on a few where we can get maximum engagement and get more leads.  Use promotion option available on the platform used to promote the content and widen the reach

To conclude, any marketing activity needs to be specific to the business’s target audience. With rise of social media, the money spent on marketing has now been reduced.  By using social media as part of marketing campaign, help reach wider target audiences and increase business. They help achieve brand awareness and attract potential clients.

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Gray Mountain- John Grisham- Review

Gray Mountain

About the Author:John Ray Grisham Jr. is an American novelist, attorney, politician, and activist, best known for his popular legal thrillers. His books have been translated into 42 languages and published worldwide.

Gray mountain is yet another legal thriller by John Grisham set the Appalachia, a coal mining county in Virginia. Samantha a third year legal associate in one of the top law firm is furloughed for year and works for legal clinic in Appalachia. The story is set in the year 2008 and the entire world hit hard by the recession and so is the firm Samantha worked for in New York have been giving pink slips or are being furloughed.

The legal aid clinic is run by Mattie and Annette, although Donovan(Trial lawyer) is also a board member and funds the clinic. The clinic provides free legal services to people who cannot afford to have a lawyer fighting for them in crisis situation. Most of the cases that they handle are divorces, abuse, sexual harassment, so on and forth. Samantha has never been kind of lawyer who have never fought cases, real cases in court. Being a city girl and from different background, she had her own doubts, if she would fit along with crowd in Brady, Appalachia.

Donovan a trail lawyer fights against the coal companies who not only destroy the mountains, its nature, but also affects the livelihood of the people. The water bodies are dumped with waste from the mining, mine workers who breathe in the polluted air have lungs severely affected. Although health affected mine workers can claim for their benefits from coal companies, they are denied and are not able fight in the court. Donovan has won quite a few cases against few coal companies, yet the fight was difficult. Donovan has erratic ways to gains evidence for his cases and is always on trouble with the coal companies. Hence he always has to be very careful. Samantha gets caught whirlwind of his world and his gang of lawyers.

Donovan has a solid evidence against one of the major coal companies which is run by Russians mob and are very dangerous. After the death of Donovan, Samantha, his brother Jeff have been followed and threatened by thugs who work for the coal company and want to get hold of the evidence before they handed over to government authorities. Jeff, Donovan’s brother has been living in shadows and somehow manages to give the hidden documents to another lawyer Mr London, a friend of Donovan, who is going to fight against the companies for justice

My Opinion: The story-line deals with malpractice of the coal companies, how it affects the environment and livelihood of the people in these areas, but the ending didn’t do justice. Samantha, the protagonist of the story, although being a lawyer who can bring a major change by fighting against injustice done by these companies, yet at every danger, she tried to evade away from it. She tries to run away from her responsibility and duck way from the situation rather than facing it with confidence and bring the coal companies down.

The ending could have been better and several questions were left un-answered. Hence. I would rate the book 3/5.

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A matter of Honour – Jeffery Archer – Review

A matter of honour by Jeffery Archer
Leonid Ilyich(minister of Russia) comes to Zaborski(head of KGB) with strange request. The Tsar icon in the winter palace is fake and Leonid needs KGB to find the original icon. The icon hold a secret that is of great national and political importance and it has be found within a month. Alex Romanov was selected to help find the original iconAdam Scott after the death of his father, visits the lawyer with his mother and sister. Although he knew there will not be much of financial benefit, he comes in possession of a letter that can change his life around. It the letter that caused disgraced to his father who worked for the armyHis father worked in the army, but left due a consiparcy. Although never proved in involved in it, yet he left as a Matter of Honour. Adam was also in army, who also left after nine years in service. Despite being the best, when it come to promotion, he was delayed in getting due to his father history.The letter has ability to clear his father ne or bring more dishonor to his family. Yet he opens the letter and finds that he is in possession of the Russian icon St George and the dragon that belong to the last Tsar.For Russian, having the icon back can bring about change in the balance of Power.Thus, story begins with such thrilling storyline and makes a book a gripping read. I would rate the book 4/5

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Silent Honour – Danielle Steel review

Masao a professor was man ahead of his tkme who has a thought for modern ideals was married to a women who strong believed in tradition. She believed by not having son for her son, she has failed her husband.

They had a daughter, Hiroko and son Yuji. Masao wanted to send both of them for education. He sent Hiroko to Palo Alto where her uncle Takeo stays with his family.
She had joined st.andrew’s College. Her uncle and cousins were completely Americans than japanese. She had cultural shock both with her Uncle’s family and country. She was as traditional as her mother Hidemi.

One fine day, pearl Harbor was bombed by japanese. Within hours after the incident, war is declared. This cause a sudden change Thier lives. Meanwhile she falls in love with Peter who is an American.

As they try to survive through the war, Takeo ,his family and other Japanese and Japanese American were moved to various camps, were questions, their loyalties tested.

Set in the backdrop of war, the story is about a woman who struggles to triumph through the war to get reunited with her love of her life and also how she tries to balance between the culture she has grown up with and the one she fallen in love with

I would rate the book 4/5

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Wolf Hall – Hilary Mantel

Wolf Hall

Dame Hilary Mary Mantel, born 6 July 1952) is an English writer whose work includes personal memoirs, short stories, and historical fiction.Wolf Hall is a historical novel, published by Fourth Estate and is first part of the triology. Set in the period of 1500- 1535, the story is about the rise of Thomas Cromwell in the court of Henry VIII.

Thomas Cromwell was in a born working class family to Walter Cromwell. Walter was a blacksmith and brewer. As he grew he became a lawyer and right man of the cardinal Thomas Wolsey. He was witness to fall of the cardinal from his position of grace till his death. The king who is married to Katherine and has a daughter . But he doesn’t have a son to rule his kingdom and is love with Anne Boleyn. The king wants to annul his marriage with his wife and get married to Anne.

Despite the fall of cardinal, he has managed to be in good books with the king and managed to parts his ministry. Cromwell is smart and shrewd person who knows his way and has not only managed to gain trust and become one of the closest aid to the king, but also managed to do so with Anne.

The king Henry VIII is used to having his things done his own way, is trying to get his way out the marriage as there are some christian elements who are very supportive of it. Katherine has put across her case in court for against the annulment. This is one of the turning point in the history of the kingdom which Thomas Cromwell is a witness

Using his wit, keeness and smartness to advantage and got himself promotion ad got closer to the king. He was slowly rising through to position of power. He didn’t get let himself down after the death of his cardinal. At the same time he was becoming closer to Anne and was using her to make put in a good to the king to implement or make changes in ant policies or out in any good word for people. He has been a fatherly figure to many and saviour to others

The king and Anne Boleyn did get married secretly with presence of few people as witness. They have done daughter Elizabeth few months after thier marriage.

Those who love historical fiction, then it is must read and will enjoy reading. The story is about the rise of Thomas Cromwell who rose to power and became a confidante and powerfull resource to the king. This book is the part in the series of triology. I would rate the book 3.5/5

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The Lord’s Day – Michael Dobbs – Review

It’s Lord’s Day – The state opening of the parliament in Britain. The queen and all the powerful members will gathered in the house of lords. This is event looked forward for and celebrated with grandeur. The terrorist were preparing for a strike in the House of lords. The members attending the event including the queen will be used as bait to fulfill thier demands. A testing time and tormenting day for people of Britain.

With first few minutes of start of the event, the terrorist attacked the house of lords and made thier demands. They wanted to telecast this seige to be seen for the entire world and the release of thier leader Daud Gul

Harry Jones who has worked for army and politician was entangled in the midst of the attack. He is a person who has strong will power to fight and never bows down for anyone. He studied only the situation and the terrorists holding the hostages. He got a fair idea about them and managed to contact Tibbetts, head of police.

The home secretary Tricia willocks takes over the situation and tries to get to solution without causing any damage. Although an amazing leader, she faces a fair share of problems. She is under the pressure of saving the queen andthe entire cabinet,her career and also from president of US. The son of US president is also one of the hostage.

The US ambassador to Britain , one of the hostages Robert Paine negotiated with Masood, leader of the terrorist group to get him out of house of lords, for him to make sure that their demands are met. He tries to convince Tricia willocks, but failed. He manages to convince his president in the US and manages to release Daud.

Yet Tibbetts, Harry with the approval of the ministers, finally plan for the attack into the house of lords. They do succeed, but cost of death of lives of the hostages. It was good read and would rate the book 3.5/5

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THE JESTER – James Patterson and Andrew Gross Reviews

The Jester is third book of James Patterson that I have read.

Hugh is an innkeeper in a small village in France. Helived with his wife Sophie under the control of his liege Baldwin. He left the village to fight along with crusade for freedom and wealth. But during the fight , he found the purpose was lost and meaningless. He returned back to his village only to find his wife abducted and child killed

He leaves his village to find his wife and fight for justice. He headed towards tours where Baldwin resided, but only to fight his strength and get almost killed by boar in the forest. He was saved by Emilie a noble from Blois. With the help of Emilie and Norbert (a jester) he was trained to be a jester and was sent across to Tours under the pretext. He killed the person who he thought was responsible for his wife’s and son death only to realise the truth later. He found his wife in a cell in Blois and from traced the truth. Black cross has been in search of the relic. They were under the order of Stephen the Duke of blois. Meanwhile he falls in love with Emilie who help him all the way through his fight

He along with his village people fought against crusaders who visited his village again. They had come to claim the treasure that Hugh(which he himself didn’t know what he possessed) had. Thier victory against reached nearby villages.

They started thier fight by taking over the castle of blois. From there with enormous army they had gathered they went to fight against Blois for justice.

What happens next and how he lives a happily ever after with Emilie completes the story.I found the book little disappointing with the story line. I expected storyline to be more strong and impactful. I would rate the book 3/5

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Circus Folk and Village freaks

Circus and Village freaks by Aparna Upadhyaya is a collection of 18 tales written in the format of poem.

The Strange tale of Subramanian- the crocodile man – A strange story of couple who came to supreme court to seek advice before considering separation. On outing to local pond in the area, Subramanian jumped into pond for a swim without noticing the crocodile. Despite his struggle he was strong enough to fight the crocodile and save his life. But the real trouble began after thart. What happens to him makes the rest of the tale.

Pablo was born with deformity to Mr and Mrs Kannan, who had given to circus which was in the village. He moved from city to city, town to town, he engaged the audience by taking role of clown and thus he was funny and witty. In the night, there women would just come to his tent just for gentle touch. He was noticed by a TV crew person only to change his future for good and thus rise of a porn star. We never know what fate hold us, but least parents can do is give support and encouragement to your child even if they have deformity and not considered them as devil and isolate them

The Sad tale of Vishnu, the village exterminator. Vishnu was famous in his village for exterminating snakes, scorpio and other that come into houses. But he was homosexual and was attracted to young man who was already married. But his fate was to die for falling in love with another man. So true, “Some truths are too raw to be faced bare” Homosexuals are again not very well accepted even today.

Sita and Gita, known as siamese twins where cojoined who shared the same heart. They were noticed in dump by circus master who took them in. They were part of the circus shows and moved from city to city. But as they grew, they fell in love with other people in circus. Being cojoined was a difficulty and they went for surgery to separate themselves. After the story they not only lost love they had with other people, but the pure love that once resided Thier hearts was replace by bitter demon. With half heart each, long for love still continued even after moving out of the circus.

A girl was born into Iyer family who was poor and destitute and was hoping for a boy child. She, as a devadasi, was the chosen one to wed the local godhead when the time was right. she also shared great love for food. She was destined to marry the godhead and she wasn’t even asked for opinion. The priest was old to match with her energy and desire. As time fled, she learnt cooking and her talents spread beyond the temple quarters. The priest made use of the opportunity to earn money from her cooking which they served to all People irrespective of caste and creed. This is the story of Urvasi, the devadasi.

As we proceed with the book there are twisted stories of various kinds people living lives among twisted people and very twisted world. The stories depicts characters such Jonas who found his peace in India, Siva who was loving and kind to reptiles, to characters who were neglected due to Thier abnormal physique or abnormalities, like Rita who had huge mustach.

The characters and stories represented the mindset of the people and that of society. How caste system, born to high caste still mattered, having boy child over girl was still preferred. Infact they considered having a boy child as lucky sign, babies with abnormalities were not accepted as thier own and how outsiders looked upon and unaccepted even by thier parents. The expectations towards girl children, how they grown up to get them married one day and considered a liability. Sexuality is also another issue touched upon in the book. The book not only talked how hypocrite our society and people are, but also about certain social issues.

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The Sunbird – Wilbur Smith

THE SUNBIRD

Wilbur Addison Smith is a British novelist specializing in historical fiction about the international involvement in Southern Africa across four centuries, seen from the viewpoints of both black and white families.

The story begin when Ben(an archaeologist and head of the archaeologist firm) and Louren(a multi-billionaire businessman and financier ) come across a aerial photograph an stumbles upon a great archaeological discovery of a lifetime.

Ben along with Sally his assistant and his team with help and funding from Louren move to city which is Opet which is translated into “City of the Moon”. Ben and Louren are and have been close friends as they studied in the same school. Ben is in love with Sally and intended to propose to her. Louren who is rich and used to getting all things his way, fell for Sally despite married to his fourth wife. Ben was called The Sunbird by the Xhai a member the tribe attributing to his behavior when he gets excited. He Jumps around like a bird when he makes a discovery or convey his excitement

With apt recruitment of team from time to time over the course of discovery, they found great paintings and cavern which told part of the story about the city and the people. But yet there was something more to this place which kept Ben and team in this place for long time. It took them time and research to identify the place where the written work of the people were found. Most of the work were about the accounting of the wealth that was gathered and amongst this treasure was few writing by Huy in golden sheets and saved in the pottery bottles. He had written great poems in the language that flourished in his time. The research didn’t just end there, with the curiosity and restlessness they found more about the people, story and the culture of the city. They managed to find the place where wealth was kept and burial tomb of the kings. But, the discovery came to abrupt stop as both Louren and Ben were exposed to a virus

The people of Opet have been very secretive and protective about their wealth, which were safeguarded with at most secrecy. The locking system were also very unique, opening of the place was part of the wall in the tunnel. Hence it is difficult to identify the opening and the symbol of sun god was used to open. They were also people who weren’t interested in art an related other activities, but concentrated more on gathering wealth and living a prosperous lives. The people of Opet were strong, warriors, religiously inclined and worshiped the Baal(God of Sun) and Astrate (God of Moon).

The second half of the story takes us back to ancient world of Opet. Huy is the priest, poet, commander in chief and close aide of the king Lannon. The bond between them goes back to their childhood. Huy is also known for his loyalty toward Opet and king, his service towards city and man of principles. He was in love with a priestess Tanith although such a relationship is forbidden and hence kept hidden. on the other end, Under the commanding power of Huy and Lannon, they captured many tribes and turned them to slaves

But amongst there was one who was the king of his tribe vendi, Manatassi who had disfigured leg and yet courageously fought against the king. The the war that Mantassi fought was for revenge rather than the freedom of the tribe. When he was captured, Huy saved him after seeing the deformity as sign from God causing a rift between him and the king. Over the course of time Huy had surrender Manatassi to the king to regain his friend, but Manatassi escaped with his girl. Manatassi not only lost his girl ,but was made to work in mine. On his second attempt to escape along with other 30,000 slaves led to war between him and Huy and lost his hand. Over a course 2-3 years. He gathered an army and fought the final war against Opet, he not only killed people of the city, but also the entire city

The book gives a glimpse of both modern and ancient Africa and the balance of both is perfect in the book. The characterization of people were perfect and were not overdone. The irony of the story is the relationship of Huy and Lannon and that of Louren and Ben are just the same. Thier loyalties towards each other, value for their friendship, their characters and view towards life. I would rate the book 4/5