Sunday, January 3, 2016

My Review: Ashoka - The Lion of Maurya by Ashok K. Banker

Ashoka - The Lion of MauryaAshoka - The Lion of Maurya by Ashok K. Banker
My rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Series -  Itihasa - Ashoka

The first book of 2016. What a start it is. Ashok Banker is India's mythology man. Now add history or as Banker likes to say Itihasa to his cap. Ashoka - The Lion of Maurya is the first of the series of books based on the greatest Indian Emperor ever - Ashoka Maurya. The 3rd in the Mauryan Dynasty, the man who laid the foundations of modern day India, a man whose deeds are still seen in various facets of Modern India.The Lion of Maurya is a bloody tale, it is a tale of war and the emergence of a single power through fratricide and bloodshed. History is witness, the empires of great men have been build on the blood of the people they have spilled to conquer and retain the throne. Nobody knows this better than the greatest modern day preceptor to have ever lived Chanakya, a man whose treatise and policies known as Chankyaneeti and Arthasashtra form the foundations of mordern politics and economics. A man comparable to Aristotle, Socrates and Sun Tzu. Now living in his old age Chanakya is seeing the very empire he forged for Chandragupta Maurya being torn apart by relentless machinations and greed of Samrat Bhindusara's chief queen and step-mother.

The heir apparent Prince Sushim is too indulgent in living a life of debauchery and wine. The only person capable of assuming the reins of the throne has vowed to keep himself away from it to protect his mother from the machinations of the palace politics. What will happen when enemies of the empire strike from within.

Every man has his limits and Ashoka's limits lay with his mothers well-being. When the same mother is imprisoned and tortured by the chief queen with the tacit approval of the King himself and when the King allows for his own son to be broken and left for dead what will Ashoka do?

This is where the Banker leaves us at the end of the Lions of Maurya, more questions unanswered than ever and the long tantalizing wait for the next book in the series.

Dear Ashok, you have me hooked to his new series.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

2016 - Reading Challenge

Well 2016 has started and as is the norm I am setting myself a yearly target for the number of books that I want to read this year. Last year was pretty successful for me as I met my challenge of 45 books, in fact exceeded it by 2 books by finishing the year on 47 books.

The summary of my challenge for the year gone by of 2015 can be found here.

Coming back to 2016, my challenge is as follows:

  • Read 52 books this year - 1 book a week. This is a doable thing IMO. I can pace myself an pick books that I really want to read.
  • Read at least 25000 pages. Now this would be a much difficult objective to attain, my count for 2015 stands at 16,196 so with the increase in the number of books I can hopefully get to 25K
In addition to the above, I will also be participating in Book Pals in my GoodRead group A Good Thriller. In fact the January Book Pal has already started. I am currently reading The Sound of Glass by Karen White for my challenge this month. 

Also I am trying something called as group challenge set by the group moderator Sean in the group which encompasses reading 25 novels having various aspects in their title. Let's see if I can hit all of them in the upcoming year.

So what about you folks, what plans for reading this upcoming year. Do share and enjoy reading.

The 25 things that should be in the title are as follows:

1. Color - red, crimson, indigo
2. Number - one, twice, third
3. Things That Grow - tree, rose, garden
4. Seasons - spring, fall, autumn
5. First Name - Jacqueline, Robert, Ajax
6. Places - country, empire, London
7. Body Part - hand, bone, mind
8. Weapon - knife, poison, arrow
9. Body of Water - sea, river, pond
10. Form of Water - ice, mist, rain
11. Product of Fire - heat, ash, flames
12. Celestial Body - sun, star, planet
13. Architecture - castle, bridge, house
14. Senses - sight, touch, taste
15. Royal Title - king, duke, emperor
16. Family Member - brother, aunt, parent
17. Elements - fire, wind, air
18. Time of Day - morning, dusk, evening
19. Metal - gold, bronze, steel
20. Emotion/Feeling - love, fear, pride
21. Animal/Insect - dog, tiger, unicorn
22. Something to Read - book, story, newspaper
23. Gender Identifier - wife, man, lady
24. Paranormal Being - vampire, angel, ghost
25. Occupation - doctor, assassin, detective

2015 - Book Challenge Review

Well I had set a target of completing 45 books for the last year, and yup I got it through the skin of my teeth in the end days of the year. Read through 47 books in the end and while that was satisfying, what was not is that I did not manage to review each and every book here on my blog. Disappointing.

So here's my list of what was good and what was bad with my 2015 book challenge.


  1. Read 47 books. Exceeded my target ... Yay!!!!
  2. Got introduced to some great new authors - both indie and mainstream: H.N.Wake, Ty Patterson, David Staniforth, Terry Hayes, Andy Weir, Lisa Genova, Stephen England, Andrew Watts, Mel Sherratt - Wow I really read a lot of books by new authors. I felt good to branch out from the mainstream.
  3. Read new genre's of book other than my usual thriller, action, adventure group. Some of the off course books like Inside The O'Briens by Lisa Genova, Boko Haram by Mike Smith, Follow the Leader by Mel Sherratt, Imperfect Strangers by David Staniforth comes to mind immediately
  4. Made friends with a lot of cool people courtesy of the A Good Thriller group on GoodReads. Christine, Freda, Janet, Sean, David, H.N, Brenda, Amber, Titas are some that I share daily banter with. Freda the discussions that we had during the I Am Pilgrim reading was epic. Looking forward to a repeat experience pretty soon.
  5. Net Galley - It is a source for a voracious reader like me. Unfortunately for me I was not able to do justice to all the books that I got approved for reading. But one of my promises for the new year is to catch up with all the books that I have on my shelf.
Now coming to the bad:

  1. Not being able to do just to my Net Galley approved shelf.
  2. Defaulting on my Book Reads for the month. Sorry Perri!!
  3. Not reviewing all the books that I read on my blog. I missed out reviewing some great books like The Martian, Memory Man
  4. Not completing my Beta Read for Deceits of Borneo. Sorry H.N it was huge responsibility and opportunity and I fell short. The reviews are rave for this one, folks don't miss this!!!

That is the total summary of my year for the books in  2015. So I will be putting up another post with my goals for 2016 in terms of the books, my blog and anything that pops up in this chaotic mind.

Till then ciao,..

Leaving you with this great thought for the new year...