Why jigsaw puzzles for kids and adults?

Puzzles are generally great for a time pass or as a hobby. Age is no bar to solve puzzles. There is one for every kind of person and their age. Playing or trying to solve puzzles not only does belong in the hobby group but also is great for the mind and health.
Jigsaw puzzles in particular have a lot of health benefits where it concerns the brain.



What is a jigsaw puzzle?


Jigsaw puzzles are of the tiling type which consists of shapes that need to be interlocked to solve the puzzle. The shapes are irregular but when interlocked put up a complete picture. The puzzles vary in sizes typically upon the number of pieces the entire picture or mosaic is broken into. The more number of pieces, the more complicated it is and more the level of concentration it requires to solve the puzzle.
The jigsaw puzzle is bringing back a silent revolution that makes screen time take a back seat. Ever since the pandemic began people started spending more time inside locked up in homes. Screen time not only increased for kids but also for adults. The re-entry of the jigsaw puzzles as a family game sure is a tough competitor to the screen times.


Not only that puzzle solving gave it a chance for the family to engage but it also had health benefits even for the elderly. So there is no way they’re giving you a no the next time you call them to play.



Benefits of Puzzling



Here are some benefits of puzzling that would convince you if you had not given it a thought to start and for you to convince others.



Improve visual-spatial reasoning

Imagining and visualising shape and objects position in mind to see where they fit and their relationship with other shapes is called visual-spatial reasoning. When you try putting up the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle your mind takes time to see where the pieces fit into the bog picture. This requires closer attention to the individual pieces. So improvising the skill is also helpful when you drive car, use a map , do packing or even understand movements in dance and try to master them.



Pay great attention to detail

When the puzzle has many similar pieces, it requires greater level of attention to notice the differences and help in completing the puzzle. This requires the eyes to scan for detail and understand the minute differences which can be applied to real life situations. This also plays an important role in the quality of work if we choose to apply the precision.



Improves short-term memory

Solving jigsaw puzzles helps in sparking and strengthening the neural connections. This in turn gives rise to a lot of new connections, which increase our solving speed and thought process.
When we choose a piece we look for similar pieces to make it fit into the picture. The mind visualizes the image on large scale and keeps it in memory to find similar pieces. When you store this information it helps in improving short term memory.



Problem solving capability

To solve a problem we use a lot of approaches in trial and error methodologies. We check hypothesis, theories and formulas when things don’t go as we plan them. This helps us in changing perspectives. This skill of problem solving or critical thinking can be applied to work because it helps us in having better adaptive skills.



Better mood and less stress

Solving a puzzle helps you relax and making it a stress relieving activity. It helps the brain switch states and be alert. Dopamine production is greatly increased when we solve puzzle. Dopamine is responsible for mood uplifting and optimism. Every time we set the piece in the right place dopamine gets released which makes you want to do more of it. It helps in memory, concentration and motivation.



Great activity for me-time

Solving jigsaw puzzles can be a great activity for people who want to spend time with themselves. To unwind ourselves from the digital lifestyle this is a great way to de-stress.



Exercises both left and right brain

When you solve jigsaw puzzle you exercise both the left and right brain. The left brain is logical and right brain works creative , so when you are putting up the pieces in the puzzle its a mental workout that keeps both sides engaged.



Puzzle regularly and live longer

People who solve puzzles jigsaw and crossword have less chances of developing alzheimers disease and memory loss. This increases life span. Solving puzzles help in stimulating brain and helps in warding off the plaque that marks the start of Alzheimers disease.



BENEFITS FOR KIDS



Kids benefit in many ways in terms of physical, emotional and cognition when they play jigsaw puzzles.


When we say emotional benefits we say that children improve self-confidence, self-control and patience.
The physical benefits include motor skills like hand eye coordination and fine grip between the thumb and index fingers.
The cognition improvement helps in developing their concentration and perception.


Start with puzzles that have interesting themes for children and you will definitely see them take a liking towards solving them. Happy puzzling.

This blog post is part of the blog challenge ‘Blogaberry Dazzle’ hosted by Cindy D’Silva and Noor Anand Chawla and sponsored by Queen’s Brigade.

How to teach money to kids

Talking finances and money to kids isn’t complicated and something shouldn’t be ignored anymore. Gone are the days when it is fine we reply saying money “money doesn’t grow on trees”. This is the piece of financial advice we were handed those days and it ended there.



If we want our kids to manage their money without issues in future then teaching them about financial responsibility at an early age is the solution. A habit that can take more time to build is saving. We can clearly say that quite a few adults are yet to master it.



As parents we want our kids to have the best. Not only the best in toys, dress, education but most importantly we want them to be safe and secure. A key lesson that needs to be taught which will guarantee they will do well is the lesson about money. This lays the foundation which will make them do well in life.



Many of us now wish that we could have been taught more about managing money. Missing the opportunities and being reluctant to talk about finances are reasons many parents give on why they couldn’t discuss with kids.
Children are very eager to learn about the wisdom of finance we have. So giving them the gift of financial literacy would be the best foundation we can do for them.

Here are ways you could start teaching money



Start early

Math forms most part of money knowledge. So the learning about money could start as early as when they start learning math. What is money?Where and how it is used are the first and foremost concepts.
Also they need to know where it comes from. They need to clearly understand that it simply doesn’t come out of the wallet. Make them understand that we get paid when we work. SO no work results in no pay. This would make them understand that to earn they must work.



Give allowances

Assign a chore or ask them to run an errand and reward them. As they age you can increase the amount. Teach concepts like save, invest and spend. In this way they will know to allocate what they receive. Creating opportunities for them to earn is a great way to learn about money and to understand that their work is rewarded.



Teaching them to save

It is important to let them know that money is not only for spending but also to save for future. Saving will help in teaching discipline, gratification, setting goals , planning, being prepared and most importantly feeling secure and independent.
Giving them chances to set short term goals like to buy their favourite stationary or favorite toy will make them more enthusiastic to save. TO begin with they could start with saving in a piggy bank and then proceed to opening a savings account once they are old enough.



Make them understand and make decisions

Tracking where money comes from and how is it going to be spent teaches children to make smart decisions. Make them understand that they can pay people to get things done for them when they grow up or also spend in getting things for themselves. The key here is for them to understand that it is going to cost them either way.



Involve them in financial decisions and ask opinions

When I say ask opinions it doesn’t mean you have to go by it. It will help in boosting their morale that they are becoming mature and capable of becoming a good adult. They will also get to know how you handle the situations and learn to model you. Start this in their teens, the goal here is to talk about money freely and not getting stressed up.

See where they go wrong and grasp the situation to teach

There might be situations where the kid spends the entire money , or cable bill rockets and so does electricity. DO not cave in. Instead use this opportunity to make them understand that if money is gone it is gone . Let them know that extra TV hours count, leaving the light on counts. This will make them realize and start acting responsible.



Work on your relationship

Kids learn by mimicking our behavior. So if they notice that we are stressed, spending beyond boundaries and keeping the finance scare they are most likely going to become like you. They cannot think it is normal if you spend money beyond limits so act responsibly and be a good role model.
This also sends out a strong message that you practice what you preach. Talking to them about saving and investing and on the contrary ending up be scarce doesn’t picture a good role model.



Teaching differences

Make sure kids understand differences between needs and wants. Let them be responsible for the decision they make to spend money on a trip to circus or a video game. So later they cannot blame you. Let them enable themselves by making a priority on what do they want first. Making them understand what is their dire need and what is a want helps them make better decisions.


Gratification

Kids need to understand that they don’t always come with a bag of goodies after leaving a store. Visiting every time doesn’t mean we spend and buy stuff. The goodie will make its way during an occasion and not during every store visit. Making them save money for their most wanted goodie is another way they learn to save. And once after they purchase you could see how thoughtfully they make use since it came out of their own money.



So it isn’t late if you haven’t started. There is no right time and no time when it denotes your lagging behind. If you are reading this and plan to start, I wish you the best.

COPYRIGHT NOTICE –
@Sindhu Vinod Narayan. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Sindhu Vinod Narayan (Thatmadrasmom) with the right and specific direction to the original content.

This post is a part of Blogchatter Half Marathon.’ 

BYJU’S Review- IS BYJU’S Good for Kerala Department of Higher Secondary Education


BYJU’S for Kerala DHSE (Department of higher secondary education), is it good or bad? But before we answer this question, you need to know more about the DHSE. The DHSE conducts exams for Plus 1 (grade 11) and Plus 2 (grade 12) every year. But according to recent statistics, the number of students who appear for the DHSE board exams have dropped significantly. This trend seems to be happening over the years. It could also be attributed to less access to quality study materials.

With the competition getting tougher each day and students not taking a liking towards rote learning, it is high time educators implemented new and innovative modes of learning. This is where BYJU’S steps in by providing a practical and holistic approach to learning.

BYJU’S for Kerala DHSE



BYJU’S offers world-class learning resources for KSHE starting from kindergarten to grade 12th and beyond. The lessons can be accessed by using mobile phones, tablets, laptops, and desktops. They are available in offline and online modes.

5 Reasons Why BYJU’S is good for Kerala DHSE

BYJU’S courses are available in Malayalam as well.
BYJU’S study materials are prepared by subject matter experts by analyzing the syllabus, previous years’ trends, and weightage of each chapter. The study materials also teach students the best way of presenting answers in the exam, which will help them score better marks.
BYJU’S courses are loaded with e-textbooks, previous year question papers, important questions, and model papers that allows students to revise and practice well for the exam.




BYJU’S movie-like videos and game-like interactions enables students to grasp the concept easily.
Individual attention is one of the star features of all BYJU’S courses, which makes them the best learning platform for online education. For example, the doubt clearance sessions by BYJU’S mentors help students to clear all their doubts at any time.

BYJU’s makes learning more interesting for students with their unique and innovative approach. It is one of the most reliable learning partners for students. To know more about BYJU’S for Kerala DHSE visit https://byjus.com/kbpe/

Parenting – Are you doing it the right way ?

Parenting:

The process of nurturing and supporting the overall development of a child which includes social, emotional, physical and intellectual. Most importantly, it does not stop with the biological relationship. In fact, it extends much more into the intricacies of each phase of human development.

Styles of parenting:

  • Instinctive parenting.
  • Attachment parenting.
  • Helicopter parenting.
  • Authoritative parenting.
  • Permissive parenting.

Instinctive Parenting:

This is the old school method that is being followed for ages. In most families, this is the type of parenting that can be witnessed. You trust your instincts and guide the child. Most probably, you bring up the child in a way that you were brought up by your parents or grandparents.

Attachment parenting:

Attachment parenting primarily is based on developing a strong emotional bond between parent-child. It is believed that strong attachment brings up a good emotional well-being and the child feels secure being brought up by that way. Parents who adopt this style usually are more responsive, I mean quicker to respond to the child’s needs, feelings so that the child is secure. These parents believe in natural birthing, family bed, no punishments and homeschooling.

Helicopter parenting:

This is when there is constant interaction more precisely interference with the child. Parents tend to hover like a helicopter. This type of parenting supposedly makes the child too very dependent on the parent even after they cross certain age.

Authoritative parenting:

This typically is, ‘I gave birth to you, you live on my property, so you follow my rules’ kind. Rules and guidelines are established for children to be followed. This parent is more nurturing and supportive if incase the child fails to meet expectations. Discipline according to then is being confident but not restrain, to nurture rather than reprove.

Permissive parenting

It’s a child’s choice is what the parenting is about. These parents have very few demands and rarely indulge in disciplining the child. More precise being lenient is the most important trait of the parent here. They try to be more a friend than being a parent to the child.

Good and Bad parenting:

Teaching your child, the moral of choosing what is right and wrong is the foundation of good parenting. You can refer more about this is my older article- Teaching your child good and bad choice. The key to good parenting is setting limits and being consistent. We must be firm and also be kind at the same time to make the child follow.

Anything that is negative to the above statements is termed bad parenting.

A series of action, not just one single act which can harm the child’s behavior and psychology is termed bad parenting. This is not always intentional, but this does not console you that the negative effects would lessen. This usually happens when people do not know enough or lack of the need to do it the right way. The hard thing to digest is some people are not aware of what is actually happening and some do not even care.

How do you identify bad parenting?

  1. Scolding the child frequently.
  2. Disciplining in front of other people. This includes grandparents as well.
  3. Constant comparison to other kids.
  4. No attachment or affection
  5. No rules
  6. Lack of support
  7. Advice always and no encouragement
  8. Not giving them choice
  9. Too much pampering
  10. Talking to them in a criticizing tone
  11. NO respect for child’s feeling
  12. Being overprotective of them
  13. Being too busy and not spending time
  14. Setting a bad example

Being a good parent

No parent is perfect. It’s just that we are all trying our best to become one and are still on the way and have a long way up.

Below cues can help you add more skills if you are already one or just the starting point for you to build up to become one.

Be the model. – Don’t keep telling them what to do; Show them how.

  1. Loving them- Show them love, you can be unconditional; there are no limits. Give them a lot of hugs, spend time, listen to them. Too much love doesn’t spoil them.
  2. Positive parenting – Give them a lot of positive vibes and bring them up in such environment. Do not talk about negative stuff.
  3. You’re the rescuer- Let them know you are always there for them and they can always walk up to you to feel safe.
  4. Communicating – This is the key. Talk to them freely, offer solutions, suggest options, give them choices. Listen to what they say to you. DO not out rightly reject immediately when they start.
  5. Reflecting- Most of us try to bring in the way we were brought up with minor changes. This is much like reflecting our childhood.
  6. No spanking- DO not spank your child at any cost. Especially not in front of others. This would make them lower their confidence.

We are unique in our own ways of bringing the child up. It’s just the above categories are grouping o similar behavior that is observed across the world.

Book blitz – Qualify by Vera Nazarian

Book & Author Details:
Qualify
by Vera Nazarian
(The Atlantis Grail #1)
Publication date: December 20th 2014
Genres: Dystopian, Science Fiction, Young Adult

Synopsis:

The Atlantis Grail has been optioned for development as a feature film series and/or TV series.

You have two options. You die, or you Qualify.

The year is 2047. An extinction-level asteroid is hurtling toward Earth, and the descendants of ancient Atlantis have returned from the stars in their silver ships to offer humanity help.

But there’s a catch.

They can only take a tiny percent of the Earth’s population back to the colony planet Atlantis. And in order to be chosen, you must be a teen, you must be bright, talented, and athletic, and you mustQualify.

Sixteen-year-old Gwenevere Lark is determined not only to Qualify but to rescue her entire family.

Because there’s a loophole.

If you are good enough to Qualify, you are eligible to compete in the brutal games of theAtlantis Grail, which grants all winners the laurels, high tech luxuries, and full privileges of Atlantis Citizenship. And if you are in the Top Ten, then all your wildest wishes are granted… Such as curing your mother’s cancer.

There is only one problem.

Gwen Lark is known as a klutz and a nerd. While she’s a hotshot in classics, history, science, and languages, the closest she’s come to sports is a backyard pool and a skateboard.

This time she is in over her head, and in for a fight of her life, against impossible odds and world-class competition—including Logan Sangre, the most amazing guy in her school, the one she’s been crushing on, and who doesn’t seem to know she exists.

Because every other teen on Earth has the same idea.

You Qualify or you die.

AUTHOR BIO:

VERA NAZARIAN is a two-time Nebula Award Finalist, a Dragon Award 2018 Finalist, an award-winning artist, and member of Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, a writer with a penchant for moral fables and stories of intense wonder, true love, and intricacy.

She is the author of critically acclaimed novels DREAMS OF THE COMPASS ROSE and LORDS OF RAINBOW, the outrageous parodies MANSFIELD PARK AND MUMMIES and NORTHANGER ABBEY AND ANGELS AND DRAGONS, and most recently, PRIDE AND PLATYPUS: MR. DARCY’S DREADFUL SECRET in her humorous and surprisingly romantic Supernatural Jane Austen Series, as well as the Renaissance epic fantasy COBWEB BRIDE Trilogy, and the high-octane adventure YA / teen dystopian apocalyptic bestselling science fiction series THE ATLANTIS GRAIL that has been optioned fordevelopment as a feature film series and/or TV series.

After many years in Los Angeles, Vera lives in a small town in Vermont, and uses her Armenian sense of humor and her Russian sense of suffering to bake conflicted pirozhki and make art.

Her official author website is http://www.veranazarian.com

To be notified when new books come out, subscribe to the Mailing List: http://eepurl.com/hKaeo

Author links:

Book blitz Through the layers by R H Tucker

Through the Layer by RH Tucker
Published Sept. 17th, 2018

Genre:YA/NA Romance

Synopsis:
Second chances are for suckers.

Micah’s heard that expression before. With his first year of college in the books, catching his girlfriend cheating on him—again—he learns that lesson firsthand. The girl he thought could’ve been his high school sweetheart, turns out to be nothing more than a liar, completely destroying his trust.

No one has ever called Veronica fat. Thick? Okay. Curvy? Sure. However, they’ve never come right out and told her she’s overweight. Not unless you count the kids in third grade who called her roly-poly. Grade school or freshman year of college, it doesn’t matter. Guys usually go for the tall, thin girls. Girls like Micah’s ex.

Despite their hang-ups, and their pasts, Micah and Veronica find something in each other that quells their concerns. But when old faces return, and unsettling truths are revealed, will either of them be able to work through the layers and find one another again?

Through the Layers is a standalone YA/NA romance in the Rumor Has It series.

LINKS:
Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07H29YMWW
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07H29YMWW
Amazon CA: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B07H29YMWW
Amazon AU: https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B07H29YMWW
Amazon IN: https://www.amazon.in/dp/B07H29YMWW

AUTHOR LINKS:
http://www.rhtuckerbooks.com/

https://www.facebook.com/rhtuckerbooks
https://www.instagram.com/rhtuckerauthor/
https://www.bookbub.com/profile/rh-tucker

EXCERPT:
I knock again and pull out my phone. Maybe I should call him.
The door swings open and Micah stands there, dripping wet, holding a towel around his waist. “Hey, you’re early.”
“I … I …” I’m trying to form words, but my brain has gone to pudding. I can feel it, all squishy, sloshing around inside of my skull. He opens the door wider to let me in, but I just stand there, admiring—gawking—at the water dripping down his chest. The beads of water trail over his muscles, down his stomach, to somewhere underneath the towel.
“You gonna stay out there all night?”
My eyes shoot back up, and he’s smiling. “Would you like to come inside or did you want to get to business out there?” My mouth drops, and he laughs.
Finally realizing he’s teasing me, I find some kind of strength to not stare at him, and go inside.
“Just give me a second to dry off.”
I stop and stand behind the sofa. Usually, I’d feel comfortable enough to go to the kitchen and grab something to drink, or just lounge around on their couch, or even head straight into his bedroom and turn on the TV and start to watch something. Now, I’m stuck.
What should I do? Does he expect me to do something or say something? Should we have something to drink first? I know they usually have some alcohol in the apartment, maybe he wants to relax first. Should I change already? Why is it they make it look so much easier in the movies and on TV when it comes to this sort of stuff?
“What are you doing?” Micah asks, coming back out of the bathroom. He’s got on a pair of shorts and a shirt that fits him snuggly, but I can’t erase—nor do I want to—the mental image of him opening the door in nothing but a towel.
“Um …” I look around, unsure how to answer.
He gives me a hug and kisses the top of my head, before walking to the kitchen. “Happy birthday. I ordered a pizza. I would’ve gone all out, but you said you just wanted a chill night. Is that okay?”
“Mm-hm.” I nod.
Turning around, he stares at me still standing there. “Are you okay?”
Get it together, V. This was your idea!

AUTHOR BIO:

RH Tucker lives in Southern California and writes character-driven stories with people who have real heart. At least, he tries to. He also consumes too much caffeine, eats too much pizza, and firmly believes Rocky Road is the best flavor of ice cream.

This post is for the book blitz organised by Xpressobooktours.

Book trailer reveal (Sept. 17th ) Dead steam by Bryce Raffle

I am so happy to share this really cool book with you and reveal its amazing trailer! If you like the cover, wait to you see this! There is also a chance to win a digital copy of Dead Steam, so make sure to enter the giveaway at the bottom!

Dead Steam: A Chilling Collection of Dreadpunk Tales of the Dark and Supernatural
Expected Publication Date: October 1st, 2018
Genre: Anthology/ Dreadpunk/ Dark Steampunk/ Horror
Reader beware: to open this tome is to invite dread into your heart. Every page you turn will bring you closer to something wicked. And when the dead begin to rise from the steaming pits of hell, only then will you discover that it is already too late. Your life is forfeit.

Featuring an introduction by Leanna Renee Hieber, author of the Eterna Files and Strangely Beautiful saga, DeadSteam plays host to the scintillating writing of David Lee Summers (Owl Dance, The Brazen Shark), Jen Ponce (The Bazaar, Demon’s Cradle), Wendy Nikel (The Continuum), Karen J Carlisle (The Adventures of Viola Stewart), Jonah Buck (Carrion Safari), and more…

With seventeen chilling tales of Dreadpunk, Gaslamp, and Dark Steampunk, DeadSteam will leave you tearing at the pages, desperate for more. For within these pages, the dead rise from their graves to haunt the London Underground, witches whisper their incantations to the wind, a sisterhood of bitten necks hunts fog-drenched alleyways lit only by gaslight, and only one thing is certain: that dread will follow you until you turn that final page.

And that sinking feeling in the pit of your chest? That fear that something is following you, watching you, hunting you? It is not for nothing. Look over your shoulder, dear reader. Watch behind you. Listen to the whispers in the darkness.

But know this…it is all inevitable.
Goodreads
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40751298-deadsteam

Purchase Links:

Amazon Hardcover: https://www.amazon.com/dp/0995276765

Amazon Paperback & Kindle: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07GFV5X49

Barnes & Noble Paperback & Nook: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/deadsteam-bryce-raffle/1128997727

Barnes & Noble Hardcover: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/deadsteam-bryce-raffle/1129305698

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/ca/en/ebook/deadsteam

Booktopia: https://www.booktopia.com.au/deadsteam-bryce-raffle/prod9780995276741.html

*Link will go live Sept. 17th
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VaK6P5_z35I&feature=youtu.be

Excerpt
Burke Street Station

The city was frost and fog. Icy crystals formed on the windows of the train station. Breath drifted up in a hazy clouds like puffs of
smoke as Theodore tried to warm his hands, blowing hot breath onto his stiff, cold fingers and rubbing his hands together vigorously. When that failed, he thrust them back into his coat pockets, cursing under his breath. His threadbare coat offered little warmth. Drafts of wind found their way through the broken stitching and the tears in his sleeves like rats scrambling through the cracks in the station walls. A discarded page of newsprint, caught in the rushing wind, tumbled and turned in the air and landed, crumpled and torn, at Theodore’s feet.

He stooped over, picked it up, and glanced at the engraving of a wanted man. Even without a skill for reading, he knew what name was printed beneath the picture of masked man on the page. Anthony Tidkins.

Wanted, he read. That was one word Theodore recognized. Crimes was another, and then, finally…murder.

Rubbish. The newspapers always tried to make villains out of the radical thinkers of the world. The Resurrectionists, who named their organization after the sack-em-up men who provided the anatomists with subjects for their scientific endeavors, were scientists. They had provided the world with aether, revolutionizing air travel. They had brought Prince Charles back from the brink of death. They had devised the engines for the London Underground. Anthony Tidkins himself promised to cure death. Yet the newspaper men still called for his blood. Theodore balled up the page and shoved it in his pocket.

He pulled out his trick coin as he approached the gate. The station master was asleep at his booth, a little dribble of spit running down his chin. Typical. Thoedore stuck his coin in the machine, waited for the gate to open, and then, with a light tug on the fishing line threaded through a little hole in the tip of the coin, it popped back out. Easy. He was in before anybody noticed what he had done. He pocketed the coin and started down the hallway.

Tap-tap, clack, tap-tap, clack, his shoes beat a rhythm on the stone steps. The sole of his left shoe was beginning to wear, and the heel of his shoe tapped against the heel of his foot as he walked. He puffed on his hands again, and peeked over his shoulder. No one was after him. He had done this trick a thousand times before. So why did he feel like there was someone watching him?

Clack, tap-tap, clack. Again, he glanced over his shoulder. The odd double-rhythm of his broken shoe was suddenly unnerving in the deserted station. Where were all the other passengers? Nice folks avoided this place like the plague, especially after midnight. The oil lamps that lit Burke Street Station were so routinely out of oil that he could hardly find his own feet in front of him, but still, Theodore expected to see other passengers. But where were the other vagrants? They should be sleeping in the dark corners of the hallway under blankets made of rags. And the boys from the blacking factory should be heading home from their long shifts, fingers stained black with powders and oil. But there was no one. Only the rats skittering through rat tunnels to keep him company.

Tap-tap, clack, tap-tap, clack.

Another set of footsteps began to follow his own, beating out a different rhythm. A steady tap, tap, tap, tap. He paused to listen, and nothing but silence greeted him. He glanced over his shoulder. Nobody there.

He continued onward, and again, a second set of footsteps started up behind him. He paused to listen. This time, they didn’t stop.

Tap, tap, tap, tap.

Whoever it was, they were getting closer. Closer and closer, louder and louder, tapping out a steady rhythm as they approached down the long, dark hallway. He could almost make out the solitary figure in the gloomy, hazy light, but then the fog grew thicker, and whatever he thought he’d seen was gone. The footsteps kept on getting louder, though, and closer. He turned and ran down the hallway.

A long flight of steps delved deeper into the darkness of Burke Street Station, down, down toward the platform. The train was already rumbling, announcing its approach. It vibrated through Theodore’s toes to the tip of his spine, rattling his bones.

He grabbed the railing all but flew down the staircase. The rumble of the train grew louder and clearer.

“Shit,” Theodore cursed. Taking the steps two at a time, he hurtled down the steps and didn’t stop when he reached the bottom.
Nails on a blackboard. The tines of silverware scraping against a ceramic plate. The screaming madmen at Newgate Asylum. The anguished cry of a mother weeping over her stillborn babe. Theodore had heard these sounds all, but not one compared to the shrill screech of an automatic train rolling into Burke Street. Iron wheels grinding against iron tracks. Hot metal sending up sparks, belching out steam as black as sin. The carriages rattling and clanging against one another. The hiss of hot coal burning in the engines. The shriek of brakes as the train ground to a halt. If it went on long enough, it would surely drive a man mad. Theodore covered his ears with his hands, pressing them against his head to muffle out the deafening noise, and waited for the thundering train to come to a halt.
When it did, he realized it must have drowned out the sound of the steadily approaching footsteps he’d heard in the hallway, because he could hear them again, and they were closer. So close he half expected to feel someone’s hot breath on his neck. He whirled around, but there was no one there. Silence greeted him like an old friend. His heart hammered against his chest.
“There’s no one there,” he muttered to himself. But he didn’t sound convinced.
A smell lingered in the air, as if something foul had passed through. The smell was familiar enough, the breath of a man with rotting teeth. It was a foul, cloying stench. He spun around again, and this time found himself face to face with the man to whom those dreaded footsteps belonged.
Only he wasn’t a man. Not really.

About the Author

Bryce Raffle writes steampunk, horror, and fantasy. He was the lead writer for Ironclad Games’ multiplayer online game Sins of A Dark Age and is the founder of Grimmer & Grimmer Books. His short stories have appeared in numerous anthologies, including Hideous Progeny: Classic Horror Goes Punk, Denizens of Steam and Den of Antiquity. His short story, The Complications of Avery Vane, was awarded Best Steampunk Short in the Preditors and Editors Reader’s Poll in 2016. He lives in beautiful Vancouver, Canada, where he works in the film industry.

Author Links:
Twitter @bryceraffle
Facebook: facebook.com/bryceraffle
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/bryceraffle/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14585685.Bryce_Raffle
Website: http://www.bryceraffle.com

Giveaway Details:

Bryce is giving away a digital copy of Dead Steam to one lucky winner. The giveaway will run from Sept. 17th to Sept. 20th so make sure you enter!
Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/0e7c6a8f45/?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Book Trailer Reveal Organized By

R&R Book Tours
http://www.rrbooktours.com

Review of Hungry Gods by Richa Lakhera

BLURB:

Beaten and brutally raped, her body is never found. However, the killers make one mistake. They leave a witness, a witness who has nothing to live for except revenge. And when he crosses the boundaries of time to make the guilty pay, a whole lot of dark characters come to light. There is Valentine, the superstar brand ambassador who sells anything for a price; there is Medici, a pharmaceutical company fraudulently manufacturing banned drugs; there is the perverted and sinister minded Dr Ranga and there is Este, the prostitute whose dark secret will blow up a daughter’s sanity. So, is there another murder waiting to happen? Will Police Inspector Dorab Silva be able to connect the clues to prevent another crime? Will these gods of greed be exposed? And yes, you will be surprised by who you will find there, finally. Deeply unsettling, Hungry Gods takes a hard look at greed for wealth and power.

MY REVIEW:

The first thing that struck me when I was asked if I can review this book was what made the author choose this name. I initially thought that it was something of mythological sorts but when I googled and saw the cover my opinion was completely proved wrong. The cover design conveys a lot. In fact that’s one of the stand out features of this book. I went through the blurb and which made me even more anxious that was eagerly waiting that the book would get delivered to me sooner.

The book is based on the tagline Drugs, Sex Cults, a horrific crime and an unthinkable revenge. The revenge here is by a son who witnesses him mom being abused and killed by a group. Bu the way in which the narration is taken is what which makes the book stand out among similar books of this genre.

It is very difficult to keep track of all characters since there are a lot of them, a LOT I say. The writing style of the author is on par with that of international authors. Its crisp, subtle and brilliant. She has a good command over the language and an extensive vocabulary.

The narration is from first and third person perspective which is confusing a times to relate the consecutive events. A clearer description of the place and time could have made it better.

Writing was very intriguing and intense but applauds to the author, the surprise element was kept up till the end. The nail biting sequences of pre climax and climax was outstanding.

Overall, Hungry Gods was a bold representation of the present sadistic world we live in and can very well be made into a movie.

But I would like to leave a disclaimer that the book is not for light hearted ones.

MY RATINGS:

Cover: 4.5/5

Title: 4/5

plot: 5/5

Writing and Presentation: 5/5

Overall: 4.5/5

BOOK DETAILS:

  • Book Name: Hungry Gods
  • Author: Richa Lakhera
  • Genre: Fiction/ thriller
  • Paperback: 204 pages
  • Publisher: Rupa Publications India (20 July 2018)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9353040795
  • ISBN-13: 978-9353040796

The book is available on amazon https://amzn.to/2x1jHy5

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Hungry Gods is Richa Lakhera’s third novel, she has previously written Item Girl, a crime novel and Garbage Beat, a satire on the Indian entertainment industry. A libertarian addicted to absurdism, she works as Deputy Editor at NDTV. She has a Master’s in Organic Chemistry and Bio-technology and is the recipient of the Indian Council for UN Relations (ICUNR) Award for Excellence in Journalism. Richa divides her time between New Delhi and Mumbai and is currently working on her next crime fiction novel.

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Letter to my dear daughter #myfriendalexa

Dear Cheeni,

Even before I knew you were coming I named you, my little angel. I found a new reason for my existence when I saw those two pink lines. We (your Dad and I) fell in love within seconds listening to the magical sound of your heartbeat. I thought it was a myth to identify gender based on heart rate, but I knew it was you, my special rainbow baby.

I knew it from those constant kicks and strokes you gave me while you grew inside me. They were such a gift, a signal that you were alive and growing. The times I sing to you and read out to you when I was alone, I felt a strong connection. Those moments of acknowledgement when I talk to you, the signs of reciprocation kept me going even when I was tired or feeling low. Even today I try holding on to what it felt like to have you kicking and stretching the limbs of your tiny body inside my body, safe and sound. These are moments etched in memory for lifetime.

I wasn’t the only person counting down to your arrival. No words to express the excitement of your Grandparents (all four of them) and both aunts as I was nearing my due date. You see, you are their first grandchild and their first niece. The countless number of phone calls showing that they can’t stop talking about you, to see if it’s time. I really feel so blessed to see how many people love you.

I was so eager to be the mom you so deserve. Disclaimer: I may not get it right at first, but I promise to try my very best and I promise to love you unconditionally until my last breath on earth.

I celebrated my first Mother’s Day with you, my baby. I feel this irresistible need to tell you some things about what it means to me to be your mother. So exciting that I now have a girl of my own who will wish me “happy mother’s day”. Now that’s a change from me wishing my mom and all elder woman in family.

I replay the first moment I saw you, at times when I try sleeping at night. The first eye contact I had with you on the labor bed, when the nurse gave you to me, by placing you on my chest. That moment of relief, happiness, pain all at the same time.

And What about your Dad? You are so lucky to have him of course. I have never doubted his ability to make a fantastic father. And now I know you will be the girl(second) who ultimately melts his heart with just one look.

You’ve had such an intense impact on our existence here. And now, you will become the best and worst parts of us.

You have my eyes, and your dad’s hair, my round cheeks and his long fingers, but you are unique.

And destiny will tell us if you are as bold as him or as quiet as me. We have so much ahead of us.

You are a daddy’s daughter too but sometimes the feel that you’re all mine at least secretly gives me a sense of pride and accomplishment. He does travel along for the ride but you and me… We’ve got a special thing going.

There would be times where it gets tough, but I do know that we can get through tough times, and I want you to know that I’m always trying my best. I want to be a good mother and I’ll try my best to do what’s right for you.

All I would wish for you is to Create a life that gives YOU happiness. Nothing would make me prouder.

You will have plenty of days to thank me, but I would thank you on every Mother’s day for making me a mom and I am so happy to be yours.

I can strongly say there is no word in English language that sounds as delightful to a woman as the word, “Mom.” God must have coined it after a long thought. One shout out of the word “Mom!” — every woman turns her head. And that is how special it is to be a mother.

#sindhublogs

#myfriendalexa

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Parenting Journey

Hello All,

Welcome to my world of blogging where I go about sharing my experiences as a new parent.

Motherhood has indeed made me a new person I discover each day.

I am a mother of a naughty beautiful toddler , Shrinika who makes me run on my toes all day. Wait..I’m a working mom so don’t take it literally. So it’s not all day and the times when I am with her.

Let me take you on a journey of good parenting through my experiences shared here. Feel free to let me know your comments, show some love and give me your suggestions and feedback. Happy parenting.