Tag Archives: #aestheticphotos

The genius that is Salander

The Millenium Trilogy aka my genius girl Lisbeth

I was really very happy when Hachette sent me a copy of THE GIRL WHO LIVED TWICE, the latest book in The Girl with The Dragon Tattoo series. The first three books were written by Stieg Larsson, and the fourth, fifth, and sixth are continuations by David Lagercrantz. They follow the brilliant and genius hacker Lisbeth Salander as she strives to assert her independence and continue being the brilliant ‘analyst’ that she is!

Check out this introductory post I made for this readathon!

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo aka where we first see the brilliant genius that is Lisbeth

I had loved reading The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. The plot written well, the characters felt real and very dynamic and flawed. The regular skips in the narratives were an interesting choice and kept the reader in line with the thinking of the characters. Salander is an enigmatic girl and I loved her despite her ‘weirdness’. Mikael’s portrayal as a very real and flawed human was great and I loved the way he progressed. The various human emotions portrayed in the book like that of frustration, anger, fear, hatred etc were very multilayered and interesting.

The Girl Who Lived Twice aka where we see more of the genius Lisbeth’s past

The Girl Who Lived Twice was a very plot-driven novel. It followed Lisbeth on another adventurous journey that showcased her genius. However, in comparison to the original Larsson books, this one fell a bit short when it comes to characterization and plot. The beginning was not very exciting and there were some pages I just wanted to fast forward. They weren’t very strong, is what I mean. However, towards the end, as the author brings in the various narratives together and intertwines the plot, it gets so much better. You just have to push through a few pages.

Amazon: https://www.amazon.in/Girl-Who-Lived-Twice-Dragon/dp/0857056379/ref=sr_1_1?crid=Z2UNXSJT3T6X&keywords=the+girl+who+lived+twice&qid=1571900682&smid=APLYOO3IHSCW0&sprefix=the+girl+who+li%2Caps%2C646&sr=8-1

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42846882-the-girl-who-lived-twice?ac=1&from_search=true

Lisbeth’s family aka a brood of crazy powerful people

We also get to know a lot of things about Lisbeth’s past and her father (!) and it was exciting to see that about her. However, Camilla Lisbeth’s sister Camilla is no less tough than her, albeit in a different manner. In this book, we also deal with a lot of emotions as Lisbeth races against time to stop her sister. She has feelings of guilt and shame and it is interesting to see her process these feelings.

Overall, it was an interesting read and I rate it 3.5/5 stars.

A Mahabharata based extravaganza!

A Mahabharata-inspired retelling

I received a review copy from the publishers in return for an honest review and opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

I read the first book in this series quite some time ago and from what I remember, that book concentrated quite a bit on the world-building aspect and the construction of the setting. It revolved around the princes and the royal families and their relationships with each other. But in Part 2, which recently was released recently, the focus is given instead on the backstories of the characters, their pasts, and their emotional buildup – all culminating in the ultimate war.

The question about retellings

In the Burnt Empire series, the author has given a fantastic retelling of the epic Mahabharata, but has altered a few essential aspects of it, so as to keep it entertaining. But while this may be a controversial point, I do think that retellings, especially in fantasy, do not have to remain completely true to the original story – if it does, where is the scope for imagination?

World-building

Nonetheless, I think that in this second book, the characters have grown significantly than in the first one. There is clearly a lot of attention given to details and the way the author has intertwined all the different narratives, is a job well done. Banker is meticulous with his description of the world in the book – Arthaloka. His attention to detail is uniquely reflected in the plotline and the reader’s imagination’s eye. The world-building ensnares you completely and leaves no possible exit.  I quite enjoyed the book.

Click here to check out my review of the first book!

The human/moral dilemma

Like in the first book, the author has continued to draw upon the essence of the age of confusion that the Mahabharata implies. There is no longer any binary. There is no clear division between what is solely good and what is evil. Everyone is drawn to a point where they have to or have already made decisions, that were not truly evil but not right, either. The moral conundrum that we humans face is on point in this book. It is dubious, the decisions we personally make sometimes as well as the ones made by the characters in this book.

Verdict:

However, the ending was not… how shall I put it? Not very satisfactory for me. It could have been a bit clearer I suppose. In spite of it all, this Mahabharata retelling – Upon a Burning Throne 2 was an enjoyable read for me. I rate it 4/5 stars.

Title: Upon A Burning Throne (Part 2 of The Burnt Empire Saga)

Author: Ashok K Banker

Publisher: Simon & Schuster India

Amazon: https://www.amazon.in/Upon-Burning-Throne-Part-2/dp/938679750X/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=upon+a+burning+throne+2&qid=1571664653&sr=8-1

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/47896474-upon-a-burning-throne–part-2

About the reviewer: Nayanika Saikia, is one of the foremost book reviewers from the North-east and Assam, and is also an admin for the official India bookstagram page on Instagram. She publishes her own reviews and recommendations for poetry, fiction, non-fiction etc. on her bookstagram account @pretty_little_bibliophile which won the NorthEast Creator Awards 2018, as well as in daily newspapers, online magazines etc.  She can be contacted at nayanikasaikia98@gmail.com .

Laugh & Learn with Dr. Parikh, 2019

Title: Laugh & Learn with Dr. Parikh

Conceptualized by: Dr. Samir Parikh, Kamna Chhibber, Divya Jain, and Mimansa Singh

Publisher: Rupa Publications

Synopsis:

Laugh & Learn is a comic series conceptualized to help children navigate various social and emotional challenges that come their way.
In the first volume on STUDY AND EXAM SKILLS, join Addy and Anayka as they learn how to study better, improve their memory and concentration, help their parents calm down, and most of all, have fun with exams!

My review:

I received a review copy from the publishers in return for an honest review. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

So I and my brother read this book over the course of two weeks. And what a tussle we had! We wanted to go fast but since he was having his exams, I wanted him to implement some new tips every day, as well. From my point of view, I think that the inclusion of the illustrations made it a rally very interesting read. The language is quite easy so children can read it on their own. The comic book style is an innovative step! And the smell of the book was beautiful!

My brother too loved that it is so simple and yet effective. Unlike some other self-help books (and he has read a few), this one does not beat around the bush and directly points out the ways in which students (or adults even) can implement these. I myself inculcated a few from the book – for instance, even though I knew and had used the Pomodoro technique, I had fallen out of it for a few months. So I again went back to that. There are other amazing exercises as well which can be done to improve your concentration etc.

To be very honest, although this book is aimed towards the younger end of the spectrum, I think everyone can benefit from it. I did. It is just that as we grow up we forget the basic rules and tenets that helped us excel back in our schooldays!

Verdict:

Lovely book! 4/4 stars!

About the reviewer:

Nayanika Saikia, is one of the foremost book reviewers from the North-east and Assam, and is also an admin for the official India bookstagram page on Instagram. She publishes her own reviews and recommendations for poetry, fiction, non-fiction etc. on her bookstagram account @pretty_little_bibliophile which won the NorthEast Creator Awards 2018, as well as in daily newspapers, online magazines etc.  She can be contacted at nayanikasaikia98@gmail.com .

The Broken Amoretti, by Sudipto Das and Aparajita Dutta, 2019

Title: The Broken Amoretti

Author: Sudipto Das, Aparajita Dutta

Publisher: Olive Turtle, in imprint of Niyogi Books

Genre: Romance

Format: Paperback

Language: English

No. of pages: 296

Synopsis:

“Unusually bold narrative… Almost lyrical in nature” Times of India

To begin afresh, after her broken marriage, Saoli returns to India and starts living in Prembajar at the house her grandfather had bought from Bitasta’s father. While cleaning the house, Saoli comes across an old diary, perhaps belonging to Bitasta’s mother, Panchali. The diary has a very cryptic poem written in dactylic hexameter, the archaic meter of the ancient Greek epics. Aware of the fact that Sairandhri didn’t let her son, Parush, marry Bitasta, even though Sairandhri and Bitasta’s mother were the best of friends, Saoli gets in touch with the reckless Parush, recently accused in a high-profile IP theft case in the US. As Parush tells Saoli about his heedless and shattered life, his unrequited love affair with Bitasta, his lifelong hatred for his mother, and his topsy-turvy corporate career in the US, Saoli unearths the darkest secrets 
hidden in the cryptic poem for so long. 

Why didn’t Sairandhri want Parush to marry Bitasta? Why was Bitasta the only person she wished to see on her death-bed? Why had she been nothing more than a beautiful but lifeless mural at home? The cryptic poem has the answers. 

Join Saoli and Parush in their journey to decode the past and discover their real identities, where love can never be chained by stereotypes. It’s time to set love free!

My review:

I received a review copy from a PR agency in return for an honest review. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

So I had no idea this book would contain so many Greek references when I picked it up. Anyway, The Broke Amoretti is a story told through Saoli’s perspective, a woman who has recently separated from her husband and has settled as a lecturer at IIT Kharagpur. She meets Parushni in a seminar and the story begins from then on. Parush and Bitasta had a famous romance although Parush’s mother Sairandhri never let him marry the woman he loved, despite the fact that Bitasta’s mother Panchali was her bosom friend. It had always remained a mystery and as Saoli tries to decipher the meaning of the enigmatic poem she finds in Panchali’s diary, we come to know more about this story.

The character of Saoli was with multiple layers – she is suffering after that separation from her husband. She is a brilliant scholar, and she is also a kind friend. However, at times I found that her reactions to things that were not actually right (in terms of literature) was contemptuous and I am not sure that I something I appreciate in people, to be honest.

Moreover, Bitasta was not a likeable character for me. It seemed as if she had a chip on her shoulder and I did not like the way her behaved with Parush. It was just too complicated for me.

The most important themes shown here is the LGBTQ spectrum of love and relationship, especially in India. Parushni and Saoli in fact have a common theme in their papers – lesbianism, back when they first met. This theme itself runs and weaves so many events together in the story, it proves to be an important one not just in societal aspects but in terms to the story as well.

There is an inclusion of Greek mythology throughout the book. For instance, Rikshi and Kalyani are compared to Artemis and Callisto. The juxtaposition of Greek mythology against Tagore, Kalidasa’s stories and poems abounded the book. While I appreciate the authors’ attempts at this inclusion, I am not sure if they gelled well, although they did seem to, superficially. Another thing I did not like was that there were too many characters and their interrelationships were too complex for me to remember.

However, the writing style is lovely. Literary allusions are always welcome to read about and I enjoyed them very much. The inclusion of various subplots and doing away with the Unity of action was well done.

Verdict:

I rate this book 3.5/5 stars.

About the reviewer:

Nayanika Saikia, is one of the foremost book reviewers from the North-east and Assam, and is also an admin for the official India bookstagram page on Instagram. She publishes her own reviews and recommendations for poetry, fiction, non-fiction etc. on her bookstagram account @pretty_little_bibliophile which won the NorthEast Creator Awards 2018, as well as in daily newspapers, online magazines etc.  She can be contacted at nayanikasaikia98@gmail.com .

The Monsters Still Lurk, by Aruna Nambiar, 2019

Title: The Monsters Still Lurk

Author: Aruna Nambiar

Publisher: Rupa Publications

Published on:  20th July, 2019

Genre: Post-Independence

Format: Paperback

Language:  English

No. of pages: 260

Synopsis:

We were an ordinary family, with conventional lives. We were mostly happy, but always cautious of too much happiness. We were hardly religious, just pious enough to keep us on the straight and narrow. We bickered a little but would never have thought to be estranged. We feared illness and anticipated eventual death, but we expected life to follow a certain path, a particular schedule. Until…

It is 1991. As Rajiv Gandhi is assassinated and a new government comes to power, setting in motion a process of economic reforms that will transform India, an ordinary family is about to experience detours from the traditional middle-class script of their lives. Over the next quarter century, as the world around them changes in ways unexpected, their lives too wind along uncharted trails, sometimes sunlit, sometimes shadowy and forbidding. 

Funny, perceptive and moving, The Monsters Still Lurk is a bittersweet saga of love, loss, ageing and shifting family dynamics, and a keenly observed portrait of post-liberalization India that captures the zeitgeist of a rapidly evolving society.

My review:

I received a review copy from the publishers in return for an honest review. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

The Monsters Still Lurk, although fiction, gives a great idea of how life had been post-independence, when India was just learning to function as a sovereign country of her own. Through the eyes of Vivek, we are taken on a journey across a quarter of a century as India changes and people have to change along with the times. It is not easy, rather very turbulent and filled with highs and lows.

The major themes covered in this book were family, the fear and acceptance of responsibility as we all grow up in the face of various events that happen around us, war, crisis, friendship, the sibling bond etc. The American Dream is also another theme – it is basically the dream that so many people belonging to the third-world countries have – that America is the land of dreams and opportunities. As such, so many people wanted to migrate there and it was a driving force behind the actions of many people, across various economic levels.  

The political scenario of this period was not a very calm one. As such, the book also portrays the major events in our history as perceived through the eyes of a normal middle class family. The Kargil War, the Babri masjid demolition, the Indian Depression, 9/11 etc are some of the periods the writer mentions in the book.

It was a great read overall. Although a bit bland at times due to the political aspects, the author has weaved together good writing, interesting characters and significant portions of inida’s history to make this a deep and insightful read.

Verdict:

I really enjoyed this book and I rate it 4/5 stars!

About the reviewer:

Nayanika Saikia, is one of the foremost book reviewers from the North-east and Assam, and is also an admin for the official India bookstagram page on Instagram. She publishes her own reviews and recommendations for poetry, fiction, non-fiction etc. on her bookstagram account @pretty_little_bibliophile which won the NorthEast Creator Awards 2018, as well as in daily newspapers, online magazines etc.  She can be contacted at nayanikasaikia98@gmail.com .

February 2019 TBR part 1!

It’s time I showed you all my #februarytbr , the #part1 . Yes I plan on reading a ton of books this month so let’s see how I do.

1. Kaalkoot by @authorsvenkatesh
I’m already done with this book so the review will be up soon!
2. Shadows of the Night by Priyanka Lal
3. Scammed by @ahmedf45
4. The Perfect Drug by @chaitanya424
I’m currently reading this book
5. Between You and Me by @societalmoksha @bloomsburyindia
6. The Anonymous by @nidhikkukreja
I’m already done with this book so the review will be up soon!
7. Krishantak by Anuj Singh Nagaur
8. Wake Up, Girl! By @niharikatheauthor @bloomsburyindia
I’m also done with this book and the review will be up after 2 days!
9. The Lupanarium by @authoradeleleigh
I’m also done with this book and i wrote a really long review about it and l share it soon!
10. The Stalker by @sandeeplochansharma
11. Honey and the Moon by Kamini Kusum
12. Until Love Sets us Apart by @adityanighhot .
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#qotd : so do you have any favourite festival? And I’m talking about the non major ones (so you cannot answer with Durga Puja, Ganesha chaturthi, pongal or such!) OR are you excited for Saraswati Puja tomorrow?

January 2019 Wrap-up!

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It’s kind of cold today again and just when I thought that I’d forego the coat, I had to actually wear it again today!
Nonetheless, a happy Friday to you all!! Today I’m showing you all my #januarywrapup when I read a total of 13 books. I’m hoping to read the same number this month, more work less.
So the books I read in January are:
1. The Matchmaker’s List by @saskinthecity thanks @berkleypub #partner (click here to see the review)
2. The Peshwa II: War of the Deceivers by @sivasankaranram @westland_books (click here to see the review)
3. The Guarded Heart by Robyn Donald
4. It’s Official Stupid by @siddbaliga (click here to see the review)
5. Bestseller by @ahmedf45 (click here to see the review)
@rupa_publications
6. The new Dewtas by @surajtheauthor (click here to see the review)
7. Scrapbook of n Unfound Songstress by @unfoundsongstress (click here to see the review)
8. Shadow and Bone by @lbardugo which I buddy read with @fannatality . It was also for the #readyoshelf challenge by @per_fictionist
(click here to see the review)
9. The Knife Slipped by Erle Stanley Gardner @bloomsburyindia
(click here to see the review)
10. Bride, Bought and Paid for by Helen Bianchin
11. Evil Under the Sun by Agatha Christie @harpercollinsin for the #readyoshelf challenge by @per_fictionist (click here to see the review)
12. Dark Tales by Shirley Jackson @penguinclassics
@penguinrandomhouse (click here to see the review)
13. Burhi Aair Sadhu, a book in assamese for the #readyourchallenge !

#newbooks #indiabookstagram #guwahatiblogger #guwahatibookstagrammers #assambookstagrammers #assamreads #bookpile #aestheticphotos #booksflatlay #prettyfeed #warmfeed #historicalfiction #adventure #bittersweet #indianenglishliterature

January 2019 book haul part 2!


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Hey guys!
I’m back with #part2 of my #januarybookhaul ! I had got a total of 18 new books! And here are the rest!
1. Between You and Me by @societalmoksha @bloomsburyindia
2. A collection of stories in Assamese borrowed from my aunt. Im reading this book as apart of my #readyourmothertongue challenge.
For college:
3. A critical study of #kanthapura by #rajarao which I bought for my Indian English Literature class
4. A book on Literary Criticism
5. Aristotle’s Poetics
6. Classical Literary Criticism @oxfordbookstores
7. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier @viragopress
8. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
9. The Invisible Man by H. G. Wells @maplepressofficial which I won in their #giveaway
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#qotd : what series are you currently watching? Are you loving it?

January 2019 book haul part 1!


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Hey guys!
How has the week been treating you so far?
I have been at a seminar since tuesday and have been enjoying listening to the various papers presented. I’ve had an amazing time here at #elysian19 a national students’ seminar held at the Cotton University!
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Anyway, I am back with another #bookhaul ! So for January 2019, I got a total of 18 new books! #januarybookhaul #part1
Some of them are as follows:
1. Kalkoot by @venkatesh.kalaga
2. Krishantak
3. Wake Up, Girl by @niharikatheauthor
4. The Lupanarium by @authoradeleleigh
5. Honey and the moon by K Kusum
6. Scammed by @ahmedf45
7. Until Love Sets us Apart by @adityanighhot given as a gift by @pen_paper_tales
8. Shadows of the Night by Priyanka All
9. The Stalker by Sandeep Sharma
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#qotd : how many books did you get in January?
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#newbooks #indiabookstagram #guwahatiblogger #guwahatibookstagrammers #assambookstagrammers #assamreads #bookpile #aestheticphotos #booksflatlay #prettyfeed #warmfeed #historicalfiction #adventure #bittersweet #indianenglishliterature