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The Holy Sh!t Moment: How lasting change can happen in an instant, by James Fell, 2019

Title: The Holy Shit Moment: How lasting change can happen in an instant

Author:  James Fell

Publisher: Thorsons, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers

Genre: Self-help

Format: Paperback

Language: English

No. of pages: 278

Synopsis:

From internationally syndicated fitness columnist and author, James Fell, comes a no-nonsense guide on how to get in shape, fix your finances, alleviate depression and change your life for good.

We’ve all been there. Wanting to change your life forever, but only doing it in fits and starts. Feeling inspired to be disciplined one day, then falling back into old habits on the next. Or changing for a few weeks or even months, but then slipping back into familiar behaviours. Bad habits are hard to break for a reason. But you still try because the goal is worth it: slowly and painfully forming new habits to the point where you are able to adhere to a new lifestyle, long-term.

Not only do we struggle with all of it but the failure rates of these models are staggering.

What if there was a different way? What if sudden moment, which happens to be a surprisingly common occurrence among those who succeed would allow you to skip the struggle of behaviour change and just become a different person in a moment? What if all the motivation they would ever need to change could arrive unbidden because of a life-altering flash of insight? It is the power of epiphany – a triggering event when drive and clarity of purpose for changing one’s life is instantly attained. James Fell’s THE HOLY SHIT MOMENT is about that who have sustained change. The stories outlined in this book examine an abrupt awakening, where a person’s purpose switches course in the space of a few seconds; their life is partitioned into the time before that moment occurred, and what comes after. In an instant, the gradual steps of behavior change are bypassed and life transformation takes hold for good. But is an epiphany something that can be generated?

Yes. THE HOLY SHIT MOMENT is a self-help book written in a brash, audacious and informal, your-good-friend-giving-you-the-scoop style, but with the knowledge, research, wisdom and personal anecdotes to back up James’ words in the vein of Jen Sincero’s You Are a Badass.

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 book begins with a very interesting tone. I love how the author has made it an understandable and easy read for all. Beginning with a extensive explanation of epiphanies and the ‘Euphoria of the Life-Changing Moment’, the author goes on over a multitude of other topics. Bringing in an intimate and personal note is a great addition, as it totally made it easy to relate to for the reader. I love how the language is so very understandable despite the fact that there are some topics that are not essentially very easy to do so.

The author does not fail to add however, that this epiphany, this life changing moment is never really truly separate from whatever work we may have done – “But it is no such thing. It is simply that last piece of the puzzle… being put into place… conversely, it truly can  strike out of nowhere…”

After recognizing the epiphany it is also important to find some reason and purpose via it so that we can turn it into something productive. The author then also goes into the science behind it all. The parts that I ranked topmost myself were however, the use of these epiphanies to work over various issues that we may face everyday. For instance, battling addictions.

There is also something called religious epiphany and while I did know something about it, I honestly never knew it had a dedicated term for it. The power of love is another thing the author talks about – how it can be caused due to the passion for life and love. Moreover, using dreams to b more productive is great too.

Verdict:

I think this is absolutely one of the best self-help books I have ever read. I rate it 4.5/5 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 .

Poems that do not Rhyme, Manish Pathania, 2018

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Title: Poems That Do Not Rhyme
Author: Manish Pathania
Publisher: Notion Press Publishers
Format: Paperback
Language: English
 
Synopsis:

“Poems that tell stories,
stories about promises,
promises of love,
love that transformed into art,
art that manifested through poems,
poems that do not rhyme”

‘Poems that do not rhyme’ is a collection of poems written in the form of free verses. Although the individual poems seem unrelated at the first glance the poems are arranged in such an order that they traverse through the journey of an alcoholic man who accidentally falls in love with a girl who was still in love with her ex-lover.
The poems revolve around his character, his love for her, his alcoholism, his self-loathing, his lamentations and his regrets for losing her.
 My review:
 Another anthology composed of free/blank verses, Poems That Do Not Rhyme may at first glance look like every other new poetry book out there. But what is contrastingly different in this one, is that all the poems are telling the same story, progressing from the beginning till the end. It is, in essence, a novel, where each of the chapters is written in poetry.
From the progress, we learn about the sensations that come with falling in love, true love, separation, unrequited love, self-development or even degeneration, etc. It gives a very true portrayal of youth and its follies, as some people will say.

You could forget the sins
Of a distant past life.

 Lines such as these, are enough to make the reader stop and re-read them. Love, its end, the betrayal, and the sadness, are all seen in this book where the protagonist who is writing the poems falls for this beautifully described black-eyed girl until it all amounts to nothing. The enjambment with blank verse plays well and the author has used this to his advantage.
In The End was also a poem that really made me like it deeply. It goes as follows:

You were nothing
To me
But a few dozen poems,
A couple of short stories
And a novel.
But then
That was way more than
Anyone else
Has ever been…

However, I feel that the cover really needs to be redesigned. I didn’t find it at all artistically or even aesthetically pleasing. Art sometimes must be for art’s sake, I suppose.
Verdict:
I rate this a 3/5 stars.

Minuscules, Priyanka Bhatt, 2018

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Title: Minuscules
Author: Priyanka Bhatt
Publisher: NotionPress Publishers
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Pages: 142
Synopsis:
When I asked him to be the poetry I could write about,
he kissed me softly and left.
Since then, my words have been oozing pain.
Today’s instant make-up, instant break-up generation have no time to spare time at all. They prefer enjoying eternity in moments to waiting eternally for that moment. Hence, these micro tales have become the latest fad.
Minuscule is a collection of unique micro tales and short stories that are spread over various themes. From horror to social issues to romance, these tales leave no topic unwritten about, no emotion unexplored. Though told with brevity, the impact of these stories can be more lingering than that of novels. To-the-point, poignant, relatable – this micro fiction book can be read by anyone in today’s time – a teenager and an adult alike. Its varied range of themes is the cherry on the cake.
Minuscule is a book that is sure to bring a smile to your face and tears to your eyes – and stay with you for a very long time.
May the stories make a home in your heart!
Don’t leave me the way you leave others.
Some things are permanent indeed.
Like love, like regret.
And trust me honey,
I’ll be your both.
My review:
A collection of poetry that truly touched my heart, Minuscules was a grand piece. The pieces were all wonderful and I can only gush about the writing.
Bhatt has done an amazing job with the book. The blank verse seen in the pieces really relate to the modern individual with the fragmented state of mind, grasping from one idea to another. They are also very precise, and thus easy to relate to,  for the fast-paced current generation.
The most common themes seen here are that of love, and longing interspersed with some creepy pieces just as well. The author has done a good job with the collection.
Speaking about the cover – it is simplistic yet so very elegant and attractive. The colour theme also works wonders. Inside, it is just as nice. With the editing job well done, Minuscules is a perfect little book to gift to your loved ones.
The inclusion of short one-shots along with the poetry is also a welcome change I accepted as a reader as well as a reviewer. It binds the entire collection into one composed whole that is truly good enough to warrant quite a few dog-eared pages and flagged ones as well.
Verdict:
I loved this book and would definitely recommend all Rupi Kaur lovers to read this one. Well written, and poignant enough to induce emotions in the reader, I rate Minuscules a 4.5/5 stars!

Inkredia: Luwan of Brida, Sarang Mahajan, 2017


Title: Inkredia: Luwan of Brida
Author: Sarang Mahajan
Publisher: Gloryburg Publishing LLP
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Pages: 387
Synopsis:
In Fal Doram, also called as the great empire of Inkredia, a conspiracy begins to unfold. The first step is an easy one – kill a simple, villager named Luwan. When Luwan suddenly faces an enemy straight out of the folklore, he is left dumbfounded by the mystery why they are after him. As he makes a daring run to survive, journeying through the unknown world outside his village, new mysteries emerge, some closely concerning him. Riddled with questions and hunted by legendary assassins, and by the nonhumans made of the darkest element in the nature, Luwan makes a dangerous journey through the incredible empire of Inkredia.
My review:
If there is one series I am glad I picked up recently, it is this! Inkredia: Luwan of Brida is the first book in the Inkredia series and I hope to pick up the second book The Castle of Tashkrum, already! And it is not even out. I’m straight up going to state here that if you haven’t picked up this book- pleased do so.
Replete with themes of adventure, friendship, sibling love and the indomitable human spirit, Inkredia: Luwan of Brida is a fun and nail-bitingly exciting adventure story. Each page is a success and the pace keeps on increasing gradually until we reach the climax. The adventure element though is the most prominent one in this book and it does not disappoint. The magic system is also something that I like- the presence of supernatural and paranormal elements also make the narrative much more interesting. The mélange of magic as well as technology was a very aptly mixed structure in the book.
The plot is a really good one and the author has done the narrative excellently. The rising action leading to the climax and then subsequently the falling action until the resolution is a truly well planned out effort and it is clear once you read the book.
The characters of Luwan and Meg are really wonderful. They were both so brave and courageous as individuals, but most importantly, their love for each other – the sibling-bond – shone through and was portrayed very realistically. Their fighting, the making up, the support and love, it is all well-executed. The author obviously put quite some time on it.
Gloryburg Publishing is a house I did not know of before, but I applaud the great editing done on the book. I found no errors either in the editing or the grammar or even the printing. It is clear that a lot of time has been given to this book both from the publishers’ side as well as the author’s.
Verdict:
I rate this book a solid 4.5/5 stars. It was a simply a very amazing read. If you are looking for something magical with elements of fantasy and adventure, without further ado, simply pick up this book.

Cold Truth, Nikhil Pradhan, 2018

Title: Cold Truth

Author: Nikhil Pradhan

Publisher: Harper Black

Format: Paperback

Language: English

Pages: 201

Synopsis:

A missing girl. A curious journalist. A terrifying conspiracy.

When 10-year-old Sakshi goes missing from East Delhi, almost no one, including the police seems too concerned. Not until a journalist begins to ask questions. Soon, what started as an innocuous investigation into corruption and systemic apathy begins to reek of a larger and terrifying conspiracy, as chilling secrets and long-dead skeletons tumble out.

Pieced together like a case-file, using police reports, interviews, leaked emails and WhatsApp conversations, COLD TRUTH takes you from the by-lanes of Delhi and the communist bunkers of Russia to the frozen grounds of Antarctica, following a trail that will leave you questioning what is real and what isn’t.

My review:

Cold Truth was the first of its kind for me. A modern epistolary novel, it provides the reader with suspense and drama, completely taking the Indian thriller genre by storm. HarperCollins have most probably published a very unique form of writing, more so in the Indian subcontinent.

As I skimmed through the pages when I first got the book out of its packaging, I registered the excellent method of taking the plot forward through email threads, Intel repots, WhatsApp messages etc. But once I started reading it, I fell more and more in love with this way of writing. It keeps the chapters short and makes the reader feel that he is making a lot of progress. I personally read it during a very bad reading phase, and happy to admit now, that this book has successfully been able to drive me out of it.

However, it is not a simple thriller novel. The narrative is fast-paced as we rush from Delhi to Russia to Antarctica. Encompassing the elements of governmental corruption, conspiracies, scientific experimentation, the deep web, the author has to be applauded for the immense research and drafting that probably went on behind this debut novel. It is bound to make the reader ponder about how many such things we do not know about the governments’ going-ons. It was intriguing and kept me at it until I finished it, ever since I first picked it up.

The synopsis really draws you in and as a person who loves to read mystery, Cold Truth came as an unexpected but a definitely very welcome experience. Needless to say, the plot was amazing. The writing style was also very innovative and compelling as well- the use of the epistolary is this manner added a lot of authenticity and this believability to the story. When one actually realizes that Cold Truth is in fact a debut novel, it is truly mind-blowing.

Recommendations:

This was a book that I will definitely not be forgetting any time soon. Fans of the Illuminae series will really love this standalone novel. It is also a great help to deal with those mean reading slumps. I rate this a 5/5 stars and hope that it really finds its way to many more people.