Tag Archives: indian

Gift of Confidence, Rohit Narang, 2018

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Title: Gift of Confidence
Author: Rohit Narang
Publisher: Partridge India
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Pages: 148
Synopsis:
Everyone, in a family of reputed professionals of the town, has been successful in cracking the World’s toughest exam in their first attempt but Pancham is unable to maintain the legacy. Father is furious at Pancham’s failure. Pancham thinks if he dies, the society won’t trouble his family. Before the thought could take the shape of reality, an affectionate mother calms him down and sends him to the Sikh temple, where he meets a weird looking stranger with whom he takes an emotional roller coaster of conversations. Based on actual events, the story is influenced by the author’s life who refused to believe the crowd and made his path for an unbelievable achievement.
 My review:
Gift of Confidence was an enjoyable read as it was so very realistic in its essence. The plot in itself is something that is common to every student’s life, be it in part or its entirety. The protagonist, along with his troubles was very relatable and his tribulations more so.
The themes of success and hard work resonate throughout the entire story and in its way this story proves to be a very inspiring read. There is however just one mention of suicide that may be a trigger warning for some. The character of Vandit ji was also a very inspiring one as he is the one who really made the difference in Pancham’s life. He is the one who basically lifted Pancham up and delivered him from the hole he had fallen into following his unwelcome result. In that I think it is really relatable- we all have someone who really builds us up and helps us move forward in life and that is really important.
Pancham’s mother was a very lovable and inspiring character too who always had the belief and trust in her son and never failed to make him feel supported. Pancham on the other hand, goes through a great transformation and his metamorphosis is eye-opening. With the right amount of will-power and determination, everything is possible. Pancham really shows that and epitomizes that. His character development is apt, where others’ is not really visible and lack depth.
The story was overall very enjoyable. However, the writing style is too simple and could do with a bit more refinement to it. It is a good work though for beginners to start with, and despite the simple writing style and plot, the story is worth reading.
Verdict:
I quite enjoyed this book and as I rate it a 3/5 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.

All the Bright Places, Jennifer Niven, 2015

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Publishers: Penguin Random House
Genre: Young Adult/Mental Health
Format: Paperback
 
Synopsis:
 The Fault in Our Stars meets Eleanor and Park in this exhilarating and heart-wrenching love story about a girl who learns to live from a boy who intends to die.
Soon to be a major motion picture starring Elle Fanning!

Theodore Finch is fascinated by death, and he constantly thinks of ways he might kill himself. But each time, something good, no matter how small, stops him.
Violet Markey lives for the future, counting the days until graduation, when she can escape her Indiana town and her aching grief in the wake of her sister’s recent death.
When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school, it’s unclear who saves whom. And when they pair up on a project to discover the “natural wonders” of their state, both Finch and Violet make more important discoveries: It’s only with Violet that Finch can be himself—a weird, funny, live-out-loud guy who’s not such a freak after all. And it’s only with Finch that Violet can forget to count away the days and start living them. But as Violet’s world grows, Finch’s begins to shrink.
This is an intense, gripping novel perfect for fans of Jay Asher, Rainbow Rowell, John Green, Gayle Forman, and Jenny Downham from a talented new voice in YA, Jennifer Niven.
 
My review:
All the Bright Places is a modern day literary masterpiece- a beautiful YA fiction that touches upon and revolves around so many important issues that teenagers today, face. It was beautiful and heartbreaking and it’s certainly a book I shall be picking up again and again. It is one of the best books I have read in 2018 and I am so glad that I finally picked it up. Now that I have read it, I cannot simply imagine myself living without having read this book.
Plot wise, I love the format that the author has taken up, separating the entire story into small chapters so that it is easier for the reader. The actual plot, is in itself a heartbreaking one- loss is always a loss, and like a particular someone said, “Sometimes things feel true to us, even if they’re not.” This is the first Niven book I have read and I am absolutely in love with her execution- the deliberate care with which she has birthed Finch, Violet, Amanda, Charlie and so on. It is a bittersweet tale of love, loss, friendship, family, mental health and our inner demons.
The character of Violet undergoes a beautiful journey- we see her develop from a bad place to a good one. On the other hand, it is the exact opposite for Finch. He spirals from bad to good to worse. It is tragic and yet so true. The portrayal of the characters and their feelings, whether peaceful or not, is apt and really touches one’s chords.
The allusions made in this book are also wonderful- especially those related to the famous novels and literary works. I found a really good list on Shmoop and shall link it in here: https://www.shmoop.com/all-the-bright-places/allusions.html
The theme of mental health was the centre hogging one and just as well- fiction is the medium through which we are no spreading the awareness, and opposing the age-old taboo about mental illnesses and depression and suicide.
Verdict:
I loved this book and rate it a 5 star! I definitely recommend all to read it.

Super Women, 2016, Super Couples, 2017, and Super Siblings, 2018, Prachi Garg.

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Publishers: Srishti Publishers & Distributors
Genre: Non-fiction
Format: Paperback
 
Synopsis for Super Women:
This book brings forth the stories of twenty women entrepreneurs who have struck a perfect personal-professional harmony, and a chord with their immediate consumers. Their innovative ventures encompass a varied range of services – from supporting victims of acid attacks, to providing free skin care solutions; from online retail of lingerie, handmade bags and fashion accessories, to eco-friendly products of everyday utility; from pet care products, to quirky merchandise; from empowering folk artists, to providing clinical assistance to those going through tough times; from image consulting to house hunting; from arty solutions, to innovative marketing and corporate communication; from creating happy readers to making religious ceremonies simpler – these entrepreneurs have opened avenues formerly unexplored. Superwomen is an interesting journey of how they played all their roles to perfection, aligning their families with their ambitions, showing the world their true mettle
Synopsis for Super Couples:
In an era booming with the ‘Startup’ trend and loving this new attitude of breaking boundaries and   conventions of a career, one also faces the challenge of being able to partner up with the right people. In lieu of reliable and trustworthy partners, real life couples in relationships have started exploring   the idea of partnering up in business too! Speaking to various couple-preneurs, one realizes that the myth about mixing work and home is just as misty as the one about needing a stable and conventional job for an ambitious career. These dynamic startups break stereotypes and cover a varied range of services: ecommerce, innovative gifts, eco-friendly products, health care solutions, social responsibility ventures, event management, digital solutions and many others. SuperCouples brings out such lovely stories of enterprising couples. After all, when great minds come together to produce something built on conjoined dreams, the result is eminently successful.
Synopsis for Super Siblings:
In a world where relationships make or break the deal for a lifetime, it is imperative to be able to have equations that are reliable, compatible and accessible. Luckily enough, sometimes it doesn’t take too much effort to find the right set of people, perhaps because nature has its own way of providing them. From childhood to adulthood, siblings share their environment, principles and interests and are naturally quite compatible. Gone are the days when siblings only gave the best ‘what car to buy’ advice or approved the guy you were dating. Today, brothers and sisters are travelling together, taking up hobbies together and to add to the latest trend, building enterprises together. Varying from tech start-ups to trendy fashion wear, from utility applications to artsy expressions, siblings seem to be partnering up with each other to break away from conventional career choices. SuperSiblings encapsulates the journeys of twenty siblings who have broken away from conventions and supported each other to start-up their dream ventures.
 
My review:
I really loved this series. Prachi Garg has done a great job with all three. Keeping this short and simple, I’ll state the things I really liked:

  1. All the different accounts were written like different short stories. And the brevity was always maintained.
  2. The author has been able to make each story very entertaining without the use of such statistics and numbers.
  3. As such, all three proved to be quick reads, which can be finished in one sitting.
  4. The most important thing, perhaps, is the fact that all of these were so very inspiring and motivating.
  5. Adding a face to each story was a good move- it made the accounts all the more personal and easy to relate to.
  6. Apart from all these, the paper quality was also really good and emitted a very nice smell. As a reader, I’m sure most of my followers will love that.
  7. The fact that these copies came signed was a great deal in itself.
  8. These are some books that I shall definitely be going back to every now and then when I feel the need to look for some motivation.
  9. The covers are also quite catchy although some more work can definitely be done on them.
  10. The themes are quite varied the most striking of which I think were those of perseverance and hard work. Apart from that, there was also love, friendship, trust and also teamwork.

Verdict:
These were really good books and I rate all of them 4 stars each!

Yoddha: The Dynasty of Samudragupta, Rajat Pillai, 2018

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Publishers: Jaico Publishing House
Genre: Mythological fiction
Synopsis:
AD 379. The Gupta dynasty is stepping into its golden age.
But the past holds many dark secrets… After long and bloody wars, Samrat Samudragupta sits on the pinnacle of an empire. Yet, close to his throne are hearts filled with revenge, scheming to bring him down.
Into this gathering storm arrives Chandragupta, the king’s long-lost son. As he settles into his new life devastating family secrets surface, old wounds are reopened and Chandra can no longer trust anyone – least of all those closest to him. Bizarre and sinister incidents abound as palace conspiracies unravel plunging Rajgriha into a pit of chaos.
Will the son pay for the sins of his father?
Yoddha: The Dynasty of Samudragupta unfolds the murky loves and lies of one of the most illustrious clans in history.

My review:
I’d like to begin by stating how very thankful I am to the author for giving me a copy of this book, albeit a review one. Nonetheless, my review is hundred percent genuine and comes straight from my own self.
The plot has been fictionalized (as expected in a fiction novel inspired by real life personages), but the words and the tune they weave ring almost true in the readers’ hearts. The author has been able to beautifully capture the essence of the time period, revolving around the ‘loves and lies of one of the most illustrious clans in history’. The plot has been well paced and I was fairly enjoying it all the while. The twists and turns that the author added were also placed well within the themes as we see in the ceremonies.
The themes of love, friendship, bravery etc., have been shown vividly in the book. Moreover, the action sequences were well written. Overall the editing has been very well done; I could not find any grammatical mistakes. The characters were also complicated and human and thus more believable. It was a good read, overall.
My verdict:
I loved this book and shall definitely recommend it to wherever I go. Rate this a 4/5 stars.

Safran, Aishwarya Nir, 2018

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Publishers: Virgin Leaf Books
Genre: Poetry
Synopsis:
I had a dream
where god asked,
If you were to leave suddenly
what would your legacy be?
It is then Safran was born out of me
To remind you as you read;
To live
To love
And to imagine
The words in it are less,
for they’ve been difficult to confess.
And have taken a lot of time
to come to my awareness.
A fistful of precious threads,
A collection of experiences
So ,here it is,
I hope you’ll make space for this.
 
My Review:
Safran is another poetry book that has taken me by surprise. Separated into three specific sections- Live, Love, and Imagine, the author begins to spin a beautiful trap with her musical words. There in vivid imagery in her work and it has the ability to truly enrapture the reader. Provided with an introductory poem to each section, Safran has poems covering many issues and themes which are relevant to the current times and also to the reader, be it a he or a she; tones of freedom, love, friendship, feminism, self-growth etc. shed light on the genre of philosophy as well.
The individual poems have a tilting musical tone to them, even though they are written in almost the current trend of blank verse without rhyme, which can be said to have been made famous by Rupi Kaur. There is a softness yet an underlying strength to her words and it flashes throughout the entire collection. Safran is a book which I have truly enjoyed on a personal level as well. However, keeping that aside, I would like to point out the old-world quality of the poems, almost as if the author has reflected the classics of yore themselves.
 
Verdict:
I have been left speechless by the utter beauty of the work and as I thirstily wait for more of the author’s work, I rate this current one, a 5/5 stars, for indulging me while shaking me to my core, and fulfilling me.

Till the end of forever, Vivaksh Singh, 2018

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Publishers: Srishti Publishers & Distributors
Synopsis:
The past is always mysterious. It neither leaves completely, nor stays fully. Who would know it better than Ayaan. He was its victim. And so was Avani. When these two crumbled souls met, they realized in their togetherness that only a broken piece can complete another. Together, they start fighting the pain of their past, feeling the bliss of the present and appreciating their lives.
But just when they thought things were perfect, life played its cards.
Ayaan, who was trying to put life’s pieces together, broke down when he was held responsible for a closed one’s murder.
And Avani… well, her life was going to take such sharp turns that she would crave for death.
Alas, this was just the beginning of what destiny had planned for them!
Will Avani wait for the scars to heal or will she fight with her bruised soul? Why does the truth keep going deeper as she chases it?
Deeply sensitive and brutally thrilling, Till The End Of Forever is a romantic thriller that takes a dig in the dark sides of god, nature of human pain, power of selfless care, and proves how true love can make you live till the end of forever.
My Review:
Till the End of Forever was a read that I was very excited about. However, I have to say that it was too hyped.
It begins with a vacation when two girls- Luvleen and Avani plan to spend it with Luvleen’s family. We are also introduced to Livleen, who is Luvleen’s brother and also a friend of Ayaan, our male protagonist. Avani and Ayaan connect over the mutual feeling of pain and loss, finding friendship and solace in each other. Both of them have had various painful experiences in their past and it had greatly affected the way they were.
Ayaan as a character was quite likable in the beginning when he gives his speeches which are quite interesting, I have to admit. But later on, his whole aura seems to degenerate. The ending is left very unclear. Avani, on the other hand, seems like a very impulsive and irresponsible person- she decides to go to Venice with a person she has just literally met and then, later on, does not say anything even when she believes that her partner is a potential rapist. These sorts of shifts seem very sudden and unexpected.
One thing I did not like was how unspecific the writer was with the dialogues. I understand that the element of mystery was tried to be brought in through here, but it only results in confusion. I feel that the continuous change in the points-of-view was not only very sudden but also unexpected and unheralded and as a result greatly decreased the quality of the story.
The entire plotline, the first half specifically, was very rushed, I feel like, without giving any definite conclusions to the scenes. The editing and proofreading in this regard could have been done in a much better manner. There were also several grammatical mistakes and other inaccuracies that just didn’t add up.
My verdict:
With more proofreading and editing this could have been a good read, however, seeing how it is, I rate it a 2/5 stars.

Wedding Pickle, Neha Sharma, 2017

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Publisher: Grapevine India
So recently, I got this book from the author. Wedding Pickle has been pretty hyped and I was worried that the actual read may not be worth it. And so, I picked it up a bit apprehensively. However, the author has very beautifully weaved the tales of the typical Indian way of life. At the center, it is a story of emotional and mental growth and development as the protagonist learns to let go of her fears- mostly commitment issues, and grow to be her own happy and self-satisfied person.
The writing is very beautiful- the author has creatively mixed both the dialogue as well as descriptive forms in equal measure. It was a perfect blend. The third person limited narrative is used here and I do think that it has done justice to the story- preserving the necessary suspense as well as romance, wherever needed.
The plot is actually covering a very limited amount of time, despite what the size of the book may tell us. Nevertheless, it is an enjoyable read, never dragging or boring the readers, instead, it made me laugh out loud so many times, that my mom decided to give it a read as well after I finished. She is currently still reading it, about a half-way in, and so far she says it’s beautiful and nostalgic for her. I feel that this book is both, a character-driven as well as a plot-driven story as the ultimate goal is marriage. The story as a whole progressed very gradually and made it relatable for most of us, I’m sure.
As for the characters, Neha Sharma has taken the typical qualities and conjured up multiple characters who are so very relatable. In Avni, our protagonist, we see an independent and happy girl trying to safely navigate around her family as they try to get her married. Along with her troop of friends Roshni, Kitty and Ria, I was reminded of my own intimate girl gang and as such this proved relevant on a personal level as well. The parents and aunts are all the aunts and parents we meet every day- be they our neighbours or cousins even. In Ansh, I also found a very understandable and mature young man, successful and determined in his own rights.
Lastly, I would like to point out the cover- it is simple and yet it portrays the whole concept beautifully. Being wedded is truly a pickle-like situation! It’s funny at the same time while also giving to us a chance for introspection about the different roles women play in our lives.
In all, I really enjoyed this book and rate it a solid 5/5 stars. I would also definitely recommend it to everyone I know, who loves a bit of comedy, chick-lit, familial relations/drama, and romance. Wedding Pickle is a mélange of all those genres and more!

An Interview with Mr. Saravana Kumar Murugan (author of the bestselling Coffe Date) on his new heartwarming book- Letters to my Son

Before I begin, I have to state how very lucky I was to have got this amazing opportunity to interact with this author, and how grateful I am to him for having given me a copy of Letters to my Son for review. During our entire interaction, (and not just for the interview), Mr. Murugan has been a very delightful person to talk to and share various tit-bits of information. So, without further ado, here goes our interview session, carried out over the internet.
An Interview with Mr. Saravana Kumar Murugan, author of the bestselling Coffee Date and Letters to my Son. (17 May 2018)
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  1. Where did the inspiration for Letters to my Son come from?

[Sarav]: First of all, a heartfelt thanks to you, Nayanika. It’s a pleasure to be interviewed by you. ‘Letters to My Son’ is all about love. The inspiration comes from my dreams. I am a big dreamer. I am also a good listener. I listen to conversations and I take inspiration from them. So, dreams, people and places I visit inspire me to write. And inspirations alone do not help; my biggest support system is my wife and mother. They shower unlimited love and support me to write better.
(Here’s my review of the book: Letters to my Son, Saravana Kumar Murugan, 2018)

  1. How long did it take you to write it?

[Sarav]: Don’t be surprised if I say I wrote Letters to My Son in a week and Coffee Date in eleven nights and 1 Saturday and 1 Sunday. I write at a decent speed. Last year I wrote 10,000 words in 24 hours during the NaNoWriMo month- my best till date.

  1. Did you always imagine you’d be a writer? Has it been a lifelong dream or something that just happened?

[Sarav]: To be honest, I started writing during my teenage. I started penning down poems and later wrote short stories and books. Writing is a passion and getting a book published is a dream. I am glad I am able to accomplish my dreams and follow my passion.

  1. What’s your favorite book and character? Has it, in any way affected your life or even you, as a person- your outlook and perspective etc.?

[Sarav]: On any given day, I can read “The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks”. Such is the love for the book. Of course, my favorites characters are Noah from The Notebook, Jason Bourne from Bourne Trilogy, and Harry Potter & Hermione Granger from the Harry Potter series.
No- I’m what I am.

  1. Of course, the most obvious question- any advice for young upcoming writers- from the writing itself to publishing?

[Sarav]: Write, read and rewrite, because only practice can make you perfect. When you write, do listen to your heart, as it will help you write heart-touching stories instead of mere bestsellers.

  1. Can you please give us a short summary of other books of yours (for those of us who have loved your writing and are hungry for more)?

[Sarav]: That’s a nice question. Usually, people ask about future works blindly even if the author is not a debutant author. I do not think if I can be able to provide a summary of all books, but I love the list of the ones I am associated with.
Coffee Date: The Real Taste of Love – a romantic dosage of love.
Sixteen and Half: an exotic collection of short stories on various genres.
Love and Honey: a tiny collection of poems on lost love and painful tears.
The Writer’s Dream: From Draft to Bestseller – a self-help book.
Shade of Life book series (Editor): Anthology series of short stories and poems.
Contributing author of several anthologies including “Uff Ye Emotions 2”, “Timeless Love”, “A Little Chorus of Love”, among others.
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  1. Any future upcoming books we should keep a lookout for?

[Sarav]: Of course! Not just one… you can expect three books (Coffee Reads) in the month of May and June. I am supposed to complete the book “Are You Game” on a controversial topic by the end of April. However, due to professional commitments, I was not able to complete the book. I am working on it and I am hoping to get it published soon. It’s of the genre “Social Cause” and “Romance”. The other books I am working falls under the genre Self Help titled The Writer’s Dream: The Lifeline. (Book 2 of Writing Series) and the other is of genre “Romance” titled “Yet Another Love Story”. 
 
About the Author
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Saravana Kumar Murugan goes with the pen name Someone is Special and Sarav. He is the author of the bestselling romantic novel, Coffee Date: The Real Taste of Love and the heart-warming book on father’s love, Letters to My Son. He has also written an exotic collection of short stories, Sixteen and Half, a tiny collection of poems on lost love and painful tears, Love and Honey, and a self-help book, The Writer’s Dream: From Draft to Bestseller. He is also the editor of Shades of Life series and a contributing author of several anthologies including “Uff Ye Emotions 2”, “Timeless Love”, “A Little Chorus of Love”, among others. He writes under a pen name “Someone is Special” at “Few Miles– shortlisted as one of the Top 12 Creative Blogs of India in 2014”, and the winner of more than 25 creative writing contests.
Born and raised in Chennai, Sarav lives in Bangalore, where does project management for an MNC. In nine years of IT life, he worked at a customer site in London, UK for a year and at a customer site in Hamburg, Germany for three years. Currently, he is performing the role of Windows 10 Deployment Project Manager for a farming customer.
Contact the Author

  • Social Media Platforms @IAMSARAVOFFICIAL (Facebook, Instagram, Goodreads)
  • Write to him at SARAV@IAMSARAV.COM
  • Website: https://iamsarav.com
  • Blog: https://blog.iamsarav.com

 
 

April Book Haul, 2018

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April was a month when I was pretty broke, and that’s why I got only two books for myself. These are both books that I’ve had my eye on for quite some time, and I was ecstatic when I ordered them!
Firstly, I’ve got An Enchantment of Roses by Margaret Rogerson, which I loved and rated a 4 out of 5 stars. It’s a book set in the Fae realms and fantasy as such is a personal favourite of mine. Readers of S.J.Maas, such as yours truly, would definitely love this book. See the review I wrote for this book here! An Enchantment of Ravens, Margaret Rogerson, 2017
Next, I got Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyami, which also belongs to the fantasy genre and is a bestseller too. I have come across raving reviews for this book and that was what made me but it. However, I have not yet read it; it’s placed in my June TBR. I’ll definitely be writing a review for it as well, and so, keep an eye out for that!
# qotd: how many and what books did you haul for April?
 

First Impressions: About judging a book by its cover

 
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We should never judge a book by its cover- that’s a proverb we’ve heard so many times now that I bet, whenever we judge somebody by their outward appearance, the inner voice always quips with these words. It’s inevitable. No matter how much we tell ourselves that it is bad, we fall back to our own habits- and who better to be put forward as examples but us- the incorrigible bookworms and bibliophiles!
One of my favorite books is Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell. I have the edition, by Maple Press. Now, it’s not the most beautiful book cover in the world, despite the fact that I am personally biased with Rhett holding Scarlett close, and her wearing that magnificent red gown. It’s something I love, but it is not the prettiest cover in the world. And I have accepted that. However, there is a story I need to tell when it comes to this. I was left devastated after I finished reading this masterpiece and was looking for a suitable book to read next, preferably a sequel or a prequel. But as time passed on, I got over this heartbreak (I was a mere year 6 student after all, not even in high-school!), and forget all about this search. Then one day, I was at the annual book fair in my city and as soon as I enter this shop, my eyes (and I was not wearing my glasses mind you, without which I am practically blind) zoom in to this book, laid down about 5 feet away from me and around 6 feet off the ground in its shelf, its beautiful spine left to the viewer’s eyes. There was an instant connection. I ask the shopkeeper to bring down that book and lo and behold! It’s Scarlett- the sequel to Gone With the Wind! Of course I got the book and I still reread it every now and then.
What I want to share with you all through this post of mine is that indescribable and irrational bling that glazes out eyes as soon as they fall on a book with a beautiful cover. I have long left behind the guilt I might feel whenever I buy a book just for the sake of the attractive cover. What can I say, I fall hard for pretty ones! And I mean, who doesn’t? It’s a different thing entirely that some people do not act on it while other, like me, do.
The reason I am writing this, is because I recently read this non-fiction book called The Covering of Books by award-winner Jhumpa Lahiri. It describes how close and how important the whole process of making a suitable cover is, for the author. It’s their baby after all. This book made me think about how important it is for the cover to be able to convey the meaning the author wants to, to the audience. And in the process, if it turns out to be a bestseller just because of the looks alone, well..
I suppose this was just a random scribble. I am working on the review for the book and I’ll definitely be posting it soon. Meanwhile, I’m going to wish you luck- in completing that TBR pile, collecting enough money to order that book set you’ve wanted to for a while and so on! Happy reading and happy buying!
 
Disclaimer: The picture in the featured pane DOES NOT belong to me. I got it off the Internet.

Sita: Warrior of Mithila, Amish Tripathi, 2017


I loved Scion of Ikshvaku so much that immediately after finishing it, I picked up Sita. It was a good enough read, but I do prefer the first book over this. I gave this book a 4/5 stars.
This book, like most of you already know, covers Sita’s journey and it converges with Book 1 at the swayamvar for which Ram is deceptively brought to Mithila by the cunning Vishwamitra. This book also clears a few doubts we may have had regarding the mysterious characters we were introduced to in the previous one.
Sita is an indomitable character and a round one at that. Her raging temper is something that is perhaps never seen in young princesses, or girls belonging to the nobility, whether adopted or biological. This fact in itself lends a certain originality to her character; she is more real than any prim and proper princess- she has a fighting spirit. She is beautiful and brave and the Prime Minister of Mithila! She is intelligent, pragmatic and tactful, and we see how wonderfully she complements Ram. (Fun fact: Sita is older than Ram by 5 years in this book. It must be noted that I have no idea whether it is so, in the epic itself, or not).
There are other characters as well like Samichi who is Sita’s right-hand woman and also the Police and Protocol Chief. She is a strong character in herself- a formidable one at that and that fact that she was from the slums meant everybody respected the hard work she had put in to reach the high post she was in. We also see Queen Sunaina, Sita’s adopted mother and King Janak’s wife. She too is a bold and kind character and it is from her that Sita inherited her burning fighting spirit.
However, the fact that stopped me from giving it a solid 5/5 stars, unlike its predecessor was that it simply felt repetitive in so many parts. I know that it is inevitable since the events in the book are taking place simultaneously with that of Book 1. However, it was a thing I did not like. The story was good overall, the characters enthralling and the plot ensnaring, however structure that the author adopted to write this story is not something I am a fan of.
I am looking forward to the third book in the series i.e. Ravan, which will converge with the other two, mainly with Sita’s kidnapping, apart from possibly the battle at Karachapa, and Sita’s swayamvar.

Scion of Ikshvaku, Amish Tripathi, 2015

So recently, I completed reading this book and I give it a solid 5/5 stars.

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Processed with VSCO with m5 preset

It was so very realistic and corroborated by many believable facts, that at times I forgot that it was just a fiction. This is my first Amish Tripathi book and I must say that I have been enamoured by his style of writing. The narrative is compelling and just simply forces you to look deep into the recesses of your mind and soul. The attention he has given to detail is perfect and in the words of First City, ‘…one must congratulate Amish on reintroducing Hindu mythology to the youth of this country’.
The plot is exquisite and the characters are round and real in all aspects. I have never really liked Ram but despite that, I loved his character in this book. It is true that his law-abiding nature was perhaps his hamartia; although not quite, since he does go to heaven in the end, I suppose. This is a very close retelling of the Ramayana, fictionalized no doubt, but all the very more interesting for it.
It has given me a fresh perspective of the instances that might have been, apart from all the stories we have been told by our parents/grandparents. The women in this book are shown as very intelligent and self-dependent ones, which I see has become a trend in modern day retellings and all for the better I feel. Nonetheless, Sita being shown as the Prime Minister of her kingdom is quite an empowering fact in itself. She is not quite the damsel-in-distress we have often thought her to be. The bonding between the brothers is also beautifully shown with the occasional expected silly talks and jokes.
We also see the hatred that can arise in a person because of particular instances that may have happened in his past/childhood. For example, we have Ram who is blamed because he was born on the very day his father lost the battle (his first ever loss) at Karachapa to Ravan, the king of Lanka and also a very good trader.
The politics, I feel, is the most attractive feature in this book, apart from the Ram-Sita scenes, of course. Vishwamitra and Vashishtha are no doubt master players in this whole situation and the introduction of the Vayuputras and Malayaputras just adds more spice to the stew. I have not read the Shiva trilogy before this like I have already stated in the beginning, and as such, it was a bit difficult for me to catch hold of the histories and agendas of these two sections. For this matter though, I would definitely suggest reading that trilogy before reading the Ram Chandra series since that series comes chronologically before this one as well as being the first in publication orders as well.
If you want to gain a fresh new perspective on the Ramayana then I would definitely recommend you to read this amazing work and you will be delighted to know that the sequel follows Sita and also converges with this book towards the end. I have personally started reading the sequel and I’m loving it. Definitely, a must-read if you would like a new point of view for this great epic, keeping in mind that this is not the actual story but simply a fictionalized retelling to which the author has added a few of his own twists and turns.

Resolutions //2018//

This is the year I will be stronger, braver, kinder and unstoppable. This year I will be fierce!

 
This quote pretty much encapsulates all of my resolutions for the upcoming year. Honestly, I am seriously going to try to be the best version of myself and just push myself as hard as I can.
In the academics field, I will obviously try my very best. Frankly, my aim is to be the best that I have been before, and this is the conviction that will push me further. I am competing with myself- I have to be better than I have been. I will also strive to complete my assignments at all times, and study every day!
In the fitness sphere, I obviously need to work harder, build up my stamina and see my running streak. I also intend to go to the gym regularly, except on Sundays and when I’m in the middle of exams. I also intend to eat healthier and reduce my fast food intake.
When it comes to books, I think I will set my reading challenge goal at 40 again, just like 2017, because 2018 is going to be a busy year, with two back-to-back semesters, that will surely suck all of my time, as I will prioritize my academic reads over any sort of recreational reads.
As for the miscellaneous section, I intend to be quite fashion-oriented and be presentable at all times in public. I also intend to work on the strained familial relations I am having at the moment. Also, I will strive to keep my room clean at all times, which is a prerogative!
So, I think that is all! It seems like my resolutions are quite many, but they are so basic, I feel. Anyway, I wish all of my readers a happy and successful new year, and may 2018 be the best year ever for you! God bless!

The Year That Was //2017//

Hey everyone!

I know it’s been a long time since I last posted. A lot of things have changed. I just finished my first semester finals. The results have not been declared yet, but I’m sure that I haven’t failed in any subject, so I’m a second-semester student now. Well, pretty much. Classes start from the second of January, 2018.

I honestly feel that this year has passed so fast! It was only a few months back that I sat for my 12 finals, and now, here I am. This year, a lot of changes have occurred- I’m a high school graduate, and now I’m a first-year University student. I’ve lost contact with a lot of classmates; it was inevitable, after all, and yet I have retained some of the friendships I made in the two years I spent in the higher secondary school where I studied my junior and senior years.

My best friend and I are back together in University now, and I couldn’t be happier in that regard. Our homerooms are even on the same floor in the same building. As for myself, I might have already stated that I’m an English major. My education has been going on perfectly, and I’m very happy studying for school. It never seems like a burden, and I think it is definitely because I have always loved English literature. And didn’t someone already say, do what you love?

My finals lasted for almost a month, in December, and I was very ecstatic when it ended on the 21st. these days, I’ve been trying to replenish myself with good food, exercise and sleep, so that I’m all swanky new and energized for the new semester.

I’ve read a total of 47 books in 2017, and I’m almost finished with the 48th. Successful reading year, definitely!

My personal relations with my father had been very strained in the beginning of the year, and I’m glad to say that it is so much better now. Some familial relations are still strained and well, some people you just can’t change. I have also let go of a lot of toxic people from my life. I’ve lost a lover and gained another. And it will be, perhaps, the greatest regret of my life- losing him. But I consider myself very lucky to have moved on with a different guy, who genuinely loves me. My relations with my professors are in a really great shape, and I’m proud to admit that they love me. My new friends are kind to me and very understanding. I like them.

Healthwise, I have been in perfect shape. My MMA classes have also helped a lot. I’m so much stronger and fitter than ever before. I can run for longer, work hard physically for longer. And it has also worked wonders for my mental willpower and determination.

So that’s it. My reflection of 2017, the year that was. I’m hoping for a lot of things in 2018, but that is for another post entirely.

With lots of love,

Suze.