Tag Archives: poetry

Indian Authors you need to read ASAP!

On the occasion of Independence Day, I am sharing a few literary fictions, non-fiction, poetry and other works by Indian authors that YOU NEED TO READ ASAP!

(This blog post may contain affiliate links, meaning I get a commission if you decide to make a purchase through my links, at NO EXTRA COST to you)

(This blog posts also contain a few review copies that were sent to me by publishers. However, all opinions expressed are my own and in no way influenced by external parties)

Indian Authors You Need to Read ASAP! 1
Indian Authors You Need to Read ASAP!

According to Wikipedia, Indian English literature (IEL), also referred to as Indian Writing in English (IWE), is the body of work by writers in India who write in the English language and whose native or co-native language could be one of the numerous languages of India.

While I believe in the importance of reading works in your own mother tongue, I cannot overlook the vast and wonderful oeuvre of IEL that the children of the Motherland have birthed. So in today’s post on the momentous occasion of the 74th Indian Independence Day, I am going to share with you all 10 books by Indian authors, that are either recommendations based on my reading experiences or books that are in my immediate TBR piles!

Indian Authors You Need to Read ASAP! 2
Indian Authors You Need to Read ASAP!

BOOKS BY ASSAMESE AUTHORS!

I am an Assamese so can you blame me for including this whole category? Haha! But seriously, these are two books I have included in my immediate TBR and I am super stoked. Do share your thoughts if you have read these and I would love to share them on my Instagram!

UNDERTOW by Jahnavi Barua

Undertow by Jahnavi Barua

Set in Bengaluru and Guwahati, UNDERTOW is a heartwarming tale of how relationships can face a myriad of changes in the face of love, opposition, and societal norms.

Click here to BUY.

THE HOUSE WITH A THOUSAND STORIES by Aruni Kashyap

The House with a Thousand Stories, by Aruni Kashyap

Set in Mayong, THE HOUSE WITH A THOUSAND STORIES is a “bleeding and triumphant” tale surrounding a fateful wedding where secrets are unearthed, and bloody acts of violence almost lay a people to ruin.

Click here to BUY.

LITERARY FICTION

AN ATLAS OF IMPOSSIBLE LONGING by Anuradha Roy

An Atlas of Impossible Longing by Anuradha Roy

A book that has remained a personal favourite ever since the first time I read it, AN ATLAS OF IMPOSSIBLE LONGING is a hauntingly beautiful story of love and real estate, in a house set on the verge of decay on the banks of a once-mighty river. Check out my review here.

Click here to BUY.

THE GOD OF SMALL THINGS by Arundhati Roy

The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy

A quintessential reading when it comes to IEL, THE GOD OF SMALL THINGS is a household name today. If you still have not heard about it (and even if you have) it is time to pick up this book and maybe join me in a buddy-read if you can!

Click here to BUY.

FANTASY

PATH OF THE SWAN: THE MAITREYA CHRONICLES part 1 by Charu Singh
PATH OF THE SWAN: THE MAITREYA CHRONICLES 1 by Charu Singh

Two words: Buddhist Fantasy! I am super proud to say that PATH OF THE SWAN is a book by my professor and the copy I own is a personalized signed one! I am really looking forward to reading it and since I also have the sequel, I have no worries of being left high and dry on a cliffhanger!

Click here to BUY.

UPON A BURNING THRONE by Ashok K Banker
UPON A BURNING THRONE by Ashok K Banker

Another fantasy that is inspired by the epic Mahabharata, UPON A BURNING THRONE, takes a unique perspective on this classic tale we have all grown up with. Suffice it to say, it was an adult fantasy that I loved reading! Check out my review here.

Click here to BUY.

(Thanks to Simon&Schuster for proving me the review copy)

POETRY

CIRCUS FOLK AND VILLAGE FREAKS by Aparna Upadhyaya Sanyal
CIRCUS FOLK AND VILLAGE FREAKS by Aparna Upadhyaya Sanyal

CIRCUS FOLK AND VILLAGE FREAKS is a truly unique collection of poetry that I read and enjoyed a lot. I loved how quirky it was with an amazing rhyming and poetic skill by the poet. Check out my review here.

Click here to BUY.

(Thanks to the poet for providing me with a review copy)

SAFRAN by Aishwarya Nir
Safran by Aishwarya Nir

Another poetry collection which was a wonderful union of love as well as spiritual poetry. I am so proud that it is a personalized signed copy as well! Check out my review here.

Click here to BUY.

(Thanks to the poet for providing me with a review copy)

NON FICTION

CITY OF MY HEART by Rana Safvi
CITY OF MY HEART by Rana Safvi

CITY OF MY HEART was a beautiful translated work of Urdu narrative, which surrounds the famous Revolt of 1857, as well as the decay of the once-mighty Mughal Empire. It is a beautiful book and I loved the vivid imagery! It felt like I was in ‘Dilli’ and I couldn’t bear to leave! Check out my review here.

Click here to BUY.

(Thanks to Hachette for proving me the review copy)

SEX AND POWER by Rita Banerji
SEX AND POWER by Rita Banerji

SEX AND POWER is a definitive look at the powerful relation between sex and power (pun intended)! The author explores the idea of sexual morality, social perceptions of sex, and also modifies Nietzsche’s slave versus master morality theory! Another book on my TBR!

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And that’s it, my wonderful readers! I had a lot of fun compiling this list. I hope YOU have great fun (hah!) reading these books! Do share any books you think should have been included in this list! There is a huge gap and selecting only 10 books from across the breadth and length of India may not have been a just act by me. Nonetheless, as time goes on, you and I will enrich each other and keep on adding more books to our TBR piles!

If you want to see more such book-related content make sure to follow me on my Book Instagram page, and Youtube Channel!

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The Midnight Scrawls: A Review

The Midnight Scrawls
The Midnight Scrawls

The Midnight Scrawls was an okay poetry book.

More than that, it was a visual treat. The book is very much like an album and I loved the various shots that accompanied the poetic pieces. they were all in black and white and I think that that really enhanced and helped make the poems more impactful.

Check it out on Goodreads and Amazon!

As for the topics, the pieces cover a wide range such as innocent love, family, self-discovery, depression, and mental health, gratitude, war, religion, etc. There were also other snippets of works apart from the poems, such as letters and simple writeups, etc.

However, I do think that the execution could have been better. For instance, rounds of editing would have really cleared all the errors and made the reading experience much smoother. I also felt that certain pieces were a bit repetitive but overall, it was okay. Definitely could have been a bit better though.

I do look forward to seeing what more works the author comes up with. As for The Midnight Scrawls, I rate it 3/5 stars.

Glorious Shadows, by Krishna Sawant: A Review

Glorious Shadows
Glorious Shadows

Glorious Shadows is a collection of poems by Krishna Sawant which touched a wide variety of topics ranging from self-love to hope, with tones ranging from realistic to tragic as well.

While blank verse has become very common nowadays and you can find a poet around every corner, I do believe that Sawant has the special something in her writing. I felt her poems through me and although I cannot say I have personally experienced each and everything here, the emotions were portrayed in such a way that I could relate and empathize. Therein lies the quality of a poet, I feel and hence, I can truly say that Sawant has done a great job.

Check it out on Goodreads and Amazon!

There are also tiny illustrations at the bottom of every pg and the titles of the poems are added at the bottom as well, a style which is becoming more and more popular everyday.

There are various pieces that I personally loved and adored and I shall mention a few here:

  • Stop Selling My Soul
  • I Destroyed Myself
  • Sigh
  • Disguise
  • Nicotine
  • Silent Spectator
  • Atelophobia
  • Curdled Love
  • Maya
  • Rigid
  • Waxing and Waning
  • Writing of a Suicide Note
  • Flatlined
  • I

I rated this collection 4/5 stars.

Classic poetry: Live Oak, With Moss

This classic poetry collection is an intensely private reflection on Walt Whitman’s attraction to and affection for other men. 

Live Oak, with Moss
The classic poetry collection is an intensely private reflection on Walt Whitman’s attraction to and affection for other men.

One of the most beautiful books that I have ever owned, Live Oak, With Moss, is simply filled to the brim with the poet’s haunting love for the beloved. Whitman’s longing just soaks the page and flows to your heart. The way the poet has combined nature with these poems is stunning. It made these so much more potent, real and raw. Apart from this burgeoning sense of longing, these subtly erotic poems are filled with the hope for a distant time and place when there will be a wholesome space for all these men to gather and simply be themselves.

I am reading Song of Myself from Leaves of Grass, for a class this semester. So, reading Live Oak, With Moss was illuminating in a way I never thought possible. I was overwhelmed by the words and the emotions they swelled up in me.

Live Oak, With Moss, is without a doubt, one of the best collections I have ever read and felt.  

Links to Goodreads, and Amazon

Check out my review for Lord of the Butterflies

Greek Mythology: A Retelling

A Wonder Book for Girls and Boys is a retelling of 6 popular stories from Greek mythology. The author lends his humourous spirit to this collection!

Photo of A Wonder Book for Girls and Boys
A Wonder Book for Girls and Boys

Greek Mythology: Stunning art pieces

First off, I want to just spend a moment to rest my eyes on the stunning cover! I love the yellows and the browns and it is just so aesthetic! The warm tones provide the perfect spot of colour in this dismal weather.

A Wonder Books for Girls and Boys

A Wonder Book for Girls and Boys is basically a retelling of 6 popular Greek stories – The Gorgon’s Head, The Golden Touch, The Paradise of Children, The Three Golden Apples, The Miraculous Pitcher and The Chimaera. Most of us have already heard of Medusa and Midas in some morality play or moral stories, in one way or the other. This, Hawthorne’s method, too, proved to be a hearty experience.

Writing style

The stories are written in the story-within-a-story format and in this way, the author has involved a brilliant framing device. ‘Cousin Eustace’ a bright lad of 18, is telling these stories to his younger cousins, adding his own flavours to the curry, so to speak. Hawthorne’s blend of humour abounds this collection.

Add it on Goodreads!

Greek Mythology versus this retelling

The stories are not truly ‘faithful’ to the actual Greek legends, but instead, Hawthorne has added his own spirit and essence to these. He has rewritten these stories in a gothic or a romantic style. Although essentially the same, there are many funny instances that will make you laugh out loud at times. Each of these stories provides an exceptional experience to the reader and makes for one hell of a time!

Get it on Amazon!

Verdict:

Although there are also morals clearly thrust forward, it is not overbearingly so. Thus, it proved to be an interesting read and not preachy at all! I rate this book 4/5 stars and recommend it to you all. It is quite short and you can read it in an hour. You could also read it out to your children or siblings and I am sure that they will love them as well.

Recommendations on Indian Mythology:

  1. Narasimha
  2. Upon a Burning Throne I
  3. Upon a Burning Throne II
  4. Ashwatthama’s Redemption

Poetry that rocks! Swallowtail and Atticus!

The Dark Between Stars, Swallowtail

Hey guys! So today I have two poetry recommendations for you. I read both poetry collections recently and I adored them for their raw individuality.

Swallowtail by Brenna Twohy

Swallowtail: A deep dive into the dissection of popular culture, and how the brightness and horrors of it can be mirrors into the daily lived experiences of women in America.

Swallowtail by Brenna Twohy was a great read. The most prominent themes include loss, grief, and coping. The words penned by the author, though burgeoning with the grief of a broken heart, are poignant and resonates with the deepest sadness in the reader. Rape culture has also been addressed here and it is stark in its imagery and leaves the reader gasping. Pop Culture References from Survivor as well as Harry Potter have also been brought in.

I absolutely loved it and rated it 4/5 stars! Including here, links to Amazon, Goodreads

Poetry by Atticus

I admit I like THE DARK BETWEEN STARS much more than I did LOVE HER WILD. This one does not only revolve around love but also delves into the deeper themes of self-love, etc. There is a certain dichotomy and duality with both the happiness and the sadness that trouble us. In this collection, the poet writes about falling in love, being in a relationship with someone, and then the aftermath of a breakup as well. He includes scenes from Paris, Jazz clubs, wines, sunsets, etc. Thus the whole collection is a sensory experience that is experienced wholeheartedly by the reader. As such, it is as if the reader is in the moment, experiencing this whole slew of emotions and the beauty lives on.

I rated this book 4/5 stars!

Recommended poetry reads:

  1. Lord of the Butterflies
  2. The Octopus Curse
  3. Walk With Wings
  4. Unlocked Silences, Ease

Uplifting Poetry: Ease by Mukhpreet Khurana

Why I picked up this poetry collection:

I had read the poet’s previous work Unlocked Silences some time ago and had quite liked his writing style. It had come out in 2018 and was widely accepted. I remember finishing it in one day, as I devoured the words one by one. I put page flags on almost every page and it is only perhaps due to the absence of flags right now that I did not do the same thing to Ease.

Ease by Mukhpreet Khurana, 2019
Ease, by Mukhpreet Khurana, 2019

Ease: A Poetic Journey Within is a poetry collection that focuses on spirituality, self-love, healing, and gratitude. This poetry collection is a collection of raw, unfiltered and simple poems.

Check out my review of Unlocked Silences

The content matter

In Unlocked Silences, the author had focused a lot on spirituality and the individual. This has continued in Ease and being of a spiritual turn myself (as much as I am able to), I related with it a lot.

Themes in this poetry collection

Ease is a collection of ‘raw, unfiltered and simple poems’, poems that will touch you each time you read them. And no wonder I got so many queries asking me which book it was after I posted snippets on my stories. Many of the poems, abstracts, and musings revolve around the themes of self-love, individuality, healing, and gratitude. In today’s fast-paced world, it provided me relief.

The individuality of this work

The poems are all thought-provoking and especially because of its non-romance centric scenario, it was a panacea to me. I loved it too and look forward to more of the author’s works. Khurana’s rhythmic and lyrical tunes and spirituality permeate through the works and render a sensory experience to the reader.

  1. Amazon
  2. Goodreads

Collaborations

There are also collaborations with other writers and the end product is magical. It is always interesting to see how the voice of an artist comes out in case of collaborations. It was also a great pleasure and surprise when I found that one of my dearest friends Tahoora has also lent her talent to this collection. She is an amazing artist and I am so happy to see her work manifested into this book!

Check out Tahoora’s Instagram account here.

Verdict:

I rate this book 4/5 stars and wholeheartedly recommend it to all those who are looking for a dose for spirituality, self-love, and gratitude through non-romance centric poetry. 

Mesmerizing poetry: The Octopus Curse

The Octopus Curse is a poetry collection by Dr. Salma Forook and I have yet to come across a more aesthetic anthology of poetry. Needless to say I loved it!

The Octopus Curse by Dr. Salma Farook is a poetry collection

The Octopus Curse by Salma Farook is a collection of powerful poems, focusing on love, heartbreak, resilience, travel, self-love, feminity and women’s issues, etc. I have read What Your Soul Already Knows by the author last year and I had found it to be the best motivational book there ever was, without sounding too preachy and such. As such, when the author approached me for her second book, of course, I had to say yes!

Click here to check out my review for What Your Soul Already Knows.

Through the vacuum.

Through the void.

Sometimes the words I write,

Fall over the heads of a heedless crowd.

But, I lay them clear,

And I ink them loud,

Because I don’t require being heard,

I only (desperately) need

To right.

-‘Catharsis’

Lyrical poetry

Like her previous book, the words in this book too continue to be just as meaningful and full of depth. I love how the execution has been made. The words are rhythmic and lyrical and thus very heart warming as well as soothing to the ears. Through these different pieces, the author has inspired the reader to confront their feelings and accept them and most importantly, to be at peace with themselves.

How stunted,

Limited,

This language is!

I have searched and searched

But, never found a word

For pain coming so surely,

That you feel it already,

Long before it

Even arrives.

-‘Visceral’

Aesthetic:

The book is a work of art and a more aesthetic poetry collection, I have yet to come across. I am so glad I got to read this book when I did because this was just the right time for me. Perhaps, if I had read it at some other moment of my life, it wouldn’t have touched me as much as it has. Many thanks to the author for providing me with a review copy.

I pray that death be kind,

Not as much to the buried,

As to those left behind.

-‘Funerals are for the living’

Here’s one poem that I absolutely loved. Check this one out!

You lift your chin up

Like the cocking of a gun

Your eyes flash the coldest fire,

Your words erupt,

The hottest ice.

I see you wear your anger

Like a bulletproof vest

Over your pain; I must say,

Even as you walk away,

It looks bloody glorious

On you

-‘Woman’

You can also check out the book here: Amazon (the ebook is free upto 5th of November), Goodreads

A Review of Walk With Wings, by Tene Edwards

I read this poetry collection over the course of two weeks because I usually read poetry quite slowly so that I actually feel the words and can mull them over. Walk With Wings was an enjoyable read that I delved into. The poems were all divided into 5 sections: Monsoon Love, Winter Sorrow, Autumn Grace, Spring Resilient, and Summer Freedom. In short, poignant verses, Tene’s poems are a compilation of reflections on her experiences, thoughts, and feelings through love, loss, pain, healing, and resilience. The collection takes you through the life story of the author while offering advice, notes, and affirmations, which were written to empower the author during difficult times. Walk With Wings tells the story of Tene falling in love, making bad decisions, learning from her mistakes, and discovering how to love her life and herself.

The pieces here deal with hard work, discipline and the sacrifices we have to make in order to pursue our dreams. They have been so relatable to me and I was in love. It is always empowering in a way – to know that what we are feeling is not just us. So many people are suffering and knowing that gives a sort of strength – if so many others are dealing with these issues, and progressing, perhaps we can too?

A few of the pieces felt like quotes so irked me a bit, but then again, the content is something you can easily relate to and that makes it the best, I think. Self-love and empowerment are the two common threads that link all the different pieces in the book. I think that my personal favourite is Summer Freedom perhaps, because it is a process I am going through myself – I am healing myself by learning to accept my own self. I am de-stigmatizing the faults I had previously found in my skin which had once made me so very uncomfortable in this skin I wear. Very enjoyable read and i rate it 4/5 stars.

#qotd : Do you have certain books you go back to whenever you need some healing?

A suggestion I have is What Your Soul Already Knows by Salma Farook. It is another book that I loved and I keep going back to it. It is a self-help/motivational book. I am generally not much for this genre but this one book was amazing.

WAlk With Wings, by Tene Edwards!

Hey guys! How’s it going? I have had quite a hectic week this week. We had the freshmen social on Thursday and after that it has just been very tiring. I hope to rest and recuperate on the weekend! Also,  I have got a ton of work to do…

Here’s a book that came in the mail a couple days ago. Tene Edwards was kind enough to send me her book and I am very excited to read it. I have already read a couple of pieces and I really connected with them. I hope to read some more on the weekend. Thanks a lot for the book!

Walk With Wings by Tene Edwards is a poetry collection split into five chapters: Monsoon Love, Winter Sorrow, Autumn Grace, Spring Resilient, and Summer Freedom. In short, poignant verses, Tene’s poems are a compilation of reflections on her experiences, thoughts, and feelings through love, loss, pain, healing and resilience. The collection takes you through the life story of the author while offering advice, notes, and affirmations, which were written to empower the author during difficult times. Walk With Wings tells the story of Tene falling in love, making bad decisions, learning from her mistakes, and discovering how to love her life and herself.

Processed with VSCO with preset

What are your plans for this weekend? Any trips planned or is it dedicated to catching up with work?

Silence Between The Spaces, by Abir Sinha, 2019

Title: Silence Between The Spaces

Author: Abir Sinha

Genre: Poetry and Prose

Format: Paperback

Language: English

Synopsis:

Recipient of the Humanitarian of the Year 2015 award, Abir Sinha is the best-selling poet of the book Noora- a collection of poems which was launched by the Commerce Minister Shri. Suresh Prabhu. Silence between the Spaces is the second collection of his poetry and prose which talks about taking that long arduous journey into yourself. Get comfortable with peeling the layers off to know who you really are.

My review:

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

I read this book for the Reading Rush 2019 Challenge, for the prompt Read a book in the same spot the entire time.

The poet has divided all his poems into 4 sections and named them well as –

  1. ‘Ibtida’ The Beginning
  2. ‘Justuju’ The Quest
  3. ‘Muntazir’ Awaiting
  4. ‘Maktub’ It is Written

The pieces in Silence Between the Spaces are all very relatable for us. They deal with everyday things that as individuals w can all relate with in one way or the other. I love how these pieces do not conform to the contemporary poems that revolve so much around romantic love. This collection is a nice change from that.

The themes of the human struggle, our everyday grind, as well as self-love are very common here. I hope how the poet has included these important issues – literature has an immense power to influence the reader and as such, I do believe that the author/poet has great responsibility on him. In this collection, I applaud the poet for including these important topics within the poems.

The author also speaks of our constant dissatisfaction – our never ending wants; we, human beings have become so greedy that we are never satisfied or happy despite all our materialistic richness. The struggle in the cutthroat world that we all face – the immense tension and stress that we are all subjected to, is also explored here.

Glimpses of nostalgia, chaos, the concept of ‘home’, the inability to move on, mental health etc are also seen here. Some of my favourites from this collection are The Hardest Lesson, Workaholic, Magnitude of Pain, Put Yourself First, Bottled Up, What Balance?, The Real Competition, Stir, Exhale etc.

Verdict:

It was an enjoyable and deep read. I rate it a 4/5 stars.

Also I’ve been continuously using this #readersjournal ‘Well-Read Women’ by Samantha Hahn from Abrams Chronicle Books! I have been using it to record all the books I’ve been reading recently and it has been a great help for me to record my immediate raw and unfiltered reactions!

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 .

Mid Year Book Freak-Out Tag!

It is July and I know you have heard it everywhere, read it everywhere and felt it yourself too – but my god, the year has passed by in a flash! I mean it was just a few days back, it feel like, when I was preparing for the university fest in February and now, it’s the end of my 4th semester! From August onwards, I will be starting with my 5th semester and that would mean that I will have only a year left for the completion of my Bachelors degree! Whoa! I am feeling as if I woke up on the wrong side of the bed – I was in senior year just a few days ago and it does not feel like 2 years have gone by at all!

So since it is July, I thought why not jump the bandwagon and do the Mid year book freak-out tag myself! Everyone is doing well, and I think it is a great way also to come across new books that might interest you as well! As of June 30th, I have read 119 books in total.  

  1. Best book you have read so far in 2019 – Okay so I am going to cheat on this one and state the best books I read from various genres. I fell in love with LORD OF THE BUTTERFLIES by Andrea Gibson (Poetry), THE PRIORY OF THE ORANGE TREE by Samantha Shannon (Fantasy), CITY OF GIRLS by Elizabeth Gilbert (Historical Fiction), DARK TALES by Shirley Jackson (Horror), BRAVE, NOT PERFECT by Reshma Saujani (Non-Fiction), FINDING ESME by Suzanne Crowley (Middle-Grade), THE LUPANARIUM by Adele Leigh (Dystopian), and THE STILLWATER GIRLS by Minka Kent (Thriller/Mystery).
  2. Best sequel you have read so far in 2019 – for this I shall go with THE KINGDOM OF COPPER by S. A. Chakraborty. It is the sequel to THE CITY OF BRASS, from THE DAEVABAD TRILOGY, and I rated it 5/5 stars. I am very excited for the last book in this series to come out!
  3. New release you haven’t read but want to – Ah I am hoping to pick up AURORA RISING by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff this week! I have heard nothing but great reviews about this book and I am excited!
  4. Most anticipated release for the second half of 2019 – oh my god! I have a really long list for this one but I’ll include a few ones which I think not very many people are talking about:
    1. WAYWARD SON by Rainbow Rowell, September 2019 – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/44017627-wayward-son?ac=1&from_search=true
    2. THE WATER DANCER by Ta-Nehisi Coates, September 2019 – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/43982054-the-water-dancer?from_search=true
    3. NINTH HOUSE by Leigh Bardugo, October 2019 – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/43263680-ninth-house?from_search=true
    4. BLOOD HEIR by Amelia Wen Zhao, November 2019 – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/38205707-blood-heir?from_search=true
    5. THE DEEP by Rivers Solomon, Daveed Diggs, William Hutson and Jonathan Snipes, November 2019 – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42201962-the-deep?from_search=true
  5. Biggest disappointment – well, I cannot really say that there was any such big disappointment. Sure, there were some not great enough reads, but thankfully, I did not come across any book i hated.
  6. Biggest surprise – I will go with POETS, ARTISTS AND LOVERS by Mira Tudor for this. I rated it 5/5 stars and had not at all expected to be bombarded by its excellence. It was an amazing and welcome surprise.
  7. Favourite new author – I am really loving Kerri Maniscalco and Maureen Johnson and I’m slowly going through all their books.
  8. Newest fictional crush – might I say Thomas Cresswell? If you do not know who he is, well, please please please do pick up the STALKING JACK THE RIPPER quartet by Kerri Maniscalco. Its a mix of historical fiction , murder mystery and romance. Amazing series.
  9. Newest favourite character – I think this has to be Vivian Morris from CITY OF GIRLS by Elizabeth Gilbert, Angelique from THE DUCHESS by Danielle Steel and Alexandra from THE RIGHT TIME, also by Danielle Steel. I have been loving these amazing women!
  10. Book that made you cry – this has to be YOU WILL BE SAFE HERE  by Damian Barr. It is a wonderfully tragic book and I rated it 5/5 stars. It was an emotional rollercoaster and I was full-on sobbing at some points in the story. If not for the story (which is impossible), you need to read it for the social and historical perspectives. It is so very important.
  11. Book that made you happy – for this, I am going to mention CIRCUS FOLK AND VILLAGE FREAKS by Aparna Upadhyaya Sanyal, a collection of absurd and weird poetry. So much so, that it is really funny and made me laugh a lot, and very happy at the end.
  12. Favourite book to movie adaptation you saw this year – I’m adding my own twist here. I don’t really watch that many movies and prefer series. So, I watched A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES,  based on the ALL SOULS TRILOGY by Deborah Harkness. Matthew Goode and Teresa Palmer are amazing. Somehow, Diana Bishop’s character gives me Bella (from Twilight) vibes. But it was a great season 1 and I’m excited for the next season to come out in late 2019 or early 2020.
  13. Favourite review you have written this year – well, I have three reviews to share. I loved the books and I loved writing about them. And they are CITY OF GIRLS by Elizabeth Gilbert, CIRCUS FOLK AND VILLAGE FREAKS by Aparna Upadhyaya Sanyal and AN ATLAS OF IMPOSSIBLE LONGING by Anuradha Roy. (PS. I loved AN ATLAS OF IMPOSSIBLE LONGING so much that I even gave a class presntation on with. With reference to Indian Writings in English)
  14. Most beautiful book you bought so far this year – for this, I will go with the FingerPrint Classics edition of ANNE FRANK: THE DIARY OF A YOUNG GIRL. It is a beautiful hardcover edition with silver embossed cov er on blue, and silver edges! I simply love it.
  15. What books do you need to read by the end of 2019 – some books I hope to pick up by the end of 2019 are: A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC trilogy by V. E. Schwab ( https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22055262-a-darker-shade-of-magic?from_search=true because I loved her writing in THE NEAR WITCH), THE THORNBIRDS by Colleen McCullough ( https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/830793.The_Thorn_Birds ), THE WAVES by Virginia Woolf ( https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/863768.The_Waves ), ESCAPING FROM HOUDINI by Kerri Maniscalco ( https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/37539001-capturing-the-devil?ac=1&from_search=true ), and REBECCA OF SUNNYBROOK FARM: THE WOMAN ( https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17532.Rebecca_Of_Sunnybrook_Farm?from_search=true ) by Eric Wiggin.

I encourage you all to try out this tag!

PS. I am not the creator of the tag; I do not know who that is.

Circus Folk and Village Freaks, by Aparna Upadhyaya Sanyal, 2018

Title: Circus Folk and Village Freaks

Author: Aparna Upadhyaya Sanyal

Publisher: Vishwakarma Publications

Genre: Poetry

Format:  Hardcover

Language: English

No. of pages: 155

Recommended for: For mature readers

Synopsis:

Meet the beautiful people of the Circus, and the freaks who live in the Village next to them. Mangled, jangled, misunderstood, all find place in the rich tapestry of this book.

Siamese twins separate to lose half a heart each, and find snake-man and tiger-taming lovers. A man bitten by a crocodile becomes a God, and a Devadasi woos the entire countryside with her culinary artistry.

Fates intertwined lead sometimes to tragedy, sometimes happy summits of fame. A clown finds his place in Hollywood and mute animals break unspeakable chains. A twisted man falls in love with a mirror and a white man is unmade by the Indian sun.

In this book are tales for every season and every reason. Tales of human depravity that take innocent lives, and of a murderers’ insanity that follows, a fitting revenge by nature, red in tooth and claw.

These stories are told in the form of narrative poems in rhyming couplets.

Look inside and you will find, you have been to this Village. Surely, you have been to this Circus too.

My review:

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

Sanyal has played with magic to deliver to us a tale of absurd and unbelievable men and women, monsters and pets. Transformation from man to animal, man to monster etc. run rife throughout the “18 twisted tales” and provides an enjoyable and funny read.

Under these trivial and funny stories though, lies witty undertones, which are deep and metaphorical in the essence. The various themes I interpreted in the book include, but are not limited to, capitalist nature or bend of mind, issues of abandonment and finding one’s true calling, homosexuality, society’s reaction against this ‘perversion’, and suicide, the issue of one’s identity, love, depression and mental illness, being oppressed by the desires of tour elders, ambition, substance abuse and abuse of various other kinds, emotional trauma, acceptance of oneself no matter how different from the general populace, Divine Providence, karma, revenge, passion, as well as, class/caste importance in society, and most importantly, funny ways of including the gastronomical tales of food.

I absolutely enjoyed the book. Sanyal’s writing is immersive and I finished this book in one sitting, such was my undivided attention. The topics chosen by the author are easy for the general reader to dive into. Moreover, especially since they are on the ones society calls the ‘freaks’, it is a powerful collection. The verse is lyrical and rhyming and thus, sounds so musical. I definitely recommend reciting these out loud. It’s a magical experience.

My absolute favorite poems from here are The Unlikely Love Story of Lingam, and Jeeva, The Elephant Man. From the name itself then, it is not curious enough?

Verdict:

I loved reading this book and I rated it a 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 .

Ambrosia Sides, by Abhijita Kulshrestha, 2019

Title: Ambrosia Sides

Author: Abhijita Kulshrestha

Publisher: Shakti Books, an imprint of Har-Anand Publications Pvt Ltd

Genre: Poetry

Format: Paperback

Language: English

No. of pages: 120

My review:

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

Ambrosia Sides was an enjoyable poetry read and I absolutely enjoyed it. There is a very strong spiritual undercurrent to it and I think that is why many of the poems touch your souls.

The poet conveys through her poems various important themes and it reflects on us as well. She talks about fate, of what it means to be a woman, the treatment of women at the hands of men, gender oppression eve teasing, the concepts of consent/rape, of looking away from it, as well as the power of faith, healing, the will to live, or the utter lack of it, journeys – both mental and emotional, sisterhood etc.

Some of my favourite poems in the collection are – QUEST, A WISP, OUTLAWS, ALLURE, MONSOONS, SNAP, TIDES, THE WAIT, RIOT, BALM, CLOSURE, HEARTBREAK, VAGABOND, MIND BENDER, MYSTERY and THREAT. From the names of the poems itself, it is clear that the author has written about a variety of emotions that we as humans go through every day. The issue of identity also plays an important role in our lives and this crisis is seen in the poems.

There is a spiritual note to the poems, and magical strands of lyricism entwine the collection. The power of memories, waiting/expectations, desire, depression, awareness/presence etc. are some of the other issues that can be seen in the poems.

Apart from the poems, I also loved the book cover; it is so simple yet so elegant!

Verdict:

Ambrosia Sides was an enjoyable read and I rated it a 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 .

Rituals, by Lorcan Black

Title: Rituals

Author: Lorcan Black

Illustrated by: Tim Durham

Publisher: April Gloaming

Publishing date: 31 May, 2019

Genre: Poetry/Arts and Photography

Format: E-arc

Language: English

Synopsis:

In the search for truth, for meaning, for purpose, Black’s poetry illuminates the wonder in all of us. With petrifying portrayals of mental institutions, doctors, nurses, Egyptian mythos, all intertwined in a mixture of natural visions and harbors, this collection fortifies our nature to hunt for a life worth living.

The ritualistic aspects are dismal, at best, and speak to the monotony of the modern world and that hopeless feeling of being part of the herd. Readers will find themselves clawing their way through the muck and grime of the everyday, finding that maybe only love can save them, or at least, the hope for love.

My review:

I received a review copy from the Netgalley in return for an honest review. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own. Please do keep an open mind while reading my review – everybody interprets different texts differently.

“Pale stars wink jealousies at my feet and I walk godly.” Lorcán Black’s Rituals is the restless, roaming lovechild of Neruda and Trakl, with some fiery genetic material borrowed from Plath, as well. These poems walk toward and through wreckage at once ordinary and surreal—a family, an asylum, a body learning fraught desires, the “eerie / whiteness” of Antarctica, and a “window suck[ing] its slice of moon / in the mirror of its mouth.” Piercing in its vulnerability, this book often achieves a magical authority at the same time. Black dares to speak in the voice of a sorcerer, an oracle, a god: “Watch: I shall the call the elements, / I shall cast sacrilegious circles in sand.” This is a collection of dark yet gleaming marvels. – Chen Chen.

I recently read Rituals by Lorcan Black and I was blown away by his writing. There is an ethereal undertone to all of the poems and it gives a magical effect to the entire narrative. The poet talks on various issues like innocence, religious supremacy, judgmental attitudes, forgiveness, of mental health and illness, suicide and self-harm, of being trapped inside one’s own mind, our changing personalities, war and its effects, gender roles, motherhood and parenthood as a whole, about the unknown, etc. Among all the poems, there is such a vast diversity in the themes that I believe each reader will take away something from reading them. There is a unique writing style and coupled with the unique lines, I think this is a beautiful collection – utterly profound and deep. I shall surely be returning to this one again.  And I recommend this one anyone – fans of Neruda, Trakl, Sylvia Plath, and Shirley Jackson definitely go for this one.

Verdict:

I rate this one a 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 .

Lord of the Butterflies, by Andrea Gibson, 2018

Title: Lord of the Butterflies

Author: Andrea Gibson

Publisher: Button Poetry

Genre: Poetry/LGBTQIA

Format: Netgalley e-ARC

Language: English

No. of pages: 86

Synopsis:

Andrea Gibson’s latest collection is a masterful showcase from the poet whose writing and performances have captured the hearts of millions. With artful and nuanced looks at gender, romance, loss, and family, Lord of the Butterflies is a new peak in Gibson’s career. Each emotion here is deft and delicate, resting inside of imagery heavy enough to sink the heart, while giving the body wings to soar.

My review:

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

I LOVED this collection! Lord of the Butterflies deals with issues such as homosexuality, being a transgender person, dealing with this as a child, and accepting this about oneself; bullying, rebellion; familial love, family drama; depression, substance abuse, acceptance, homophobia, suicide, and the hurt and pain associated with it; violence, war, and more dun violence as well as white supremacy and the will to stay alive.

The poet uses beautiful lyrical lines that just drive the knife deeper into the heart, so to speak – because all of the poems are so poignant and meaningful and relatable in today’s context, that you cannot help but be sucked in, to the magic. Crying while reading a fiction book is pretty common for me, but I even cried while reading these poems for myself.

The poem I absolutely loved was ‘Orlando’, followed by ‘Boomerang Valentine’, ‘Thankstaking’, ‘America Wakes in the Middle of the Night’, ‘White Feminism [Noun]’, ‘Tincture’, ‘America Relaoding’, ‘Depression [Verb]’, ‘Give Her’, ‘Until We Act’, ‘Fight for Love’, ‘Letter to the Editor’, ‘Living Proof’, ‘First Love’ and ‘Daytime, Somewhere’.

Verdict:

One of the best poetry collection I have ever read, I rate Lord of the Butterflies a solid 5/5!

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 .

Between You and these Bones, by F.D Soul, 14 May 2019

Title: Between You and These Bones

Author: F. D. Soul

Publisher: Andrews McMeel publishing

Releasing on: 14th May, 2019

Genre: Poetry

Format: Ebook

Language: English

No. of pages: 194

Synopsis:

Acclaimed Instagram poet F.D. Soul (@featherdownsoul) debuts a new poetry collection,telling her own invigorating, unapologetic narrative of love, loss, and adversity. Soul’s words pulse, they are alive on the page, attesting to the significance of Between You and These Bones in the modern world.

From celebrated New Zealand poetess F.D. Soul comes her highly anticipated second collection of poetry, prose, illustrations, and wisdom. Her messages grapple with relationships: interpersonal relationships, her relationship with herself, and the relationship between poetry and the world. Unchaptered and raw, Between You and These Bones reads much like a memoir or meditation yet maintains all the musicality of poetry. “This book is a garden, a hymn, a forgiveness. A falling back in love. It is all the pieces of light you forgot you held, remembered.”

My review:

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

This collection of poems was a welcome break to the otherwise fiction reading that I had been engrossed in for a long time now. The poems were beautiful and spoke on familial love, mental health and healing – and starting to open up about it, as well as about people who help us sope with their kindness and love; human vulnerability of opening up oneself to others; hope, prayer and faith; family and the “weight of generations”; the act of consent/societal pressure and why saying ‘no’ makes us feel guilty; the difference between living and being alive; the strength and power of a mother’s love; the understanding of one’s own qualities and accepting them and subsequently working on them; being human and dealing with loss and breakups and many others. The poet also talks about growing up, falling in love, the beauty in everyday objects, chasing and living your dreams, gratitude, fighting for your life, living one’s life, self-empowerment, memoris, the power of love, the act of giving; about when we want to give up, it is the human body that goes on, and how poetry is the poet’s prayer.

The poet’s writing style is also very novel and experiments with the format of the syntax etc. and complex lines are used. There are many layers to the meanings. Also, I feel that there was also a lot of repetition in the poems. The poet often uses “which is to say” and “but God”/”God!”/:and God”, which makes the words lose their evocative power at times.

Verdict:

This was a pretty good book and 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 .

Silent Defiance: An Open Refusal to Everything That Hurts the Soul, by Sonia Motwani

Title: Silent Defiance: An Open Refusal to Everything That Hurts the Soul

Author: Sonia Motwani

Genre: Poetry

Format: Ebook

No. of pages: 114

Language: English

My review:

Reading poetry is a very personal experience for me and as such, I hold it in very high regard. In the case of Silent Defiance, the poet has been able to retain my interest for the entirety of the book.

I enjoyed reading the poems very much – many were so very relatable on various levels that I was deeply touched and at times, after reading a few poems, I had to just stop, deliberate and think about it. These poems have been very thought-inducing as well.

I am very sure that a lot of the readers have been touched just as well. The delivery and the writing style of the poetry has been good but can be developed furthermore. The imagery produced at times was also beautiful in their entirety. The poems, all aroused emotions in the reader and I applaud the poet in this regard.

I do think that the poet should possibly publish another book and I shall be delighted to but that one too. The cover is dark and yet there is this certain elegance in it. The length of the book too is actually very short and thus proves quick to read. Again, although very short and would require very less net reading time, I cannot guarantee the thinking time the reader will probably use, poring over these works.

Verdict:

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

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 .

Smokes and Whiskey, by Tejaswini Divya Naik, 2018

Title: Smokes and Whiskey

Author: Tejaswini Divya Naik

Publisher: StoryMirror Infotech Pvt. Ltd.

Genre: Poetry

Format: Paperback

Language: English

No. of pages: 150

Recommended for: Lovers of contemporary poetry

Synopsis:

Titled Smokes and Whiskey, the book is a collection of 42 poems on relationships, the ups and downs that come along with it, falling apart like rubble, but then finding oneself, gathering that strength back and building yourself up, back from that same rubble. I hope that this book makes everyone feel what I felt while writing it, and that love is a universal thing, and my story is not unique. And I hope that this makes them see that there is a beyond and that they can come out happy and clean. And, that this makes them braver than they already are, and gives them that little extra push and strength that they probably need

My review:

Armoured with just 42 poems, this book surprisingly launches a punch at the reader. The poems are written in the contemporary style, made popular by many poets such as Nikita Gill, Rupi Kaur, and Amanda Lovelace etc. Smokes and Whiskey was a quick yet impactful read and I loved going through the poems.

The reader should go in with a trigger warning however – there are mentions of rapes, domestic violence, abuse, mental harassment etc. all of these are so relevant and the way that the poet uses her words makes sure that the end product is raw and poignant, and still relatable. They touch the reader’s heart and makes for an impactful read.

There is a certain rawness in the poet’s words; certain tinge self-destructiveness that peeks through as the poet writes:

I give hearts out away for free

Maybe there’s something wrong in me.

Or maybe the way the poet states this bittersweet statement makes the reader feel so. I personally loved many of the individual poems and marked quite a few of them. I shall definitely be going back to reading these ones soon. They are so sad at times – leaving me utterly despondent, but the poet is successful in showing a ray of hope to the reader and this is perhaps what also makes this collection one worth remembering.

This is definitely one collection I won’t be forgetting anytime soon!

Verdict:

I really enjoyed reading this anthology and I rate it a 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 .

Blood and Beloved, by Krimson Ravyn, 2019

Title: Blood and Beloved

Author: Krimson Ravyn

Publisher: Self-published

Genre: Poetry/Gothic

Format: E-Book

Language: English

No. of pages: 88

Recommended for: YA and above

Synopsis:

Blood and Beloved, India’s first Gothic horror poetry collection, includes abstract, horror, and Gothic themes such as darkness, psychological horrors, child-rape, death, etc. Each poem from the book showcases elements of melancholy, depression, mania, occult, a darker philosophy of life, and the like. With a vivid, dark imagery, the book aims at being a fusion of the horror and poetry genres. 

My review:

This certainly was a book that I thoroughly enjoyed reading. And like the synopsis asserts, this was my first Gothic horror poetry collection. Blood and Beloved has also been released just some time ago, on the 8th of February in fact.

The theme of this anthology of poems are a myriad of issues like darkness, psychological horrors, child-rape, death etc., and the author’s grasp over the English language is commendable. The utter visual imagery – stark and raw – that the words invoke are well written and resonate with the reader.

With great depth and meaning, the poems are truly one of a kind, and never have I read any such poems in the Indian context before. I personally think that the author has done a great job with the poems.

With a total of 45 poems in 88 page, the poems have a rhythm and song-like quality that I enjoyed. My very personal favourite was THE CURSE OF PERSEPHONE which I enjoyed reading multiple times, so far. There are also others in this collection that I enjoyed. I think that this is one collection that requires a reader’s patience to continue with. And while I love it, I do also feel that this is a polarizing book – while I may love it, someone may hate it too. But that cannot be much deliberated upon. I enjoyed the book in its entirety and I hope I can read more of the poet’s work in the future.

Verdict:

I quite enjoyed this collection. I rate it a 4/5 stars and would definitely recommend it.

About the author:

Krimson Ravyn, aka Kashish Kaur, is an award-winning short story writer, who writes in horror and fantasy genres. A gothic darkling deeply interested in the subculture, a poet by nature, and a writer by avocation, she loves fusing her two favorites together- horror and poetry. 
Blood and Beloved is her debut book. 

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!

The Sun and her Flowers, Rupi Kaur, 2017

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Title: The Sun and Her Flowers
Author: Rupi Kaur
Publisher: Andrews McNeel Publishing
Format: Ebook
Language: English
Pages: 256
 
Synopsis:
From Rupi Kaur, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of milk and honey, comes her long-awaited second collection of poetry. A vibrant and transcendent journey about growth and healing. Ancestry and honoring one’s roots. Expatriation and rising up to find a home within yourself.
Divided into five chapters and illustrated by Kaur, the sun and her flowers is a journey of wilting, falling, rooting, rising, and blooming. A celebration of love in all its forms.
this is the recipe of life
said my mother
as she held me in her arms as i wept
think of those flowers you plant
in the garden each year
they will teach you
that people too
must wilt
fall
root
rise
in order to bloom
My review:
 
I have honestly come across so many reviews for this book stating that Milk and Honey was so much better, I digress after accepting the fact that Milk and Honey was really good, yes, but to compare two collections with entirely different themes, would be unjust.
 
I read Milk and Honey around a year ago, and I absolutely loved the writing. The best thing about Rupi Kaur’s writing is that the language is so simple yet the way she weaves the words is truly an art. I fell in love with her writing and picked up The Sun and her Flowers as soon as I was able to.
 
I like to think that since it was Milk and Honey that first introduced me to this writer, it shall always be close to my heart. But nonetheless, The Sun and her Flowers was just ass amazing, covering much more diversity than in the former one. One will find that there are many more long and descriptive pieces in the latter book. The themes of love, hatred, feminity, migration, evolution and well as the more painful ones of tragedy and loss, find their way to grip the readers’ hearts through the intricate magic in Kaur’s words. Truly a piece of art, I found The Sun and her Flowers very inspiring and moving.
 
Verdict:
I really enjoyed this collection and hope to re-read it soon. Considerably different than Milk and Honey but nonetheless just as amazing, I rate this a 4.5/5 stars.
 
 
 
 

Regular Porridge, Sukanya Basu Mallik, 2018

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Title: Regular Porridge
Author: Sukanya Basu Mallik
Publisher: Word Bite
Format: Ebook
Language: English
Pages: 45
Synopsis:
Regular porridge as a collection explores the meaning of life- success and failure and how they intertwine, as well as how a person may find it difficult to balance the two, confusing one for the other. This book contains tales of how people go about their lives and the extraordinary web each life can weave, using the appreciation of art to explore the human experience. Love and human relations have been depicted in some pieces too. Love is agony, ecstasy, unpredictable, testing and perfectly serene. It doesn’t always have to be something you feel but something you do. In this collection, fiction has been used to catalyze introspection in people and instead of setting out to solely entertain readers, this poetry collection certainly educates, too.
My review:
In a beautiful and eloquent voice, the poetess has described various real-life situations. The synopsis and the preface are the first things that really attracted me and I must give full marks to the poetess for that. Wonderfully written.
In the poems, we see the use of blank verse in some and the use of rhythm in rhyming as well. The meaning of life and loss along with the daily monotonous life, are explored in a very intricate yet contrastingly, a very simple manner which truly draws the reader in. The themes of war, faith, hope, lock, and so on are on what the poetess pours her heart out. Especially regarding the effect of war on children, there is one line that truly affected me-
“If need be, we’ll frighten them with our toy guns” in War Children’s Psychosocial sssions- Child of Syria.
This line in itself says so much. The children who have seen the ravages of war are willing to protect their people by fighting against the enemy- but fighting against the enemy, that too, with the help of their own albeit “toy”, “guns” itself. This again shows the layers of the mind, even in small children.
The poet also explores patriotism, the futility of war, poverty and child labour, along with sexual abuse on children. It’s scary at times because as a reader one realizes that these are so true and actually happening.
Verdict:
A really good read, I rate Regular Porridge a 4/5 stars.
 
 

An Assortment of Sorts, Ajay Ramanathan, 2018

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Title: An Assortment of Sorts
Author: Ajay Ramanathan
Publisher: Half Baked Beans
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Pages: 140
Synopsis:
The book ‘An Assortment of Sorts’ is a collection of 109 poems that the author Ajay Ramanathan has written & compiled so far. A majority of the author’s work is personal in nature as they are a reflection of author’s personal experiences during various periods of his life and they predominantly deal with life, love, rejection, joys, and anecdotes etc. Inspired by realistic themes in art, the author would best like to classify his writing style as a whole under the genre of ‘realism’. Ajay truly means it when he says this book is an ‘Assortment’ due to the different kinds of flavour and variety in this book with regard to themes and topics.
My review:
An Assortment of Sort is a great collection of some very good poetry pieces. The themes covered are very diverse- one can read some very heart touching and musical pieces on love, life, rejection, with some added anecdotes as well. As such, it can have a varied range in the readers’ ages. People from different age groups are bound to enjoy it.
The language used is simple but also very lucid as such there is a nice flow to the words. It is contemporary though, so keep that in mind. The combination of both rhyming scheme and blank verse in the poems adds a nice spice for all. Classified under the genre of realism, many are realistic and I feel drawn from the author’s own life experiences. As such it also adds certain authenticity and relatability to the work. As a reader, one can connect to the author’s feelings that pour out from the page into one’s own heart and soul. The titles of the various poems are well named and striking.
One thing that I think can be worked upon and improved ids the author’s tendency to elongate certain points that could have done without it. But I also cannot deny at certain other poems, it worked in the author’s favour and only enhanced the reading experience. There are also some errors in the punctuation that must be corrected in the future editions. The cover and title are very modern and in its abstractness, the reader is compelled to think and introspect themselves.
Verdict:
This anthology was one that I truly enjoyed and will be picking up soon again. I also rate this a 3.5/5 stars!
 
 

The First Word, Husain Ali, 2017

 
 
 
 
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Title: The First Word
Author: Husain Ali
Publisher: Blue Rose Publishers
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Pages: 148
Synopsis:
Poetry is the language of romance and philosophy. It conveys the words of an angry breeze. It is written on the foundations of mountains. And it can be the voice of a silent man. Husain Ali brings you his collection of poetry, where the words sing happy songs on lush green hills under a yellow sun, waft across cafes in Paris, carry the aroma of cinnamon and coffee, lament over the loss of friends and lovers and take you across Mongolian landscapes. There are words that weave a world free of hatred and chaos, tensions and wars. There are words of dreams and intergalactic travels. These poems simply ask you to connect with your feelings and let your imagination run wild.
My review:
Let me first talk about how beautiful the cover of the book is! Had I not got it as a review copy, I most probably would have bought it simply as a cover buy! Getting into the review, I found this collection of poetry very diverse, and delightfully so.
It is important to realize that poetry is something that everyone interprets differently, so kindly do understand if my understanding is different from yours. The difference need not imply that one is right and the other wrong.
The First Word was an enjoyable experience, and it’s a book that I shall pick up again soon. There is a recurring theme of death, loss and coping with it, throughout the book, however, so keep that in mind if it is something that upsets you. Memories and dreams also play a significant role in this collection of poems. Nonetheless, it also celebrates and counteracts all these sad facts of life through the indomitable human spirit, interspersed with hope, faith, and love.
Although there are a vast number of themes in the poem, we often see those of separation, isolation, the inevitable human end, as the poet ponders over our degenerate human situation as we move towards destruction through wars.
The one significant thing that really put me off as a reader is the utter absence of punctuation in the poems. The enjambments were too much for me and it is something that surprised me and kind of was a sore point for me. Despite that, overlooking that fact, this is a collection I love. Some poems that I liked were- Winters of Wait, Judgement Day, Celestial Nights, Hang Around, Lost Cause, Reticence, Gift Wrapped, My Empire of Dirt, Something Strange, among a few.
Verdict:
This anthology was one that I truly enjoyed and will be picking up soon again. I also rate this a 4/5 stars!
 

Looking Through a Telescope for Love, Himanshu Goel, 2018

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Publishers: Self-published
Genre: Poetry
Illustrated by: Arushi Gupta
Synopsis:
“I’m just
a little boy
looking through
a telescope
trying to find
love in the sky…..”
Looking through a telescope for love is the second in the poetry collection series A Rational Boy in Love. There is more than one path to love and the rational boy tries to use the tools of science to deal with questions of love he can’t understand.
My Review:
The book is a collection of 50 poems, all about love and its beauty. Divided into four sections- Looking through a telescope for love’, ‘For love’, ‘Daughter of the moon’ and “Runaway star’ this collection is a beautiful and calm read. These short poems are accompanied by some simple and minimalistic illustrations by Arushi Gupta.
The language used is pretty simple and I could hardly find any grammatical errors. Despite this, I found the overall subjects very simple. Written in the modern style of blank prose without rhyme, like Rupi Kaur and Lang Leav’s works, Looking Through a Telescope for Love is a decent read for any reader’s initial forays into modern poetry. The poems also revolved around women and I personally liked that.
Verdict:
I rate this book a 3/5 stars and shall definitely recommend it to others.

First Breath, R. Kumar, 2018

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Publishers: Self-published
Genre: Poetry
Synopsis:
“First Breath” is the collection of poetries which are not written, they are lived; which are not on papers, they are in hearts. This book is result of author’s passion towards writing which he started unintentionally at the difficult verge of life. This book is example of fulfilling one’s goals, fulfilling one’s passions. This book contains poetries about LOVE, BETRAYAL, TRUTHS OF LIFE and PERSONALITIES WHICH INFLUENCED LIFE.
My Review:
First Breath is the debut work by its creator, R. Kumar. It has four sections containing poems about love, betrayal, influencing personalities and the face of truth. These four sections are named as Rain of romance, Ember of love, Thunder of magnificent creature, and, Cloud of screwing truths.
Now I have to admit that the subjects the poet has chosen are very relevant- like depression, family, relationships etc., he the overall work needs a lot more finesse. However the execution has left a lot to be desired. There are a lot of editing and grammatical errors. For instance the name of a poem- the title itself is wrong- ‘decesion’. And the words become very repetitive at times as if the poet is actually writing a song. And yet, I found no tune or flow in the words. The author is obviously an amateur however it doesn’t have to imply that the work is bad- though a lot of editing and proofreading nod drafting have to be done. The poet also uses some very strange comparisons at times, and they hardly make any sense. There was a poem ‘Be Mine’ where I was wondering if it was a poem or rather a song.
Verdict:
I didn’t really enjoy this book unfortunately and can’t say that I will recommend it to anyone else. For the value of the subjects only I give this book a 1/5 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.

Scattered Constellations, Ankita Singh, 2018

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Publishers: Amazon
Genre: Poetry
Synopsis:
Words tumble out, with no pause;
From the pen, my anelace,
That I hold so graciously,
(In awe of its majesty, its power)
In my hand.
They form thoughts, hopes and musings;
Reflect my soul, my entire being,
And spread across the page,
Like scattered constellations
Across the sky.
(Scattered Constellations is a collection of 50 Free Verse YA Poems.)

My review:
Scattered Constellations was a great read firstly. It is a poetry book following the common free verse pattern nowadays. Ankita Singh has done a good job with this book.
Scattered Constellations contains poetry on a vast number of themes such as love- romantic, familial as well as platonic; friendship, family, appearances in terms of racial distinctions etc. I found them really eye opening.
The book was also very finely edited and proofread, as I hardly noticed any errors. The whole format was pretty nice in the ARC but I am eager to see how the actual paperback turns out. I think that this book makes a good gift- the poems are bound to touch every other reader.
My personal favourites in this collection are quite a few, some of which are Tell Me, Taboo, Our Kinda Love, Colour, It Wasn’t Just Sadness, Sisters, Trophy Girl etc. I enjoyed the book and it took me less than a day as I read and stopped to think, and then resumed, again and again.
Verdict:
I rate it a 4/5 stars as I wait for the paperback to come out.

Indeliberate Deliberations, Shivansh Umatt, 2017

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Publishers: pblishing.com
Indeliberate Deliberations, as the synopsis says, is a collection of heartfelt poems, on the four broad themes of Latency, Abyss, Frost and Froth, and, Gory Musings. Like most poetry, these days, the pieces in Indeliberate Deliberations are seen following the free-verse poetry, without a fixed structure.
In terms of quantity, there are a total of 21 poems in the book and they are all very heartwarming. The editing/proof-reading has also been done in a very good manner, because of which the quality truly shines through, despite the small size of the book.
Keeping in mind that everyone interprets the same author’s same works differently, I would like to state that I found Abyss focused more on the harsh realities of life, Latency on the perception of self, Gory Musings on guilt and other such emotions that eat away at a man’s soul, and Frost and Froth on the comparison between nature and human life. The poems were very relatable and the author has written very well- I believe he will go a long way. I finished reading it thrice now, ever since I got it from the author’ it’s that good!
Considering the fact that I have been hungering for poetry books for quite some time now, I would also like to say that I liked this book a lot- 4/5 stars by me.

Unlocked Silences, Mukhpreet Khurana, 2018


Publisher: Notion Press
I have been on the lookout for poetry books for a while now and was glad when I got the chance to receive a review book for Unlocked Silences. This book is pretty new and came out only in 2018, and has been widely accepted.
I finished reading this in just one day, and if you can see the number of tags I’ve attached then you won’t be surprised when I say that I really liked it. Unlocked silences is a book of not only poetry, but also musings and abstracts that touch your heart. They are not however romance centric and I for one, was quite happy with the change in the scenery. There is also an air of spirituality in the write-ups in this book and they have truly touched me deeply.
Here I’ll add a few lines from Kindled, pg 103, and tell me if it doesn’t stir something in you:
Oblivion boils in me,
Burning the strongest of my desires;
Here I am, reborn in faith,
Kindling the fiercest of fires.
This is just one from among a multitude of beautiful thought-provoking abstracts that gave me goosebumps. It revolves around the themes of emotion, empathy, acceptance, healing as well as the deepest and innermost thoughts that haunt man.
I do believe that it can however do with a bit of proofreading and editing, in a manner that will further bring out the meaning of the words the author is trying to convey. This, in no way, means that I did not like the book- on the contrary, I truly loved reading it. It was a spiritual experience for me, as I am sure, it was for many people. There aren’t really optimum times to read a book; however I do think that reading a few pages from Unlocked Silences in the mornings will definitely give you a certain peace of mind that will surely help prevail your goodwill throughout the day.
I rate this book a 4/5 stars and definitely recommend it to those looking for non-romance centric poetry.