MANGTU BABA’S HOUSE AND OTHER STORIES: TALES FROM THE FOOTHILLS OF THE HIMALAYAS

I love the cover so much, the moment I saw it, I wanted to pick it up. The language is rich and lucid at the same time. It was so much fun to read that I finished it within two sittings. The book is almost a hundred and fifty pages. It is a fast read. The journal writing style made it really refreshing. The flow is very smooth and evenly distributed. I highly recommend this for a change and especially if you are in a reading slump which I was when I decided to pick this one up. I am so darn glad I did, not only did I come out of the slump feeling rejuvenated but also thoroughly enjoyed the entire book, each moment of it. The emotional radar in the book is so amazing from love to friendship to hope, it was highly enjoyable. The illustrations were really well done. From the first story of Swimming with buffaloes I was hooked. I highly recommend this book.

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https://www.amazon.in/dp/B08G7V5JHJ/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_S4HZFb1PE1Y1G

ETCHINGS OF THE FIRST QUARTER OF 2020

The cover of the book is simple yet attractive. I had read previous works of the author and decided to pick this one up too. It is a very short read, less than a hundred pages. A letter to a step daughter was my favourite in the entire book. The letter had snippets of poems thus the entire thing was a genre bent mixture which turned out nice. The language was lucid and even if one is a beginner, one can read this without any problem whatsoever. In a letter to Suranjana, the author talks about Lolita, a book I read last year. This year i read My Dark Vanessa, which was loosely based on Lolita and I had thoughts on the book. Reading the author’s perspective was nice. Since the book is short and very concise it is kind of self explanatory. There isn’t much to say other than it was a good piece of art.

THE BLUE ELEPHANT

This was a very Informative book. It is very illuminating and soft power is very important to any country and India has been developing hers as well. The language used is very lucid. The interactive way of writing made it very engaging. It was a fast paced book of only over a two hundred pages. From definition of Soft Power to how things like sport, cuisines to diaspora which we do not take seriously is all very important to impress the world any country and the image of the country is pivotal to the role she plays in the world economy. The perspective is very broad and overall it was a good read. I really liked how the need for awareness is stated which I did not anticipate. I liked the chapter on Tourism and Art. Overall, I recommend it.

The Unsolved case of an Indian woman

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Meet Tandel, more precisely, Miss Tandel. A forty-year-old advocate, who fights corruption, solves crimes and stops women harassment. “You are gonna die soon.” She received a threatening note. “There is no evidence, madam. I guess you are overthinking.” The Police officer had said. “You are hallucinating. You may be Paranoid.” The doctor added. Everyone thinks she was mad!
She was not.
Or was she? To know the truth, read her story— “The Unsolved Case Of An Indian Woman”, and explore a riot of perspectives.

REVIEW

I loved the book’s cover. It was a perfect autumn read. Each character is well developed and unique but realistic enough to be relatable and believable. It was a very quick and fast-paced read. Concise enough to unravel the mystery and thrill perfectly. Desperation and trauma is a part of the book. I loved the narration and lucid language. Family is an important aspect but the one portrayed is far from perfect. The various timelines and stories come together impeccably. The setting is so ideal that I enjoyed it thoroughly and I could not predict anything. From chapter 13 I got engaged more and more. I finished it in a single sitting. It took me about three hours. Suicide is a trigger warning. Mental health is a huge part of the book without being overbearing but important enough to be a pillar. I highly recommend it. 

Between Life and Death: From Despair to Hope

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Dr. Kashyap Patel is a renowned oncologist in the US who works with terminally ill cancer patients. Through him, we meet Harry, who, after a life full of adventure, is diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. As he stares death in the face, Harry leans on Dr. Patel, an expert in understanding the process of death and dying. His questions and fears are addressed through the stories of many other patients that Dr. Patel has treated-from the young and vivacious to those who had already lived full lives, from patients who could barely afford their rent to those who had been wildly successful. What ties these stories together is the single thread of the lessons Harry learns along the way, lessons that ultimately enable him to plan his own exit from the world gracefully-dying without fear.

REVIEW

I loved the cover. This is my second read, which has stories of patients’ stories. I found the entire book very enlightening. It is a relatively short read but I took many sittings to complete it. The experience of the author was endearing and illuminated me in plenty of ways. The writing style was very interactive and I was feeling like having an apprising conversation. Death is the primary topic, from desperation to anticipate it and accept it gracefully. The narration was not very engaging, a little work could be done. The role of the doctor as not only a doctor but also a good friend and a spiritual guide was fascinating. The struggles and pain of life which eventually leads to a peaceful death are very helpful. I liked Julie’s story the most. Overall, it was a good read.   

Afsaane – A Collection of Short Stories

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A sky-blue paper bird glued to a mirror. A handmade book on music to be gifted. A pair of mud-brown tea cups without handles. A shelf to hoard dying memories. A little home tucked away in a remote village. A haunting voice after boarding an empty bus… The images on the cover belong to people whose stories are packed in this book: A man who meets his lost friend in a new world. A seeker who resists everyone to reach an unwanted place. Lovers that separate, only to find some hope. A failed artist who finds another voice. A new entrant in a home who creates turmoil. A cheated girl who makes a desperate call. A shattered man who pegs on a sudden dreamy trip. With eleven stories of unrequited love, hope, acceptance, heart breaks or just needs, ‘Afsaane’ will tug at your heartstrings and open windows to people that experience unusual situations in far too usual lives.

REVIEW

The cover is so beautiful. I had seen the book for quite some time and the cover intrigued me enough to pick it up. All eleven stories were engaging and beautifully executed. The emotions narrated were endearing and realistic. ‘Not in the dark’ was the best story in the book, according to me. The main theme overall was love and hope. I completed the entire book, in a single sitting. It was a perfect lousy afternoon read. The language was lucid and it can be easily read by a beginner or a nonreader too. There were intricate details that I enjoyed, sometimes it was like a descriptive essay. Grief was handled was much better than I had expected. I feel empathetic towards all the characters, some of them might even stay with me for quite some time. I highly recommend this thought-provoking read, especially for an emotional detox. I will definitely re-read this. The flow was a little problem in some stories, that is why I deducted a star from the rating. I will definitely read the author’s other works, the ones he will write henceforth. For a debutante, he did a good job. It was a short read, a little more than a hundred and fifty pages. There were some social themes, like, adoption, betrayal, exes, and marriages. There are Hindi words used in the book like, ‘didi, beta, suji, khichdi’, etc.

Sattva Rajas Tamas : Legend of Kanishka, The Commoner-King and His Crusade of Faith

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Circa 800 BC: Merit or birth? Meritocracy or dynastic monarchy? King Sarthak of the mighty kingdom of Manukeshwar faces this great dilemma in naming his successor. The contenders to the throne are the upright and virtuous Kanishka, son of a learned Rishi, and his own firstborn, the selfish and arrogant Prince Jaivant. Breaking centuries of oppressive tradition, the King names the valorous commoner as heir. Humiliated and aggrieved, Jaivant bides his time. Using age-old deceit and treachery, he succeeds in usurping the throne. But he does not anticipate the resolve of the ascetic warrior. The stage is set for a mighty struggle. Through an interlinked web of events and emotion, through love, envy, deceit and romance, the book tells the story of a crusade to restore dharma in a kingdom afflicted by despotic dynastic rule. Sattva Rajas Tamas is the story of powerful opposing forces. It is also the tale of a man’s remarkable resolve to keep fighting for truth and justice, to never give up. The ancient tale has disconcerting parallels in our modern times. Though the times have changed, the conflict between dharma and adharma has not.

REVIEW

I loved the cover of the book and would like to have a physical copy. I am a big fan of historical fiction and was really glad to pick this one up. Kanishka was one of the kings who are considered great and the number of kings considered is very few. Thus, I was very intrigued to pick this up. The map helped a lot and I flicked back often to check. I liked the narration and was very engaging. I finished it in a single sitting. It was a little more than two hundred pages. The difference between inheritance and being capable, between meritocracy and dynastic monarchy, was a profound topic/concept in the book. This is one of the major ones, that we see even nowadays, granted in a different way. The chapters are relatively dense and long. The narrative was crisp. The skirmishes were great. I loved the intricate details of the entire book. There were several characters in the book, sometimes I kept on forgetting but overall it was good. I loved the conversation between Nirava and Kanishka, sometimes the latter was darn motivating. A solid read.

Howazatt!?

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Set in the not-so-distant future, the Sci-fiction story revolves around the Indian Cricket captain who is ruthless in victories and believes in winning at all costs. Known for his hard work and mechanical execution of plans, he is the envy of the Cricket world. All is going well with him, and his visibly invincible Indian team, until he meets a suave business tycoon who is set to change the face of sports forever. He throws a challenge at the Indian captain, who finds it hard to refuse. The challenge involves his Indian Team defeating an immaculate team designed and brought into this world, exclusively, to play the sport. This unique challenge, however, is only the beginning. Cricketers from all around the world soon follow the Indian captain in the world of agony and humiliation. The Indian captain’s world begins to fall further apart, as the game of Cricket is snatched away from him and every known human cricketer. With any possible attempt at resurrection neutralized preemptively, the Indian captain falls into the darkness of despair. When all seems to be lost, his close friends set up a meeting between him and a monk, who loves the game of Cricket. With visionary inputs from the monk, the Indian captain develops a fresh perspective of the game and sees hope and purpose in his existence again. Additionally, an intelligent female acquaintance from the past joins hands to provide her expertise and strategy to plot an elegant plan of attack. Armed with the inspiration from the monk, newly instilled self-confidence from his friends, extraordinary vision from the intelligent woman…and a bizarre team of extraordinary individuals, the captain considers himself well and truly on his way to achieve the impossible. But the road to redemption is never a straight path. He will have to battle his own betrayal and face a brutal past before he could again become the leader of the pack. Will he be able to bring the game of Cricket back into human lives? Will he be able to conquer what should be conquered? Or will he fail again in the monumental task that no human being has ever succeeded at? Will he become a winner? Or will he go beyond winning? Written in a crisp, quirky language and celebrating the indomitable human spirit, the book is a science-fiction thriller with the game of Cricket as the backdrop. Narrated in a non-linear fashion, the story has all the elements that go into making a potboiler story like humor, sarcasm, romance, science, data science, robotics, crazy characters, sane characters, self-discovery, self-actualization…and of course, Cricket! The book outlines a roller-coaster journey of human beings in the future learning to rediscover what it entails to be a human being in a technologically advanced world.

REVIEW

The book was very long. I think the book could have been shortened and concise. The book is a mixture of science fiction, dystopian, mental health and philosophy. If one is a fan of cricket especially the ones who are die hard fans might like this book. I liked the narration of the book especially the way the descriptions which were intricately written. Veer is a very typical protagonist, one I had expected. I like the second part where the team was gathering and preparing. I rarely read or see sport themed stuff but I was pleasantly surprised by this. The interview of why the robots were made was really interesting and I wonder whether it would make a great podcast in the audio-book. I love the cover, it is very intelligent and attractive. There is a thrill in the entire book which made the book very engaging. I completed it in roughly five sittings. All subsidiary characters are not well developed thus it was a see saw condition. I like how he hits rock bottom and comes back again. Overall it is a great read.

8 Tasks for a Healthy Mind

REVIEW

Mental health is an area of life that we heavily ignore either willingly or unwillingly. This book can help all those struggling with it as sometimes it isn’t possible to get access to a therapist or sometimes the therapist doesn’t suit us and we do not have an immediate alternative, those are the times when this book comes in handy. There are plenty of books in the market which have details on CBT but none are like this one, as this one is written in a simple lucid language with a self-help angle. There are 8 very easy tasks mentioned in the book. Starting with how one’s week was, to what happened, which incidents left an impact, is there something bothering you to topics like decision making has been touched upon. I read this book twice and have been impressed with the depth of the author. The narration is very interactive hence it is fun to read. There are examples too which are very relatable and realistic, hence it increases one’s understanding. The most important part for me was anger management especially in this amazingly weird situation of the pandemic where I am at home and lose my temper easily. I highly recommend this book if you have not picked it up already. It is truly beneficial.

CINDERELLA IS DEAD

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It’s 200 years since Cinderella found her prince, but the fairytale is over.

Sophia knows the story though, off by heart. Because every girl has to recite it daily, from when she’s tiny until the night she’s sent to the royal ball for choosing. And every girl knows that she has only one chance. For the lives of those not chosen by a man at the ball are forfeit.

But Sophia doesn’t want to be chosen – she’s in love with her best friend, Erin, and hates the idea of being traded like cattle. And when Sophia’s night at the ball goes horribly wrong, she must run for her life. Alone and terrified, she finds herself hiding in Cinderella’s tomb. And there she meets someone who will show her that she has the power to remake her world .

An electrifying twist on the classic fairy tale that will inspire girls to break out of limiting stereotypes and follow their dreams!

REVIEW

I absolutely love the book’s cover. The premise was very intriguing and I liked the concept as it was very unique. Despite the overall story-line being good, the execution was not good enough. The narration was most of the time very flat except the episode when Sophia went to contact Erin before the solstice ball. Constance was my favorite character in the entire book. The queer representation was good. I liked the lesbian romance. The book was marketed against the backdrop of The Black Lives Matter movement, as a black protagonist written by a black author but the skin color or race did not make any difference to the plot whatsoever. The difference in the society between the rich and the poor and the main one: the disparity between man and woman is profound. Domestic violence is a huge trigger and violence against women is the main topic around which everything revolves. Sometimes I found Sophia very blunt and dumb. for example, when she goes to the castle and stumbles upon Cinderella’s room, she understands what is going on after a full chapter. The events in the book were very predictable. I predicted almost everything correctly and it did not impress me. It could have been done much better and I will surely check the author’s other works but this was not for me. I had a question as to what happened to Erin at the end of the book, we know what happened to her husband but what about her? I had some questions which were unanswered. Overall it was okay, nothing great.