Review : Demi-Gods by Eliza Robertson

Pages : 240

Publisher : Bloomsbury Publishing PLC

ISBN : 978-1-4088-9040-0

Demigods is about nine year old Willa and how her life changed overnight in the summer of 1950 with the arrival of her stepbrothers Kenneth and Patrick.

While Joan, Willa’s older sister pairs up with Kenneth the older of the stepbrothers, Willa is stuck with Patrick. As time passes her relationship takes a different turn and turns out to be a very obsessive and damaging one.

When Willa finally realizes the dangers of her relationship with Patrick, she tries to break free from her chains which yields horrendous results. 

Demigods highlights the gender inequality in the 20th century and the sticky situation in which many women of that time found themselves.

This book deals with a lot of strong topics such as gender, sexuality, mental health, familial issues and power struggles but somewhere among all this, the plot of the book is lost to me.

The book is narrated in short episodes and the tension between the characters is constantly maintained. Her descriptions are very vivid and embroidered with intricate details. 

Robertson’s research is well done but all of this doesn’t manage to save the book. The gaping plotholes in the book,  the loopholes in the backstories of the characters make it very inconsistent. There were not enough explanations given. It made up for quite a bizarre and messed up read. 

 My Rating : 2 โญ

Love, 

Zoya ๐Ÿ˜˜
Link to buy the book : Demi-Gods https://www.amazon.in/dp/1408890402/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_i_4C3rAbW8XRD59

https://thebigbiblionaire.wordpress.com/2017/12/02/review-sing-unburied-sing-by-jesmyn-ward/

 https://thebigbiblionaire.wordpress.com/2017/11/15/review-victoria-and-abdul-by-shrabani-basu/

https://thebigbiblionaire.wordpress.com/2017/06/19/travelogue-dubai-day-6-part-i/

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Review : A Word Thrice Uttered by Parveen Talhaย 

Pages –  192 

Publisher – Niyogi Books 

ISBN – 978-93-85285-87-5 

Parveen Talha’s book is a collection of short stories mostly based in Lucknow. A Word Thrice Uttered portrays the diverse realities of life. The protagonists are varied. Children, women, men, animals and even supernatural beings find a voice through this fascinating book. 

With some very refreshing stories that deal with  topics ranging from the supernatural, failed romances, empowerment of women to the innocence of children. The characters are detailed and evolve consistently to adjust to the demands of a culture which has acquired a new face. 

Though some stories may sometimes seem rushed , the topics are indeed hard hitting and every story is a lesson, (but not in a preachy way). The beauty of A Word Thrice Uttered – stories on life’s realities lies in its simplicity. With the essence of Lucknow at its very core, the book connects instantly with the Indian readers. With so many different genres  in this book, it never gets boring. It turned out to be a good, heartwarming read. 
Rating 3.5 stars

Love, 

Zoya๐Ÿ˜˜
Link to buy A Word Thrice Uttered: Stories on Life’s Realities https://www.amazon.in/dp/9385285874/ref=cm_sw_r_other_apa_i_wqRoAbNTHTEA6 

https://thebigbiblionaire.wordpress.com/2017/12/09/review-the-legend-of-kuldhara-by-malathi-ramachamdran/

 https://thebigbiblionaire.wordpress.com/2017/12/02/review-sing-unburied-sing-by-jesmyn-ward/

Review: When Opposites Meet by Sachin Gargย 

Pages – 216

Publisher- Harper Collins 

ISBN- 978-93-5264-589-3

When Opposites Meet is a tale of two complete opposites, Ritwika Dua, a wheelchair bound college student and Chetan Jadhav, a national level athlete. They suffer from opposite manifestations of the same disease. So on one hand we have Ritwika, crippled by atrophied muscles, and bound to a wheelchair and on another we have Chetan with suddenly hypertrophied muscles. The Lamin Gene Mutation doesn’t allow him to be selected for the Olympics as he is mistaken for a drug abuser. 

Helpless and hapless, Chetan has no way to prove his innocence when a strange  note from Professor Lokesh comes, inviting him to meet him. This is where he meets Ritwika, a girl who is about to change his life. The tale of Chetan’s struggle and Ritwika’s support and how companionship can give us the power to overcome the most difficult of obstacles, it’s a story of love in hard times. 

When Opposites Meet enlightens the readers about how we take our health for granted and isolate people who are different from us, without taking a moment to think about them. 

  The characters of Jayant and Aditi who are emotinally opposite and Indu and Lokesh who are socially opposite provides an interesting dimension to the book. 

The book makes for a good read barring a few grammatical errors and loopholes. To me the ending was very rushed and not enough justice was done to the main idea behind the book. Though the story seems far fetched at times, this book offers hope for people.  

When Opposites Meet is the story of love and the possibility of finding it in the most unlikely of places. 

My Rating 3 ๐ŸŒŸ ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ 

Love, 

Zoya ๐Ÿ˜˜

Link to purchase the book –   https://www.amazon.in/dp/9352645898/ref=cm_sw_r_other_apa_i_jOjoAbP3P064V

https://thebigbiblionaire.wordpress.com/2017/12/09/review-the-legend-of-kuldhara-by-malathi-ramachamdran/

https://thebigbiblionaire.wordpress.com/2017/12/02/review-sing-unburied-sing-by-jesmyn-ward/

https://thebigbiblionaire.wordpress.com/2017/11/15/review-victoria-and-abdul-by-shrabani-basu/

https://thebigbiblionaire.wordpress.com/2017/10/26/review-blowfish-by-siddharth-tripathi/ 

Review: The Legend of Kuldhara by Malathi Ramachandran

Pages  – 280 

Publisher – Niyogi books

ISBN – 978-93-86906-00-7

 Pari, a bubbly girl of 16, unaware of her maidenly beauty is often reprimanded by her mother for not doing her chores and for playing with the boys unabashedly on the streets. 

On a visit to Kuldhara, Saalim Singh, the most trusted advisor of the Maharawal sets his lecherous eyes on Pari. The villagers’ only choice were to give huge amounts of taxes to Saalim Singh, give Pari’s hand to him or to fight the massive army of the Maharawal. 

As the story spins to life in the vibrant and colourful streets of Rajasthan, it slowly embeds it’s way in one’s heart.

Like a song, the narration shifts between the incidents of Pari’s life and Parvati, the wife of Saalim Singh and how the life of these two women are interwoven despite them having never met. 

It is about Pari’s fight to give a father to her child while Parvati fights the restraints of her marital life, the story shows the different aspects of womanhood and the impossible strength of a woman. 

The legend of Kuldhara is a tale of unity, family, belonging, friendship, love and womanhood.This tale beautifully encompasses all the stages in a woman’s life, from her early teens where she has no worries to the difficulties of motherhood and makes for a highly recommended read. 

 My Rating- 4.5 โญ

Love,

Zoya ๐Ÿ˜˜
 Link to buy the book – 

 https://www.amazon.in/dp/9386906007/ref=cm_sw_r_other_apa_i_g.7kAb8MMH9TS

https://thebigbiblionaire.wordpress.com/2017/11/15/review-victoria-and-abdul-by-shrabani-basu/ 

https://thebigbiblionaire.wordpress.com/2017/10/26/review-blowfish-by-siddharth-tripathi/

Review : Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Wardย 

Pages -304 

Publisher – Bloomsbury Publications  PLC 

ISBN – 978-1-4088-9103-2 

Jojo is barely thirteen, the offspring of Leonie, a black girl; and Michael, a white man. While his father is in prison, serving time, his mother is hardly a mother with her almost constant state of being “high”. They live in the house of his maternal grandparents Mam and Pop with Kayla, his baby sister. 

While on one hand Jojo has a beautiful relationship with his grandparents, his relationship with Leonie is strained and difficult. Leonie on the other hand , has to often choose between her children and her addiction and it is her children who suffer.  

When their father is about to be released from prison, Leonie packs her bags and her children off to receive him. It is during this journey that most of the story unfolds. 

The accuracy with which Ward depicts the complexities of relationships, shows her deep understanding of the human mind. A troubled teenager who is almost a father to his sister, a woman who doesn’t know who to love, an old man with deep secrets of his past, the book is a beautiful concoction of varied emotions and events. 

 The book is narrated through the point of view of different characters which also includes ghosts that makes it very interesting. Initially the book seems slow , but as the reader proceeds into the story, everything falls into place. 

Ward’s different writing style may prove to be difficult to understand as first, but as we delve into the story and become familiar with the characters it becomes easy. 

 It speaks of strong themes of racism, addiction, parenthood, class differences, bias, injustice and poverty while interweaving it with surrealism and the otherwordly. 

Perhaps it is this eclectic mix of the real and the unreal which has made this book a National Award Winner.

Love, 

Zoya ๐Ÿ˜˜

 Link to buy the book : Sing, Unburied, Sing: WINNER OF THE NATIONAL BOOK AWARD 2017 https://www.amazon.in/dp/1408891034/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_i_UQxiAb907V65D 

https://thebigbiblionaire.wordpress.com/2017/11/15/review-victoria-and-abdul-by-shrabani-basu/ 
 https://thebigbiblionaire.wordpress.com/2017/10/26/review-blowfish-by-siddharth-tripathi/ 

 https://thebigbiblionaire.wordpress.com/2017/07/10/travelogue-dubai-day-9/

https://thebigbiblionaire.wordpress.com/2017/11/28/review-flying-without-wings-by-rishabh-puri/

Review: Flying Without Wings by Rishabh Puriย 

Pages – 190 

Publisher – HarperCollins India

ISBN – 9789352773206
She sees flights taking off to different parts of the worlds, families reunited and wonders about the love they have each day; as she works on her shift at the airport.

Never having set foot outside the town of Chandigarh, Milli finds her escape in the story books she reads, dreaming about a future she knows is only confined to her dreams.

An addict in the name of a mother, a father who left them when they were young, a brother in the army and a crumbling house, Milli craves for a real family. Struggling to make ends meet and needing someone to talk to, she downloads Clikrr, a dating app to give her atleast temporary respite from her loneliness.

And she swiped right on Karan.

Karan Singhania seems to have everything in the world one could ever think of. On the surface. A deepest tragedy at it’s core, the book pulls at your heart strings more than once.

A simple middle class girl, will Milli fit into Karan’s life? What are the secrets that Karan is keeping from her? Can love via a dating app can actually be love? Will Karan be able to trust Milli after his string of girlfriends who have only used him for money? Will they be able to sail through the tragedies that befall them.

Though the story sometimes seems a little bit Bollywood-ish but we must account for the fact that movies are inspired by real life. Also, I believe this work is very close to the author’s heart as I feel that Karan’s character  is  inspired by his own life.

A beautiful love story, lives filled with tragedy , a very brave man who never gives up on hope and a strong, wilful girl. Can they fly without wings? Can they fly at all?

Love,

Zoya ๐Ÿ˜˜

Flying Without Wings (Ravinder Singh Presents) https://www.amazon.in/dp/9352773209/ref=cm_sw_r_other_apa_i_.dF.zb1VXG34M

Review: Victoria and Abdul by Shrabani Basu 

Review: Blowfish by Siddharth Tripathi

Travelogue: Dubai Day 1

Review: Victoria and Abdul by Shrabani Basuย 

288 pages

Published: 2017 (updated edition) 

ISBN :  9789387146174 

Young and handsome, a 24 year old Abdul, is dispatched to Agra to present the Queen with a ‘mohar’ for her Golden Jubilee celebrations. 
 The young Indian man, immediately catches the elderly Queen’s attention and what was supposed to be a short trip becomes a temporary arrangement. Abdul Karim and his companion Mohammed Buksh soon find themselves waiting tables for her Majesty. 

Though Buksh remains in the position of  a servant, Abdul escalates to higher positions strikingly fast, much to the consternation of the entire household. 

He begins to share with his Queen, tales from India, who is fascinated by this land she rules but is barred to visit. Abdul Karim becomes the Queen’s Munshi or Teacher and gives her lessons in Hindustani. Over her lifetime, the longest living monarch despite her rigorous duties of ruling the biggest empire in the world manages to finish 13 hefty volumes of her diaries with her Urdu lessons. 

In a country where he was alone, from being a servant, to moving in the upper echelons of English as well as Indian aristocracy, the rise and rise of Abdul Karim was phenomenal. This did not go down unnoticed by the household who hated every move he made and read deeper into everything he did. They did their best to defame him and convince the queen to get rid of him.

Shrabani Basu weaves the tale of an Empress, a mother, a friend and a humble servant with her beautiful words seamlessly blending into each other. The beauty and genius of her narration lies in the fact that this non fiction seems almost like fiction. Who said reality could not be magical? 

The future rulers did everything in their power to destroy the presence of this young man from the face of history who was the friend and companion of the Kaiser-e-Hind in the  last years  of her life. But as they say , the truth will be uncovered someday.  

Interspersed with personal diary entries, authentic pictures, newspaper reports and articles, this well researched book gives a new insight into the Queen’s personal life. Her Majesty’s enthusiasm for the Oriental , her high esteem of her Indian subjects and her dedication to know and understand the language of the country she was a ruler of, all stemmed from one man, Munshi Hafiz Abdul Karim. 

This is the true story of the unbelievable friendship between the Queen Victoria of royal blood and a humble man of no lineage. The friendship between The Crown and a servant. A beautiful story that is also the truth.

Love, 

Zoya ๐Ÿ˜˜ 

Link to buy the book – Victoria (Movie Tie-in): The True Story of the Queen’s Closest Confidant https://www.amazon.in/dp/0525434410/ref=cm_sw_r_other_apa_i_GdF.zbB32Y2FY

https://thebigbiblionaire.wordpress.com/2017/01/17/review-my-name-is-red-by-orhan-pamuk/ 

Review: The Colours of Passion by Sourabh Mukherjee

238 pages

Published: August 1, 2017

ISBN13: 9789385854453 

Hiya Sen, is the Tollywood star who has gone from rags to riches in no time. Her life is a  perfect example of a fairytale.  From the village of Burdwan where survival was tough to the posh luxuries of Kolkata. She is at the height of stardom. Tollywood’s darling gets married to the most eligible bachelor Manav Chauhan. Few days later she is found brutally raped and murdered on a desolate road. 

Why would anyone kill the sweetheart of millions?

Manav Chauhan, handsome with an escalating business and a sprawling fortune is the most eligible bachelor of Kolkata. The business tycoon falls in love with the very beautiful Hiya who has an affair with another man while they are engaged. 

Was he really kind enough to forgive this lack of judgement by his wife? 

Neha Awasthi , ex fiancee and childhood friend of Manav is almost left at the altar by him. 

A spurned woman is a dangerous enemy. What lengths can she go to get Manav back? 

Deepak Awasthi  had to gain a lot from his daughter’s and Manav’s marriage. As Manav walked out of the marriage, his plans for his business were collapsing in front of his eyes. 

Can he take the immense losses in his stride?

Rituja Bose, former Tollywood diva clutching at her long lost fame. A passionate woman who holds her grudges. A public spat on a movie set with the younger actress and the threat of losing the role, is she the one?

An alcoholic model, Mayank has an affair with Hiya while she is engaged to Manav. A distraught lover, rejected by the woman he loves for a richer man. 

Among the starry lights of cinema and modelling, the rich and the famous, the suspects are a galore and ACP Agnimitra has to get to the heart of the crime.

From the first chapter itself , Colours of Passion piques the curiousity of the reader. The suspense builds up as plot thickens. As the reader delves deeper into the book, it becomes increasingly difficult to guess who the killer is. The book also looks into the psychology of the killer and shows us how the mind convinces itself of the righteousness of it’s action. Overall it makes for a gripping read.

 If you are looking for a thriller that holds your attention and keeps you on your toes , this is the book to pick up. 

Love, 

Zoya ๐Ÿ˜˜ 

Link: The Colours of Passion: Unravelling Dark Secrets Behind the Limelight https://www.amazon.in/dp/9385854453/ref=cm_sw_r_other_apa_i_n.E.zb1ZGMXN0 

https://thebigbiblionaire.wordpress.com/2017/10/26/review-blowfish-by-siddharth-tripathi/ 
https://thebigbiblionaire.wordpress.com/2017/10/08/review-baaz-by-anuja-chauhan/

Review: Blowfish by Siddharth Tripathi

296 pages

Published : September 21, 2017

ISBN13 : 9789386643315

 

Mukund is every other guy in India. After completing his education, he has landed himself a job in one of the MNCs in the concrete jungle of Gurgaon. Few years into the job , he has earned himself a considerable bank balance, a WagonR and a paunch to make him a respectable member of the 9 to 5 society. Despite having a cushy job where he does the bare minimum and still manages to have his salary reach his bank account, he is unsatisfied and unhappy with his job and his life.

Wallowing in regrets and hating work, when he realizes his company is about to chuck him soon , instead of trying to save his job , he quits in order to pursue his true passion. Though his friends, Chaddha and Sampu crib about their jobs just as much, they are taken aback equally by Mukund’s rash decision.
Mukund on the other hand wants to pursue his calling , but there’s a glitch. He needs to find it first.  In this mess of his life, where every thing seems to be going haywire, he meets Suman who is just as confused as him.

Weeks pass by without him finding out what he wants to do, dejection grips him like an ice cold iron clamp around his heart when the housing society Secretary, Colonel Harpal Singh targets him and makes his life more miserable than it already is. He finds in him a reflection of his estranged son and places him under “house arrest”. Trials in a kangaroo court and a ludicrous duel, the threat of losing everything, Mukund’s life is quickly becoming a perfect example of what not to do in life, or is it?

Siddharth Tripathi’s Blowfish addresses India’s obsession with big cars and beautiful bungalows which are the only acceptable symbols of success. It shows a young man’s courage to take a decision that most would not be able to take and trying to find happiness amidst the rat race of money and power. Filled with quirky anecdotes, the cutely weird and highly relatable characters make the book a delightful read.

Pursuing a passion and trying to find joy in a country where the youth is coerced into believing that money, success and happiness are the same thing, is an act of immense courage. Chaddha’s frustration at losing his job, Sampu’s inabilty to deal with his impending fatherhood, Bumbum’s loyalty towards his employers and love for Fulki,  Harpal Singh’s inexplicable behaviour towards Mukund  and Rani Devi, the desi police inspector are all incredibly flawed, thus making the characters very real. The book is for all the people out there who are not sure where their lives are going and  for everybody else who could do with a few laughs. ( Don’t we all? ) Tripathi’s light hearted narration, with the comical antics of the characters make the journey a deliciously fun ride.

Love,

Zoya ๐Ÿ˜˜
  Blowfish https://www.amazon.in/dp/9386643316/ref=cm_sw_r_other_apa_i_AcF.zbMEHHX7N

Review: Baaz by Anuja Chauhanย 

Only those authors who have done things differently,have managed to carve a niche for themselves in this cut-throat competition, to be someone who is loved by the audience.

Anuja Chauhan, by seamlessly mixing Hindi and English in her writing, has made her work very relatable to the urban Indian audience, which not only speaks but also thinks in Hinglish.

Baaz, her fifth book, is a tribute to our men in  uniform. It shows us civilians, how much they give up to do  what they do. A big salute to all these great men and their families who sacrifice everything for the nation.

Why do they call you Baaz?” 

‘It means falcon,’ he replies solemnly. ‘ Or bird of prey. Because I swoop down on the enemy just like a Baaz would.’ 

Then he grins. The grey eyes sparkle. 

‘It’s also short for bastard.’

Ishaan Faujdaar, our protagonist is the adorable Air Force Officer no one can resist. From Chakkahera , a small village in Haryana to the illustrious IAF, Ishaan with his charm and talent makes the audience love him and root for him despite his cockiness.

War between the USSR backed India-Mukti Bahini alliance and America-aided Pakistan, 1971 is the perfect opportunity for the star of IAF to prove his mettle.

His Gnat, a tiny fighter plane has brought about massive destruction to F-86 Sabre Squadrons of Pakistan and has earned him the title of Sabre Slayer.

He is quite satisfied with his life when Tehmina Dadyseth breezes into his life, with her strong opinions, her Freesia ads and makes him question the very foundations of his. Having lost her loved ones in the name of patriotism, she is a  pacifist who hates the very idea of war.

The characters of Kung Fui , Tehmina’s aunt with her incredible sass and sauce; Raks and Maddy, his awesome buddies with their jokes and goofiness ; and fellow Gnatties Jana Gana Mana who are with Shaanu on his quest for glory and adventure make the story memorable and fun.

Twists, turns, war and a beautiful love affair keep the content interesting and the reader hooked.

Enough said, go pick it up yourselves . The weekend calls for some love, laughter and Baaz.

Love,

Zoya ๐Ÿ˜˜

Review: You Never Know by Akash Verma 

The Forty Rules of Love by Elif Shafak