Mystery Blogger Award

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Hi everyone! Today I am going to attempt the Mystery Blogger Award. This award was created by Okoto Enigma (check out here for more details). I was tagged by lovely Mridula for this award. Thank you so much Mridula for taking out time to check my posts and for nominating me for this award. Guys, check out her book blog here. She is currently hosting an interesting bookish meme called, ‘Bookish Discovery This Week‘ with another Indian book blogger Tavleen.

 

What is Mystery Blogger Award?

According to its creator Okoto Enigma, “Mystery Blogger Award is an award for amazing bloggers with ingenious posts. Their blog not only captivates; it inspires and motivates. They are one of the best out there, and they deserve every recognition they get. This award is also for bloggers who find fun and inspiration in blogging; and they do it with so much love and passion.”

 

Rules:

  1. Put the award logo/image on your blog
  2. List the rules
  3. Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to their blog
  4. Mention the creator of the award
  5. Tell your readers 3 things about yourself
  6. Nominate up to 10 people
  7. Notify your nominees by commenting on their blog
  8. Ask your nominees any five questions of your choice; with one weird or funny question
  9. Share a link to your best post(s)

 

Three Facts About Me:

  1. I am an obsessive tea lover. I usually have three cups a day. I am very specific about how it is made and consider steeped tea ghastly.
  2. I love cooking. I am not much into spicy food (which limits my menu options in India). So most of the times I try to cook something new at home.
  3. I have recently taken interest in origami and paper quilling. When I am not reading, I like to watch and learn from youtube tutorials.

 

Questions Asked by Mridula:

  1. Your “once in a lifetime” read? The Complete Maus by Art Spiegelman. This book has changed the way I see the world. Words fall short when it comes to praising this book.
  2. What’s your favorite color? Not one. I like black and white equally. Light and shadow. 🙂
  3. A random road trip or a planned vacation? I am a control freak so a well-planned vacation always. 😀
  4. How many books in your TBR? My TBR is never ending.
  5. What’s your favorite food? I love home cooked Chicken/Mutton Pulao.

 

My Five Questions:

  1. Which one would you prefer- city life or country life?
  2. Which fantasy world would you happily live in? (you have to select one, can’t say I prefer my own world)
  3. Tell us your favorite bookish quote.
  4. Which is your most treasured book or bookish merchandise? (post picture if you can)
  5. Recommend one TV series based on book.

 

My Best Post(s): Here are few of my posts that you may enjoy!

  1. The Bookling’s Crate- May Unboxing 2017
  2. The THC: Under a Gibbous Moon- Review
  3. A Court of Wings and Ruin- Review

 

Nominees for Mystery Blogger Post:

  1. Paperbacks for Life
  2. The Common Shelf
  3. Fictionophile
  4. The Orangutan Librarian
  5. Perspective of a Writer
  6. MNBernard Books
  7. Book Princess Reviews
  8. Book Reviews by Shalini
  9. Teacher of YA


Thank you for reading this post. Hope you liked it. Follow me on Twitter and Instagram. I share my book related thoughts and photos there.

Read and Prosper!

The Bookling’s Crate- May Unboxing 2017

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Michael Palin once said, ‘Once the travel bug bites there is no known antidote, and I know that I shall be happily infected until the end of my life’. And that is The Bookling’s Crate’s theme for May- ‘Travel the World’.  The Bookling’s Crate is a monthly book subscription box based in India. They deliver a paperback book along with some quirky book related items every month. Each month their curator picks out a newly released young-adult book based on popularity and readers review. They have two subscription plans- Pocket friendly and Half ticket. Check out their website for more details.

 

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Review:

I won their May box in an Instagram giveaway. Theme of the month was Travel the World. Following are the products included in the box:

  • First thing inside the box is a card with cute print related to the theme ‘Travel the World’. It mentions all the contents inside the box. There is another art card related to the theme designed by cartoon artist Amol. Quality of both the cards are brilliant. Card paper is thick with glossy finish and lively print. Both the cards adorn my bookshelf now.
  • Next we have four stickers related to traveling. Quality of paper is good. Print quality is not as good as cards but still nice. If you are a bookstagrammer these will be useful for taking bookish pictures. I have clicked quite a few pictures with these stickers. Check them out on my Instagram page.
  • Next item is a personalized luggage tag which comes with a plastic strap. My name is printed on it. I love Bookling’s Crate for getting my name correct. I have an unusual name. So whenever I order a personalized item, most of times there is spelling mistake which ruins the experience for me. But I loved this tag to bits. Dying to take it with me on my next trip.
  • They have included a compass in this month’s box. This is my second favorite item in the box. Ever since I got it, I have been trying to find innovative ways to flaunt it. I have clicked few pictures for Instagram with it.
  • Next is a felt-popsicle heart shaped bookmark. It is my least favorite item among all. I love DIY bookmarks but this one is not up to the mark. If you look at the picture, you can see that the edges of the bookmark are uneven. Also I didn’t like the color combination.
  • It is always lovely to get a packet of tea or coffee in a subscription box. This month Bookling’s crate has included a packet of coffee powder from Beanstalk & Leaves. I am a tea lover essentially. It is my fuel. But once in a while I like to have a hot cup of coffee. So I was happy to get this packet.
  • Next thing is my favorite item in the box. It is a travel tote with a beautiful print which says ‘Let the adventure begin’. I love that it is in black color. Almost all bookish totes are in white color. The size is perfect (I hate oversize bags). Put your book or tablet inside along with few other items and you are good to go.
  • Last thing inside is off-course the book. For the month of May they selected newly released paperback copy of Windfall by Jennifer E. Smith. It is a contemporary young-adult romance fiction. This book is much talked about in the bookish circles. Almost all well-known booktubers talked about it in their reviews and book discussions. It was May Booksplosion book of the month on booktube. I have read the book and review will be up soon on this blog. I have included the synopsis.

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Synopsis: Alice doesn’t believe in luck or love.  On the eighteenth birthday of her friend, Teddy, she buys him a lottery ticket and he wins $140 million, and in an instant, everything changes. They negotiate the ripple effects of Teddy’s newfound wealth and a gulf opens between them. Soon, the money starts to feel like more of a curse than a windfall. As they try to find their way back to each other, Alice learns more about herself than she ever could have imagined  and about the unexpected ways in which luck and love sometimes intersect.

So these are all the contents inside the box. If you want to place an order, go to their website or DM them on Instagram. Also, I want to mention that it is not a sponsored post. This is my first bookish box and I wanted to share it with you all.

Hope you liked this post. Let me know in the comments section which are some of your favorite bookish subscription boxes? If you have any suggestions feel free to share them.

If you like this post, please share it with your friends. Also, do not forget to follow me on Twitter and Instagram. I share my book related thoughts and photos there.

Until the next post, bye!

The THC: Under a Gibbous Moon- Review

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The THC: Under a Gibbous Moon by Manoj V Jain
  • Language: English
  • Genre: Adult Fiction
  • Paperback: 194 pages
  • Publishing Date: 23 October 2016
  • Author: Manoj V Jain
  • Publisher: Notion Press, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1946129828
  • ISBN-13: 9781946129826

Blurb:

“Now look at the person in the mirror and tell her that you love her.”
Sanjaneka stared and stared, unable to utter the simple words aloud.
Why is Sanjaneka unable to love herself? What past is she running away from?
How does an Uber ride help Samar to save his marriage?
Why does the dull moonlight of a gibbous moon trouble Varun so much?
Three lives. One Utopian centre.
The Total Holistic Centre (The THC) welcomes the broken and those looking for closure through its doors and works its magic to return them to the world fulfilled. This is the story of these three troubled souls who seek solace at the centre, indulge in its unusual treatment and find the cures to their ailments in surprising places.
A book on loss, longing and changing circumstances, The THC dives into uncomfortable topics that are usually swept under the rug: fragile relationships, deteriorating marriages, addictions, impotence, and the delicate bond between fathers and sons.
Welcome to the THC.

Review:

I received this book as an Instagram giveaway prize. This is author Manoj V. Jain’s second book. His first book was The BNO (Sex, Life and Hookah) which was about boys casual night out. Like his previous book this one is also an adult-fiction. The story revolves around three individuals who are in their late forties and suffering from different mental and physical illness. They visit a holistic centre named The THC (Total Holistic Centre) to cure their ailments and somehow become friends. THC is a wellness centre where people admit themselves to get rid of their physical and mental troubles and move on with their lives.

Samar Bhatnagar is a married man suffering from nicotine addiction and impotence. Sanjaneka Khurana is a widow, suffering from Arthritis and Genophobia. Varun Agarkar is a family man who is suffering from Insomnia and Mild Depression. As the story unfolds, we get to know how their ailments are outcome of their lifestyle choices. Author takes us to their past where we discover that each of them have hidden sexual issues which they have repressed for a long time.

The narrative is bold, straightforward and engaging. Unlike some writers Mr. Jain has kept the plot and characters relatable. Samar, Sanjaneka and Varun come from different walks of life. Every day we come across such individuals in our daily life and yet fail to see through their deceptive mask of happiness. The story is all about accepting your faults and hidden side in order to move forward. The holistic centre provided these people much required isolation, solace and guidance to sort out their lives.

I liked the way author wrote about homosexuality and marriage in this book. People frequently talk about coming out of closet but rarely converse about becoming aware of your sexual orientation and accepting it. In India homosexuality is still a taboo. It is not generally discussed openly and often swept under the rug. Marriage on the other hand is treated as a sacred institution which must be upheld at any cost. Most people stifle under the excessive pressure of marital responsibility and compromise. Author put commendable effort and dealt with both the topics in a honest manner.

The book consists of many elaborate sex scenes, some of which are completely unnecessary. There is a scene in the story where Samar and his friends meet for a drink and chat about their sexual lives with each other. It was completely needless and could have been avoided. As a sub-plot it didn’t help the main story in any way. Also Samar’s story is not as appealing as Sanjaneka & Varun’s. Those pages could have been devoted to develop Samar’s back-story rather than focusing on the pointless sexual encounters.

The surprise at the climax, where author connected Sanjaneka’s story with Varun’s was really interesting. But somehow the closure of the story was not gratifying and it ended abruptly. I was expecting much more from these characters (at least from Sanjaneka and Varun). I would recommend this book as an onetime read for anyone who wants to read a bold adult-fiction with relatable characters.

Rating: 2.5/5

A Court of Wings and Ruin- Review

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Blurb:

Feyre has returned to the Spring Court, determined to gather information on Tamlin’s maneuverings and the invading king threatening to bring Prythian to its knees. But to do so she must play a deadly game of deceit –and one slip may spell doom not only for Feyre, but for her world as well. As war bears down upon them all, Feyre must decide who to trust amongst the dazzling and lethal High Lords – and hunt for allies in unexpected places. In this thrilling third book in the #1 New York Times bestselling series from Sarah J. Maas, the earth will be painted red as mighty armies grapple for power over the one thing that could destroy them all. Contains mature content. Not suitable for younger readers.

 

Review:

A Court of Wings and Ruin is the third book in Sarah J. Mass’ epic fantasy series- A Court of Thorn and Roses. This is Mass’ second fantasy series after her bestselling series Throne of Glass.  This review contains spoilers, so do not read it if you haven’t read the book yet (or if you are still reading it). The story didn’t engross me like A Court of Mist and Fury, which I finished in one sitting. The character development and world building in this book is more widespread and well-developed but the lack of twists and turns made the story a little dragged-out.

The tale picks up where A Court of Mist and Fury left off. Feyre is at Spring Court, trying to rip apart Tamlin’s court from inside. I was looking forward to this part where Feyre is supposed to be deceitful and sneaky. But instead of gathering information on Hybern’s war strategy and Tamlin’s maneuverings, she just kept fuming inside about how much she hated Tamlin and Ianthe. I still don’t understand how she took down Spring court by gaining trust of people. These people are serving Tamlin for hundreds of years and they revolt against him because of Feyre? The reason was not compelling enough. Also in order to avoid misinterpretation, Feyre continuously explains her actions in monologue, which made this part of the story really drawn-out.

The story becomes interesting once she gets out of Spring court. The part where she fights Hybern twins and confronts Ianthe is well-written. I liked the way Mass portrayed Feyre-Lucien moments. It is not overdone. Lucien is one of the most compelling character in this series. He is given a larger role in this book as compared to the last one. More time should have been devoted to Lucien’s role in the war which has been completely omitted. Considering that Mass is coming up with new books in this series, it is not hard to decipher that she is saving Lucien-Elain story arc for one of the next books.

As usual sex scenes in the book are pretty melodramatic and exaggerated, along with the excessive use of words such as ‘mate’, ‘purring’, ‘growling’ etc. There is a scene in the book where Feyre is drenched in blood & sweat and Rhysand offers to lick every inch of her clean. It is supposed to be a flirtatious banter between them but it was utterly cringe worthy.

The best part of this book is still world building. First two books were dedicated to Spring court and Night court. But in this one we finally get to see more of other Prythian courts and their High Lords. The back-story of the High Lords and other secondary characters added depth to the story (loved Mor & Viviane’s girl bonding). In the past, many readers pointed out that Mass’ books are Eurocentric and lack diversity. She really made a serious effort this time to add more diversity in terms of skin-tone and sexual orientation. However, the representation is far from perfect and includes many stereotypes which are commonly associated with LGBTQ people.

As the relationship between Feyre and Rhysand is already established, Mass focused more on the development of secondary characters. We get to spend more time with Inner Circle along with Nesta and Elain. Each one of them has their own emotional turmoil which is portrayed skillfully. After being made by the Cauldron, Nesta and Elain are suffering from PTSD and fighting it in their own way.  Mor, Cassian and Azriel have their own emotional dilemmas to deal with.

Not only the High-fae and newly introduced human characters (Jurian, Graysen) are given adequate amount of page-time but we get some actual revelations about Amren, Bone Carver and Weaver of the Wood (Stryga). Their history & identity is revealed along with how they ended up in this world.

Most of the story revolves around finding potential allies and negotiating terms of the war. I liked how the battle has been divided between different places and not turned into some epic one day war. It was interesting to see the ancient creatures helping our heroes in the war. I was really worried about how Mass is going to wrap up the series. Whether she will kill any major character or not. Turns out she ‘killed’ and brought back two characters to life. It is kind of strange how none of the major characters die in the end. I liked how she ended things with Tamlin. He is one of the most complex character in the book and I hope that Mass writes more about him in her upcoming books.

Mass’ writing style is not for everyone. She is by no means a terrible writer. She just needs to curb her tendency of exaggerating the narrative with unnecessary adjectives. As I pointed out earlier also, her world building is phenomenal and she writes characters so well that readers instantly fall in love with them. Her writing style is not faultless. But with every new book she is improving and that’s what matters in the end.

My rating: 3.5/5

Top Five Childhood Books

There is something about stories we read as a child that have access to the rawest of nerves. Couple of days ago, I went to my favorite bookstore. While walking through the aisles, somehow I ended up in the children’s section. There in the middle of a book store, I started reminiscing about the time when I was getting into reading. As a kid, I used to read a lot of Hindi and Bengali books. I want to share these books with you. Most of them are written in regional language but the English translation of the same are easily available online. All these books are very close to my heart and shaped my identity as a reader that I am today.

  1. Panchatantra: One of my all time favorite childhood book is Panchatantra. I used to re-read this book a lot while growing up. As a child, I was fascinated by the stories of talking animals and birds who imparted life lessons. These fables are part of India’s oral story telling culture. The inter-woven stories written in the form of prose & poetry are really popular among Indian kids. Written originally in Sanskrit in 3rd century BC, these stories have been translated into many languages since then. It is considered one of the most translated Indian books of all time.

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  1. Indian Fairy Tales: If there is one phrase that dominated my childhood years, then it is ‘once upon a time’ or as we say in Bengali ‘ekoda ek somoy’. I loved fairy tales as a kid. There is a small innocent part inside me which still believes in fairy tales. Stories about princes & princesses, evil kings & queens, magical objects, fairy godmother enchant every kid on this planet and I was no exception. I loved the concept of good vs. evil. It made me realize that the world is full of good and awful things and in the end it is up to us what we select. My early memories of reading include curling up in a sofa and vanishing into another world of magic and mystery.

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  1. Mythological tales: Mythological tales are integral part of any kid’s upbringing in India. No matter which religion we belong to, our mothers and grandmothers always tells us tales of Ramayan, Mahabharat, Quran, Bible etc. My mum used to tell me stories from these epic sagas on lazy afternoons. These are the first stories I remember reading as a child. I had many such short story books which contained fables of Hinduism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism etc. These books developed my appetite for Greek, Roman, Norse, Egyptian and Celtic mythology. I still enjoy reading books from this genre.

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  1. Feluda Stories: Being a Bengali girl how can I forget about Feluda; every Bengali girl’s first crush. While the whole world is enamored by Sherlock Holmes and Hercule Poirot, we Bengalis have our much loved desi detective Feluda, created by Satyajit Ray. I love my usual dose of western detectives but Feluda is home to me. He is one of the very first fictional Indian detectives who rather than hiding behind pseudo intellectual identity of truth-finder or adventurer, openly claimed private investigation as his profession. While most of the other sleuths are either reclusive or have eccentric habits, he enjoys good company and appreciates finer things in life. His polite behavior, agreeable disposition and humorous take on life sets him apart from the other detectives.

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  1. Indian Comics: This list will be incomplete without talking about my love for Indian comic books. As a 90’s kid, comic books were my lifeline during summer vacations. While other kids used to play video games, I used to devour these books. I was completely in love with outrageously exaggerated tales, cheesy dialogues and melodramatic plot twists. I have read all kinds of Indian comic books and children magazines. From Hindi comics (Chacha Chowdhry, Billu, Pinki, Nagraj, Doga, Super Commando Dhruv etc.) to English ones (Suppandi, Shikari Shabhu, Tantri the Mantri etc.) to Bengali ones (Nante-Fonte, Handa Bhonda, Bantul the Great etc.). Yes, I know that I am a complete Indian comic book nerd and I am not ashamed of it.

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So these are the books I loved as a kid. Hope you liked this list. Let me know in the comments section what are some of your favorite books from childhood? If you have any suggestions feel free to share them.

If you like this list, please share this with your friends. Also, do not forget to follow me on Twitter and Instagram. I share my book related thoughts and photos there.

Until the next post, bye!