Saturday, 30 November 2013

Tag Time: The Completed Series Tag.

1. Ah! Enid Blyton! I love her books. Her books are basically my entire childhood reading. I adore her books and their characters. 

I have read the entire Famous Five series and loved it! I want some the distant future buy all the books and add to my personal collection. Ah! Some day! Fingers crossed!

2. Of course I've read the entire Harry Potter series...multiple times over. Love it!

3. I read the Hunger Games series is much hyped-up Young Adult  book series that I am sure most of you have heard about and even read. I heard of these books around 2011 and got the first one and really enjoyed it. Then I got the second and third ones and breezed through them. I hadn't read a dystopian book till I read this one and I didn't know what to expect going in. I was quite surprised that I enjoyed it. 

Looking back though I have quite a few issues with these books. For one, the whole idea of this society remaining silent for 75 years and letting the Hunger Games go on and watching the live telecast of children engaging in deadly hand-to-hand combat and fighting till death is just absurd! Why would you wait so long revolt? 

I also wasn't a big fan of the lack of information about why the world turned out like this. I hate dystopian books that don't explain why the world is the way it is. 

But these books are largely enjoyable and quick, fast reads and full of action.

4. The Chemical Garden Series is another dystopian series that I have finished! I read all 3 books back to back and quite enjoyed them. 

In this world, boys die by the age of 25 and girls by 21. So in order to have as many descendants as possible boys have multiple wives and try to have as many kids as they can. The reason for these dire state of affairs is that generations back in order to live for longer, people basically have genetically engineered children. The first generation after these treatments led to perfect offspring and healthy people. But the next generation suffered as a consequence and began dying in their twenties. 

I liked the world building in these books and enjoyed them overall.  

5. I went through a huge Meg Cabot phase a couple of years ago and read quite a few of her books. I loved these books. They are about a 20 something girl who used to be a rather famous pop-singer but now after having many flops now works in dorm and manages it. She also sleuths and solves murders in all three books. 

These are typical chick-lit books that are hugely entertaining. 

6. A two-set series that I enjoyed immensely and actually want to re-read soon. It's about a arty teenage girl who accidentally saves the President and is an instant celebrity as a result. 

Sweet, funny and with a bit of romance these books were very fun. 

7. The Queen of Babble books are abut a girl who shoots her mouth of and usually gets into a world of trouble. I don't remember much about these books apart from the fact that the girl was a designer..and that the romance was really sweet. 

8. Ah...I loved the Shopaholic books when they first came out and I read them. But now...I just really don't like these books. Becky Bloomwood is a menace. I really see no character growth in her and she remains just as immature and ridiculous from book one to book six. I probably won't be reading any more books in this series..I am sorta done with it. 

9. Technically not book series but I love the Tintin comic books and have read all of them. They are due for a re-read real soon. 

10. Yes, I've read all the books in the Twilight Saga (really?!). The first book was amazing! Really amazing. I have no shame in admitting that. The second was OK and the third one was decent too. The fourth and final book though was just....horrid! I wish I had stopped after the third one but alas!

11. I recently finished the Divergent recently and I have mixed feeling. The first book was awesome. I read it in a few hours and just couldn't put it down. I loved it! 

The second one I ordered the moment it came out and was really excited. But I put off reading it for months and months...I would pick it up and leave it. Finally, after months of getting it I made myself read it and enjoyed it moderately. 

The third and final book came out last month and I once again got it immediately. I really didn't enjoy this book and was disappointed greatly by it. 

These are all the series I've read in whole...oh wait there is also The Fifty-Shade of Grey books that I've read but forgot to mention earlier. 

Which series have you finished entirely? 
Have you read any of these series?
Do you have a series that you'd recommend? 

Tell Tell!

Friday, 29 November 2013

Friday Favourites: Part III.

1. Pretty little bracelet stacks, I am horribly partial to turquoise and love wearing it alone or paired with other colours. 

The bracelets in the picture above are all from Forever 21. 

The ones below are from Accessorize and Forever New. 

2. Cute little bookmarks, I love them, buy them, hoard them and use them. I like mine pretty, funky and unique. The one with the elephant trio is made of elephant poop. I am not joking. Elephant poop...but it doesn't smell if you were wondering. :) 

3. Bright orange-coral lipsticks. This one from Maybelline is a matte finish lippie that doesn't over dry the lips and it rather moisturizing. 

4. The Lowland just might be my favourite book of the year. I love Jhumpa Lahiri. I love the stories, the people and her writing is exquisite. I haven't done a review for this book yet...but I intend to. I didn't want to write a review right after I finished the book because I didn't want to gush a bit too much. But I will have a review up soon.   

5. I have been loving the Tea Trunk teas. The rose one is especially lovely! 

Hope you are having a wonderful Friday. 

Have a great weekend you guys! 

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Recommendation: Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie

Book: Murder on the Orient Express

Author: Agatha Christie

Pages: 322 

Plot Summary: Just after midnight, the famous Orient Express is stopped in its tracks by a snowdrift. By morning, the millionaire Samuel Ratchett lies dead in his compartment, stabbed a dozen times, his door locked from the inside. One of his fellow passengers must be the murderer.

Isolated by the storm and with a killer in their midst, detective Hercule Poirot must find the killer amongst a dozen of the dead man's enemies, before the murderer decides to strike again. 

My Thoughts: I first read Murder on the Orient Express when I was 12-13 years old and I just loved it! I re-read it last night (because I wanted something comforting) and I still loved it. The story is a simple yet intriguing one. A bunch of people are travelling on the train in the thick of winter. In the posh first class compartment, on a night when the train is snowed in, a rich man is found stabbed 12 times to death. Poirot, a fellow passenger, is entrusted with solving the case. 

This story touches upon many themes, which can be debated till kingdom come. For instance, what is true justice? Who should be meting out this justice? Who is the victim? Is the person who was, literally, killed? Or are the people around the actual victim also victims at the hands of the criminal? 

With very little resources and only his brilliance and ingenuity to fall back upon, Poirot unearths the deep motivations that drive this, seemingly, random yet brutal murder. 

This is a must-read book for anyone who enjoys a nicely crafted whodunit. 

I would highly, highly recommend it. 

Rating: 4.5/5 

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Review: A Matter of Time by Shashi Deshpande.

Book: A Matter of Time

Author: Shashi Deshpande

Pages: 269

How Long it Took Me to Read: 2 days

Plot Summary: One morning, with no warning, Gopal -- respected professor, devoted husband, and caring father -- walks out on his family for reasons even he cannot articulate. His wife, Sumi, returns with their three daughters to the shelter of the Big House where her parents, Kalyani and Shripati, live in oppressive silence: they have not spoken to each other in thirty-five years. 

As the mystery of this long silence is unraveled, a horrifying story of suffering and loss is laid bare, a story that seems to be repeating itself in Sumi's life.Set in present day Karnataka, A Matter of Time explores the intricate relationships within an extended family encompassing three generations. Images from Hindu religion, myth, and local history twine delicately with images of contemporary India as this family faces and accepts the changes that have suddenly become part of their lives. As their secrets and strengths are revealed, so are the complications of family and culture. This multi-generational story, told in the individual voices of the characters, catches each in turn in the cycles of love, loss, strength, and renewal that become an essential part of their identities. 

General Thoughts and Review: 

I hadn't read a Shashi Deshpande book in ages. Well, since college when The Binding Vine was a part of my second year course work. It was good book but an immensely sad one. To be honest, most of Deshpande's writing comes with a side of sadness.  Her wonderfully written books have a deep sense of intense pain and feelings and inherent tragedy. Not that it takes away from her greatness of her work. And studying her book made me want to take some time apart from her work. 

For the last few years, I've wanted to read some more of her writing. 

I ordered 2 of her books this month on Flipkart. 

I read this one first. And plan to read A Long Silence soon. 

I really enjoyed this book. I loved the writing- I knew I would. I also really enjoyed reading about this family in complete and utter chaos. A father abandons his family for no good reason and no real explanation and they are left to grapple with it's aftermath. Apart from hurt feelings and feelings of abandonment, the 3 girls and their mother need to plan for their future and try to understand why their family has fallen apart. I LOVE messed up families! I really do. Give me a dysfunctional family I am all in. Happy families are great but a family in crisis makes for very interesting reading. I loved this families mess and how they dealt and raged against it. 

I love all the women in this book. Strong, silent, wise and a delight to read! I loved them all. The mother and her 3 daughters were great but their grand-mother and her cousin sister were so wonderful. I am partial to older strong women characters and these women were fantastic. Their stories and their struggles but more importantly their love and bond was just lovely! 

The story moves along in a nice pace and never lost interest in the story or the big (slightly) mystery. 

I enjoyed this book and I am glad I decided to read more of Deshpande's work.

Rating: 5/5 

Friday, 22 November 2013

Friday Favourites/// Part II.

Another round of Friday Favourites! I am quite enjoying sharing some of my favourite things with all of you- my bookish friends! :)

The little doll with the pink outfit is from Either Or (Pune) and is just adorable.

Soap & Glory's 'Hand Food' is a delightfully fragranced handcream. It is neither too thick nor too greasy and is in a size that makes it convenient to be toted around in a, well, tote. (Hah! That was kind of unintentional!) 

Avid readers usually tend to have an equally big collection of bookmarks and my sister and I are no different. This prettily typeset bookmark with the very wise words from Gilbert Chesterton is from Filter. 

As the nights are getting slightly cooler here in Mumbai, we've been gravitating towards comfort food. This spiced eggplant and chicken hummus from Moshe's is just so good! 

A favourite journal in which my sister writes her thoughts. This is from and is made by an indie designer called Arpit Agarwal and is from his North East collection called Nest. 

Tea Center's Apple Butter Tea! OMG!!!!! So, so good. All you folks in Bombay have to try it! 

What are some of your favourites? 

Have a great weekend, everyone! 

Thursday, 21 November 2013

November Book Haul.

I didn't buy one new book in the month of October. Therefore, there wasn't a book haul to share on the blog. It wasn't a planned move on my part. Though I've said time and again that I need to go on a Book Buying Ban, but each time I've failed miserably. I like buying books and I cannot stop. 

But in October I just didn't buy books. 

And it felt good. 

I got 8 of these books from Flipkart and 2 of these from stores. 

I might get more books as the month rolls on. I want 3 books from Flipkart...the heart wants what the heart wants! So there just might be a little haul in the near future. 

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Review: And The Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini.

Book: And The Mountains Echoed

Author: Khaled Hosseini

Pages: 475

How Long it Took Me To Read: 2 days

Plot Summary: Khaled Hosseini’s And the Mountains Echoed begins simply enough, with a father recounting a folktale to his two young children. The tale is about a young boy who is taken by a div (a sort of ogre), and how that fate might not be as terrible as it first seems—a brilliant device that firmly sets the tone for the rest of this sweeping, heartbreaking, and ultimately uplifting novel. A day after he tells the tale of the div, the father gives away his own daughter to a wealthy man in Kabul. What follows is a series of stories within the story, told through multiple viewpoints, spanning more than half a century, and shifting across continents. The novel moves through war, separation, birth, death, deceit, and love, illustrating again and again how people’s actions, even the seemingly selfless ones, are shrouded in ambiguity. This is a masterwork by a master storyteller.

General Thoughts and Review:

I was excited when I heard about this book coming out. And Flipkart kept asking me to pre-order it. But I didn't. I love Khaled Hosseini's writing and I love the stories he tells. What I hate? How utterly and completely his books break my heart. At the end of his other books (two of them) I've cried my heart out. They made me deeply sad and so I kept my distance from this book. Who needs a book to make you cry like a mad woman?! Not me. Thank-you very much!

2 months later, the sales were crazy on Flipkart and this book was going for 60% off. I thought this was a good time to buy the book and I could read it when I was deliriously happy. Or just read it whenever fancy struck me.

The first thing I want to say to any of you who kept away from the book thinking it will reduce you to tears and snot...don't worry it won't. This is possibly Hosseini's least tragic book. I did cry, once the book was over and I was telling my sister about the ending. But it was a dignified crying. Unlike the tears that came once I had finished The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns. So go ahead and read this book. It isn't that sad.

I love the story telling skill that Hosseini possesses, his writing is simple, to the point yet beautiful. The way he takes you inside the lives of his characters is remarkable. Throughout the book I felt like I was right there with the people in the book.

The story starts with the brother and sister duo and their cruel separation. The rest of the book moves away from them and at the end we meet the siblings again. The other characters in the book are sometimes people close to the sibling- their step-mother and the step-mother's brother (who plays a pivotal role in the sibling's separation). The other characters are ones that have nothing really to do with the siblings directly. Each of these portions of the story almost read like little short stories, even though some of them are really long. We also meet the sister and see how her life unfolded.

I didn't mind most of these stories, I loved the step-mother and her brother's stories, they were interesting and I was gripped. The sister's story was a huge chunk of the book and enjoyable. I also really loved reading about her adoptive mother, a French-Afghan woman who lead a pretty interesting life. I wish we had seen more of the brother's life. We only hear of it very briefly at the end. I would have liked to see more of his story.

There were two stories/perspectives I could have done without. One is that of a Greek doctor who lives in the rich man's house during the Taliban regime, his life story was well-written for sure but it wasn't really needed. Similarly, the portion about the former neighbors of this house that takes us to LA was just...I don't know....seemed like it was there for no good reason. I know the point was to show how some people visit a war torn region and want to help. But when back to their real lives, their willingness or fervour goes away. But I was a little bored during this and the Greek portions.

Overall, I loved the book. The writing was great and I didn't cry nearly as much as I thought.

Rating: 4/5 

Monday, 18 November 2013

Weekend Snapshots.

This weekend we celebrated my sister's birthday. We ate. We drank. We met friends. We shopped.  And we had a wonderful time. 

We also spied some great Bombay-winter sunsets. 

Ate delicious little mini-cupcakes. 

Ate yummy food at California Pizza Kitchen and had amazing Pink Lemonade. 

Ate Sushi for my sister's birthday dinner. 

Also our house looked very colourful this weekend, all thanks to the birthday girl who is our chief decorator! 

Happy birthday sisterness!!!! Hope we have many, many, many such wonderful weekends to celebrate your day of birth. :) 

Friday, 15 November 2013

Friday Favourites.

1. I am loving these balmy-lip-stain-tint-thing! They are easily to just slap on and give a hint of colour and moisturise my lips all at once. I might be ignoring my lipsticks in favour of these things. I love the ones Revlon makes but I LOVE the original Clinique ones. Also the Clinique Intense Chubbysticks are amazing. Great colour pay-off and super hydrating. I have 3 of the Clinique Chubbysticks and I highly, highly recommend them. 

2. I love clean, simple notebooks. This one with a spiffy bee on it just darling. 

3. Cute little cloth bags/// this one people doing yoga just cracks me up! I especially love the aunty doing yoga in her salwar-kameez! She is so cute! :)

4. I love indoor Diwali lights (which stay on well-past New year in my home) and reading dark, delicious books. I loved this book by Audrey Niffenegger, I loved the sibling relationships in this book and the strange and special bond twins share. And the writing is just brilliant. 

5. Pretty art on book-covers always makes me happy. I love these Penguin Evergreens. I also love that I got both these books for only 29 rupees! Steal! 

Hope you are having a great Friday. Mine involves making last minute preparations for my sister's birthday and watching some American Horror Story. 

Have a great weekend!