Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Book Haul: Books of April - Part II.

I bought these bunch of books from Amazon in the first week of April. March being a slower book buying month for me, I was geared up for a bout of book buying in April. 

I mainly wanted to buy the Edward St. Aubyn books...because someone I love recommended this book series. There are five books in total and I got the first 2 and if I like them I'll get the rest! 

I am also excited about reading my first ever Jean-Paul Sartre book. 

And I just needed to get Three Little Pigs in my life! 

This won't be the last of April books...I went a little book many more book hauls coming your way! 

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Review: Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins.

Book: Rebel Belle

Author: Rachel Hawkins

Pages: 352

How Long it Took Me To Read: 2 days

Read On: My Kindle

Plot Summary: Harper Price, peerless Southern belle, was born ready for a Homecoming tiara. But after a strange run-in at the dance imbues her with incredible abilities, Harper's destiny takes a turn for the seriously weird. She becomes a Paladin, one of an ancient line of guardians with agility, super strength and lethal fighting instincts.

Just when life can't get any more disastrously crazy, Harper finds out who she's charged to protect: David Stark, school reporter, subject of a mysterious prophecy and possibly Harper's least favorite person. But things get complicated when Harper starts falling for him--and discovers that David's own fate could very well be to destroy Earth.

With snappy banter, cotillion dresses, non-stop action and a touch of magic, this new young adult series from bestseller Rachel Hawkins is going to make y'all beg for more.

General Thoughts and Review: I knew this book had some supernatural elements in it and that made me a little weary about reading it. I didn't need to read one more book about mythical creatures and such like. Thankfully, something in my mind asked me overlook my reservations and give this book a go. I have heard great things about The Hex Hall series written by the same author and wanted to read this before I embark on a series. 

I am so glad I picked this book up! 

I loved it. 

It was funny, action-packed, fun and a perfect little light summer read. 

The main character Harper, is super likable and funny and her reactions when endowed with super-powers (of sorts) were very real and normal. We see this entire world through Harper's eyes and it was a fun perspective. Her world, her people, her family and her life were all interesting to read about. Her friend, especially her best-friend Bee was a delightful character. 

David- our love-interest/parallel lead was also nice. He was a journalist in the school magazine and a bit of a hipster. His bantering with Harper was also fun and the building romance felt natural and their history added up to the being drawn to each other. Even, Kevin, Harper's perfect boyfriend was a nice enough character. 

The only thing I remotely didn't like was this is going to be a series and not a stand alone like I had thought it was going to be. Gah. I am just a little bit...a lot done with series. But I did enjoy this book a whole lot and will read the rest of the books. 

Another thing I didn't like was some of the ending bits. Not all of the ending, just some of it that leads to some complicated love triangle-type situation. 

But, overall this was a fun read and I recommend it, if you are looking for a fun book. 

Rating: 4/5 

Sunday, 27 April 2014

Sister Sundays | Review: Burial Rites by Hannah Kent

Book: Burial Rites

Author: Hannah Kent

Pages: 322

I read it on: My Kindle

I read it in: 8-9 hours across 2 days

Plot Summary: Set against Iceland's stark landscape, Hannah Kent brings to vivid life the story of Agnes, who, charged with the brutal murder of her former master, is sent to an isolated farm to await execution. 

Horrified at the prospect of housing a convicted murderer, the family at first avoids Agnes. Only Tóti, a priest Agnes has mysteriously chosen to be her spiritual guardian, seeks to understand her. But as Agnes's death looms, the farmer's wife and their daughters learn there is another side to the sensational story they've heard. 

Riveting and rich with lyricism, BURIAL RITES evokes a dramatic existence in a distant time and place, and asks the question, how can one woman hope to endure when her life depends upon the stories told by others?

What I Liked: I loved the setting of this novel. Early 19th century Iceland- stark, bleak and sort of magical (in a very, very raw sense of the term). I enjoy books that grant me a glimpse into...
a) Another culture 
b) Another time period
c) A country I don't know much about or have not been to yet 
.. and so, it is not very surprising that this book had me from the get-go. 

Burial Rites tells the story of the last woman to be given the capital punishment in Iceland. Agnes Magnusdottir is a 'maid', who has been accused of killing her master and setting his home on fire. The story follow Agnes' life in the months leading upto her execution. So, there is a lot of introspection on her part as well as how the various people around her- the young priest, Toti, the family with whom she has to live in the days prior to her death etc.- see her, judge her and how some of them actually empathise and understand her. 

It is these memories, impressions and just the time spent with Agnes as she lives out her sentence and reminisces about her life, which are beautifully researched and re-created in the book and told with a lot of heart. It made for very riveting reading and also made me think about how crime and punishment are so much governed by subjective human impressions of the perpetrator and the victim- even today. 

Apart from Agnes, who is an interesting character with a very 'modern' voice, other characters like Toti- the young priest (who is supposed to make Agnes make amends with God prior to her death)- and the farmer's wife- are also well crafted and so human in the way their thinking shifts as the story progresses. 

Would You Like It?: Yes! Burial Rites is a wonderful and sensitively told tale and is so interesting and multi-dimensional. If you like reading about interesting characters, an utterly novel setting and just mull over basic human nature and communities, then you'll love this book. 

Rating: 4/5 

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Book Haul: April eBooks!

I am currently reading this book, it's about a girl, called Sophie, who gets addicted to prescription pain-killers after a car crash at 14. but she manages to kick her addiction and get sober. Then at 17, her best-friend is killed by a masked murdered and no one in her small-town believes her when she says she hasn't relapsed and this was not a drug related murder. She then sets off trying to find out what 
happened to her best friend. So it's part murder mystery and part about a love-triangle-complicated relationship, with some LGBT issues thrown in. I am really enjoying this book. It's very well-written and I am curious to see where this book ends up.

Hehe!! I went a little bonkers and got the 60 Goosebumps books by R.L Stine!!!! I loved these books when I was a kid. I enjoyed the little scary stories. I am going to read these books between books, or if I can't decide what I want to read next. These are only 120 pages long and go by really quickly. I am thinking of them as my book palette cleansers. But they are soooo much fun! :) 

A book set in Malaysia, about a young orphan girl who marries a dead man from a rich family, yeah, a dead man, a custom that was prevalent in Malaysia. So she becomes a ghost bride and begins her new life in among this affluent family. It sounds super amazing and I cannot wait to read about this really strange yet intriguing custom and read about Malaysia! 

The premise of this book sounds so fun- it's about a girl who gets diagnosed with Cancer and is told that she doesn't have much long to live. Instead of getting overwhelmed with her disease, she decides to make the most of her death sentence and goes about her life, telling the people in her life exactly what she thinks of them. She tells people off, gives them a piece of her get the picture. Only she doesn't die. She goes into remission! 

Fun right?! I really cannot wait to read this! So fun! 

A 11 year old sleuth...who likes poisons and mysteries! Also it's set in the 1950s in a crumbling house in Britain. What's not to love!??? My sister is currently reading this and is intrigued. 

I love loading up my Kindle, it's good to have so many eBook options to choose from. My Kindle currently has some 206 books! I am a book hoarder, no matter what format!  

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Review: If I Stay by Gayle Forman.

Book: If I Stay

Author: Gayle Forman

Pages: 201

How Long it Took Me To Read: 2 hours or less.

Plot Summary: Just listen, Adam says with a voice that sounds like shrapnel.

I open my eyes wide now.
I sit up as much as I can.
And I listen.

Stay, he says.

Choices. Seventeen-year-old Mia is faced with some tough ones: Stay true to her first love—music—even if it means losing her boyfriend and leaving her family and friends behind?

Then one February morning Mia goes for a drive with her family, and in an instant, everything changes. Suddenly, all the choices are gone, except one. And it's the only one that matters.

If I Stay is a heart-achingly beautiful book about the power of love, the true meaning of family, and the choices we all make. 

General Thoughts: I read this wonderful book nearly 2 years ago, on my iPad in under 2 hours. I just couldn't put it down. I was gripped and hooked and couldn't wait to see what happened and what Mia would ultimately choose to do. It was a sad, poignant and gut-wrenching read. Yet, it was wonderful. Lovely. Moving. I loved this book. And even 2 years later the story, it's people and it's voice stayed with me. 

I haven't yet read the sequel to this book, but I intend to do that very soon...I might even re-read this one..if my heart can handle the feels! :) And I am most certainly going to watch the movie. Yes, this is being made into a movie. The Trailer is out already. 

Review: Like I said, I loved this book. Everything from the writing, to the wonderfully written characters and the main conflict- whether to live or die. 

I really appreciated that family and familial ties were given such importance in this book. Because in most YA books, families just take a massive back seat. We only see parents vaguely mentioned and often ignored. But in this book, Mia's family, her parents, her little brother and even her grand-parents are all front and center. I loved that. Even though friends and love often become the focal point of our teenage years, our families are no less important. 

The love story is this book was also real and poignant. I can't wait to read more about Mia and Adam in the sequel. 

I also loved that even though this was a fairly short book, it was just right- meaning, all this heavy, emotional and heavy decision making was perfect in a short book. It was the perfect length! 

Rating: 5/5 

Really, I can't recommend this book enough! 

Friday, 18 April 2014

Book Haul: Mostly Classics...Black Spines Edition!

March was supposed to be my book-buying-ban month, I was rather good about my mad book buying binges...I promise! But my self-control melted away when I came across some classics...all of these black beauties. I felt like bans can't possibly involve classics...surely not. 

I am so excited about all these books. Seriously! My first Dostoyevsky, Joyce and Chekhov (well I've read a bit of him before) and a whole lot of Dickens! 

So excite! :)

Review: Boys Don't Knit (In Public) by T.S. Easton.

Book: Boys Don't Knit (In Public)

Author: T.S. Easton

Pages: 277

How Long It Took Me To Read: One day.

Plot Summary: Ben Fletcher must get to grips with his more 'feminine' side following an unfortunate incident with a lollipop lady and a stolen bottle of Martini Rosso from Waitrose. All a big misunderstanding of course. To avoid the Young Offenders unit, Ben is ordered to give something back to the community and develop his sense of social alignment. Take up a hobby and keep on the straight and narrow. The hot teacher he likes runs a knitting group so Ben, reluctantly at first, gets 'stuck in'. Not easy when your dad is a sports fan and thinks Jeremy Clarkson is God. 

To his surprise, Ben finds that he likes knitting and that he has a mean competitive streak. If he can just keep it all a secret from his mates...and notice that the girl of his dreams, girl-next-door Megan Hooper has a bit of a thing for him...Laugh-out-loud, often ridiculous, sometimes quite touching, and revelatory about the knitting world, Boys Don't Knit is a must for boys and girls.

General Thoughts: I randomly came across this book while browsing on Flipkart. I must admit I was, at first, pulled in by the gorgeous cover. The bright yellow and the brilliant typography grabbed my attention and then the little plot synopsis sounded really good and I went ahead and ordered it. And I am so glad I took a chance on a book I'd never heard of before. I simply loved this book. Really, really loved it! 

Review: I loved everything about this book- the writing, the style and of course Ben. Ben is adorable and easy to like. The book is told from his perspective, via his diary entries. His voice is honest and funny as hell. 

I loved Ben and his family and his slightly strange/ rowdy friends. His love life crisis and his inner workings, all make for an incredible read. 

The humour in this book is so on point. Typically British and seriously funny. I was laughing out loud at various points in the story. of the funniest books I've read in recent times. 

I cannot recommend this book enough. It's funny, sweet and full of heart. I am currently, pretty much forcing my sister to read this book. 

Rating: 5/5 

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Book Haul: Books of April 2014- Part I.

Already read and loved. I can't believe I hadn't read this book all these years. The book was sweet, simple and heart-warming. Also this cover is so pretty. 

Also read and loved this book. Agatha Christie books make me sooooo happy! 

Currently reading this book and enjoying this immensely. It's soooooo funny! Love it! So glad I picked it up! 

I read a novel of Sudha Murthy last month and really enjoyed it, so promptly ordered 2 more books by her! I hope I like these just as much :) 

I've wanted to read more graphic novels and have heard nothing but good things about Sarnath Banerjee. 

Read this, in fact, finished it a day ago and moderately enjoyed it. I wanted to try a new author and saw this book on Flipkart and decided to give it a go. I loved the setting and the premise of this book, the writing was decent too...but some of the plot points were a little....too dramatic, melo-dramatic...over-the-top. A 3 star read for me. 

What a colourful bunch of books! I love the varied books I've picked up in this bunch. I have 2 other book hauls coming up soon! 

Monday, 14 April 2014

Sister Reads | Review: The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

Book: The Rosie Project

Author: Graeme Simsion 

Pages: 295 

I read this in: 3 hours (in one sitting) 

Plot Summary: Don Tillman, professor of genetics, has never been on a second date. He is a man who can count all his friends on the fingers of one hand, whose lifelong difficulty with social rituals has convinced him that he is simply not wired for romance. So when an acquaintance informs him that he would make a “wonderful” husband, his first reaction is shock. Yet he must concede to the statistical probability that there is someone for everyone, and he embarks upon The Wife Project. In the orderly, evidence-based manner with which he approaches all things, Don sets out to find the perfect partner. She will be punctual and logical—most definitely not a barmaid, a smoker, a drinker, or a late-arriver.

Yet Rosie Jarman is all these things. She is also beguiling, fiery, intelligent—and on a quest of her own. She is looking for her biological father, a search that a certain DNA expert might be able to help her with. Don's Wife Project takes a back burner to the Father Project and an unlikely relationship blooms, forcing the scientifically minded geneticist to confront the spontaneous whirlwind that is Rosie—and the realization that love is not always what looks good on paper.

Why I LOVED this book! 

So, yes, I absolutely loved 'The Rosie Project'! It is a wonderful, funny, heart-warming book about finding love and finding a place in the world not inspite of your differences but because of them
This is the story of Don Tillman- a professor of Genetics in a Melbourne university- and someone who has some sort of social anxiety or some sort of un-diagnosed Asperger Syndrome or is somewhere along the Autism Spectrum. Don leads a very structured life, geared towards maximizing efficiency and reducing time wastage- so, he has a "Standardized Weekly Meal Plan" and he has designated days and times for various activities. His life is highly organized with no room for any sort of chaos but it is his willingness to stick his neck out, to learn more about 'acceptable social behaviour' and just get himself out of his comfort zone that is so wonderfully endearing about him! He does not let his "limitations" get in the way of enjoying the human experience and his willingness to work on himself (he calls it 'The Don Project') is simply inspiring and makes you fall in love with this character! 

Don, by his own admission, is also socially awkward. He find interacting with other people rather challenging but with the help of his friends Gene and Claudia, he manages to navigate the 'real' world and the chaotic social situations with some amount of success. 

I love how Don's life is presented in this book- without any sort of judgement but just as sort of this is how his life is and it makes perfect sense for him to have a life like this! There are several laugh-out-loud moments in this book 

I also liked how true-to-character Don is all through his interactions with Rosie. He wants to help her find her biological dad but he finds her wildly unsuitable as a potential life partner because she doesn't fit with the well-thought out criteria a potential life partner ought to meet.

I liked that Rosie was not too way out or too bohemian or whatever often passes as the extreme opposite of someone like Don. Yes, she is more spontaneous, but then everyone and their aunt seems more spontaneous than Don! The way their relationship develops is also very organic and Don's reactions and responses and his inability to process his feelings like you and me are so endearing! What is also endearing is how he does process his feelings for Rosie and realises that what he feels is love.

Would You Like It?: Yes! If you want an easy-breezy summer read or just a sweet, heart-warming and well-written love story, then do pick up 'The Rosie Project'.

Rating: 5/5 

Friday, 11 April 2014

Friday Favourites: Shoes, Coffee Cups, Satchels and Strawberry Tarts!

1. Colourful clothes and my colourful mojris. I adore wearing Indian clothes, I really should wear them more often. Especially these mojris! 

2. A fresh strawberry tart from Indigo Cafe! Love it. Hate that strawberry season is over and I have to wait for a whole year before I can sample this delight again! 

3. Two of favourite eye-shadows, Wood Winked and Mulch from MAC. These are great for everyday looks. Subtle and lovely. 

4. A pretty cup of coffee. I am an avid collector of coffee cups, a pretty cup just makes me morning cuppa so much more joyful. 

5. Starbucks and a pretty little satchel. 

Have a wonderful weekend you guys. 

I intend on cleaning my house- it needs some spring cleaning ASAP. And writing. Reading. Movie watching. 


Thursday, 10 April 2014

Vignettes: Pretty Things.

1. Fox! Mr. Fox here is a favourite of mine. His sweet little face always makes me smile and perks up any outfit. He is from Accessorize, from a few season back. 

2. Cute little rose-gold flats and a darling little satchel. These shoes are the comfiest things ever. 

The shoes are from Westside. 
The satchel is from Accessorize. I want it in every colour, I currently have it in yellow and blue, as well. 

3. A bird and a notebook. I love these old-fashioned style notebooks, something so organic about them. 

4. Lights in my house. Odd shapes and floral embossed. I love these lantern style lights and can't imagine any house of mine without these. 

5. A cow mug, this is really old, a gift from my sister's friend from Geneva. It's even got udders in the underbelly, sadly the china is a little too brittle to put drinks in. :( But it's still gorgeous.