Saturday, 31 January 2015

Review: Daughter by Jane Shemilt

Book: Daughter

Author: Jane Shemilt

Pages: 392

I read it on: My Kindle

I read it in: 4 hours

Plot Summary: Jenny is a successful family doctor, the mother of three great teenagers, married to a celebrated neurosurgeon.

But when her youngest child, fifteen-year-old Naomi, doesn’t come home after her school play, Jenny’s seemingly ideal life begins to crumble. The authorities launch a nationwide search with no success. Naomi has vanished, and her family is broken.

As the months pass, the worst-case scenarios—kidnapping, murder—seem less plausible. The trail has gone cold. Yet for a desperate Jenny, the search has barely begun. More than a year after her daughter’s disappearance, she’s still digging for answers—and what she finds disturbs her. Everyone she’s trusted, everyone she thought she knew, has been keeping secrets, especially Naomi. Piecing together the traces her daughter left behind, Jenny discovers a very different Naomi from the girl she thought she’d raised.

What I Liked: Quick list:
  • I liked the premise of the book. Though not highly unique (it reminded me of Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight), this book seemed pretty interesting- missing teenager, parents trying to piece together her life and so on.. The book did not disappoint in that regard- it takes us back to the 17-odd days before the crime and then back to the present (one year later). 
  • The depiction of the 'after', i.e. the aftermath of Naomi going missing, was, I felt, rather well done. The disintegration of the family unit, the reaction of the mother- Jenny. Her self-loathing and inability to let go are well written. 
What I didn't like: Quite a few things:
  • The book lost its plot with the author over-doing the whole dual-income, dysfunctional family shtick! It took away any flavour of authenticity from the book and made it completely un-relatable! (SPOILERS) There was just too much wrong with Jenny's family- adulterous husband, druggie son, a struggling-with-his-sexuality son.. I mean, come on! (END SPOILERS). 
  • There was a lot of working mother guilt woven into the narrative, which is normal and totally fine- every working mom I know goes through these feelings. BUT. BUT... what I was not okay with was the subtle working mom bashing that was also woven in alongside. It was mostly Ted- the husband- making snarky comments about Jenny (she is a GP) not being home enough, but there is also a lot of working mom bashing happening via Jenny's character. Guilt, I get. Bashing working moms, I don't. 
  • Finally, the big reveal on what happened to Naomi was a major let down. It was so boring and safe and predictable. I bet the author thought she was throwing in a major twist, but I knew the perpetrator was shady the first time he showed up (very innocuously) in the book. Also, the final "twist" was so expected. 
Rating: 2/5 

If you want to read a good book on the same theme, then read Reconstructing Amelia- much better. 

Friday, 30 January 2015

General Whimsy: Bag Lady, Part- VI.

Back with another Bag Lady post. While I am here on holiday, I brought along 5 bags with me. And I had a new bag here waiting for me, a gift from a cousin. So bag wise I should be alright. 

And now about these bags..from top to bottom. 

My current bag, my main Christmas present from my sister, a satchel- of course, from my darling sister. I absolutely loveeeeeeeee it. It's from Accessorize. 

Also from Accessorize is this pencil pouch. Love the print and size of this pencil bag. 

Two handmade bags my sister bought from Dilli Haat on her recent trip to Delhi. So utterly gorgeous. 

My current wallet, from House of Tara via Limeroad. 

And finally, another Christmas present, this vintage (looking) satchel from Hong Kong. I love it's simplicity and I cannot wait to carry it around. 

Thursday, 29 January 2015

Project 365 2015: Week- 4.

This past week was full of spending time with my cousin, before she left for Calcutta for a whole month. So we squeezed in all our gossiping and conversation in one week. The last week also had Saraswati Pujo, a festival to celebrate the Goddess of Knowledge, Wisdom and Learning. We had a little Pujo at home and bhog that followed. 

It was a good week. 

Here is my week in pictures...

Day 22: Went out to lunch with the family and feasted not just on food but feasted my eyes on these gorgeous flowers all over the hotel. I snapped a ton of pictures and will share the rest of them soon. 

Day 23: Went over to one of m dad'd friends place for a very Bengali lunch. Following lunch there was loads of reminiscing and adda. 

Day 24: My sister's gorgeous pearl and silver balis. 

Day 25: Saraswati Pujo. Maa Saraswati in all her glory. We put some of our pens at the Goddess's feet. My cousins, one of whom is about to take her 12th grade exams and another who is in the final year of his engineering put their books at the Goddess's feet and prayed hard. Students are supposed to put their books away and not read or write on Saraswati Pujo. It is a break  from studies. A day I appreciated when I was in school. :) 

Day 26: Republic Day in India and my parent's Wedding Anniversary. We ate cake and my uncle cooked us a lovely meal. 

Day 27: Wore my favourite ring with Maa Saraswati on it. The ring is from Amrapali Jewels. 

Day 28: A fish in my aunt's house. They let light in and look adorable. I spent the day at my aunt's place chatting with my cousin and aunt. And of course eating delicious food! 

See you again next week. 

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Comic Book Recommendations: Ms. Marvel.

I am not the world's biggest or most devoted Comic Book fan. As a child reading comic books wasn't exactly encouraged in my family. My parents would rather we read books. The only comics I read were Archie comics, Tintin and some Indian comics like Tinkle. 

In the last few years however, I have fallen in love with comic book based movies. Especially the Marvel Universe films. Ironman, Hulk, Thor, Avengers, Captain America and X-men. I love these movie. Entertaining. Fun and wonderful. Now I haven't read any of those comic books and I am aware the origin stories in the books are very different from the movies. And since I love the world in the movies, I don't want to read the comic books and see a different side to the stories. Plus there is sooooooo much to read. 

I heard about the Ms. Marvel comics when they first came out, which is no surprise since there was so much buzz about it. A Muslim girl with super-powers was unheard of before and people were all kinds of curious to see how it was handled. 

I fell for the hype and decided to check out the first volume of this comic book series! 

Book: Ms. Marvel 

Author: G. Willow Wilson

Artist: Adriana Alphona 

Plot Summary: Kamala Khan is just an ordinary girl from Jersey City--until she is suddenly empowered with extraordinary gifts. But who truly is the all-new Ms. Marvel? Teenager? Muslim? Inhuman? Find out as she takes the Marvel Universe by storm, and prepare for an epic tale that will be remembered by generations to come. History in the making is NOW!

Things I Liked: 

1. The concept is pretty amazing. A girl of colour, a Muslim girl who is trying to come to terms with who she is and BAM! she ends up with super powers. I really enjoyed the story and the story telling. 

2. The art is all colour and pretty amazing. 

3. You don't really need to know all about the Marvel Universe to read this book. Though some Marvel characters do make an appearance in the later books, it's alright not to know allllll about them. A total non-comic book reader could read this comic book series. 

4. I like Kamala, she is a nice character and a great lead character. I like her and her style of doing things. 

5. I also like the side characters, Kamala's parents, her brother and her friends. 

6. I also like that other Marvel characters who make an appearance in the books, like Wolverine and Captain America. 

Rating: 4/5 

I recommend this comic book series to anyone looking to get into comics or if you want a fun and entertaining read. 

I've read all the issues out so far in this series and I can't wait to continue with Kamala Khan and her adventures. 

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Review: The Red Carpet by Lavanya Sankaran.

Book: The Red Carpet 

Author: Lavanya Sankaran 

Pages: 224

Read On: Paperback 

How Long It Took Me Read: 3 days. 

Plot Summary: Wry humor and a delicious grasp of the friction between generations in Bangalore are the hallmarks of Lavanya Sankaran’s fresh, deeply nuanced debut collection. “A potpourri of beggars and billionaires and determinedly laid-back ways,” Bangalore, India’s own Silicon Valley, is a crucible for prosperity, and at the chaotic crossroads between past and present. Here, American-trained professionals like Tara return to their old-fashioned families with heads full of Quentin Tarantino dialogue; a successful entrepreneur is shaken when his partner suddenly reneges on their plan to return to America; a traditional Indian mother slyly circumvents her Western-educated daughter’s resistance to marriage; a neighborhood gossip is determined to discover what goes on behind the closed curtains of the hip young couple across the street; a chauffeur must reconcile his more orthodox credos with his employer’s miniskirt lifestyle.

General Thoughts: I picked this book up during a massive sale. I love me some short-stories. And I want to read more of this genre. I brought this book along with me on holiday because short-stories are perfect reads during travel. You can dip in and out and read it in your own sweet time. 

I had no expectations going into this book. I want expecting just pleasing stories and easy reads. I enjoyed this book. It was a fun read. 

Things I Liked: 

1. I love the length of these stories. They are short and crisp. 

2. I enjoyed the writing. 

3. I liked that some characters re-occurred in other stories, meaning you saw the same characters in minor roles in other stories.  I like when stories in a short-story collection have some ties that bind them. So I enjoyed this aspect of this book. 

4. I loved the setting of this book- Bangalore, Bangalore is a city I love and spent 5 years of my life in. All of these stories are set in Bangalore, so I loved re-visiting a city love through the stories in this book. 

5. I also loved the themes in this book- family, identity, love, relationships and change. 

Things I Didn't Like: 

1. Some of these stories just end abruptly. Without closure and at times without any proper ending. So if that sort of thing doesn't sit well with you, this is not a story collection you'll enjoy. Some of these endings irked me quite a bit. 

Rating: 3.5/5

Monday, 26 January 2015

General Whimsy: Some Pretty Sights to Brighten Your Monday.

"Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not."
Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Wherever you go, 
Go with all your heart."


I snapped these pictures on a day of long drives and beautiful sights. :) 

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Holiday TBR.

These are all the books I brought along with me for my holiday. 10 books. I hope to read these books while I am here. So far I've read 4 of these books. I tried reading Amsterdam but just can't get into it. So I've given up on it. 

The rest of it I will get to eventually. I also have a couple of books that I left here the last time I visited. 

And I have my Kindle with 300 books. So I am all set with my reading. 

Happy Reading. 

Saturday, 24 January 2015

Friday, 23 January 2015

Friday Favourites: Agatha Christie Books.

If you haven't read any Agatha Christie book before....STOP RIGHT NOW! Go pick up a book by her this very second. 

I love/adore her work and her books are comforting and soothing reads for me. I pick up a Christie book when I feel like reading nothing else. 

If you've never read a Christie book before I'd suggest start with a non- Marple and non-Poirot book...just so you can sample her writing without having to get to know her very famous characters. If you want Poirot and Marple, start with the first in the series if you can help it. If not, honestly, you can start with any book. You don't need to read these books in order. 

My favourite Poirot book is probably...Death on the Nile, Sad Cypress, Five Little Pigs, Murder on the Orient Express, Dumb Witness,,,I'd recommend any of these. 

Miss Marple favourites include..Body in the Library, Mirror Cracked from Side to Side, A Murder is announced and Nemesis. 

I love Agatha Christie and her books make me so much joy! :) 

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Project 365 2015: Week 3.

Week 3 of my Project 365. This week involved a couple of dinner parties, a Day Trip and loads of family time. Overall, it was a pretty good week. 

Here goes my week in pictures... 

Day 15: This was a day of reading covered in a heavy shawl. It was cosy. It was also a day of a couple visitors, which translates into long adda sessions and tea and samosa. 

Day 16: What I Wore. Plaid Old Navy shirt and necklace from Only. Plaid is perfect for winter and this shirt is especially comfy and it keeps me warm and toasty. 

Day 17: How pretty is this jewellery box? A cousin of mine got this for us from a handicrafts fair. I use it to store my wrist watch and bits of jewellery. 

Day 18: Bought a bunch of nailpaints from Street Wear and Elle 18. The beauty shops here in the hometown always give a discount on make-up. So I tend to stock up on pretty nailpaints when I am here. 

Day 19: A cold foggy night. Snapped this picture on my way back home after a dinner party. The night was foggy and bitterly cold. But I had a belly full of food and a big smile on my face after an evening of fun and adda. 

Day 20: Me and a quiet mountain river. A day of long drives, pretty sights and dancing trees on the roadside. 

Day 21: My backpack of choice for days of travel. 
The backpack is from House of Tara via Limeroad. 

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Vignettes: Dewdrops.

Nothing can beat the smell of dew and flowers and the odor that comes out of the earth when the sun goes down.
-Ethel Waters

Human life is as evanescent as the morning dew or a flash of lightning. 
Samuel Butler.

Snapped these pictures early in the morning on my last day at the Tea Gardens. The lawns were covered in dew. The flowers, leaves and every single blade of glass glistening with dew. It was pretty perfect! 

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

2015 Good Reads Reading Challenge.

I've set my Reading Goal for 2015 at 100 books. 

I've had the same goal for the last three years. I am very happy with this number. 

In 2012 I read 104 books.
In 2013 I read 177 books. 
In 2014 I read 295 books. 

So why set such a low goal? 

The thing is one doesn't quite know where the year will go and what one will end up doing. I think 100 is a good solid number, a number I will be very happy if I mange to read these many books. Of course, I am pretty sure-ish that I will surpass this number. But if I don't and just read 100 books that is fine too. 

This year I intend to do a bit of traveling. 

I've already started the year with coming homewards. And already my reading has slowed down. I've only finished four books so far. 4 books in 18 days. If I were in Bombay I would have easily have read over 10 books. And while I am here I know reading will be this slow. And I don't mind. 

The rest of the year too I hope to do a little more traveling and reading just might take a bit of a backseat. 

So 100 books is just fine.

I also plan on reading big, fat books and I want to most certainly read more classics and those take time and I want to take my time with them. 

Have you set a Reading Goal?

Find me on Good Reads, Here

Monday, 19 January 2015

Vignettes: More from the Tea Gardens.

More pictures from my little trip to the Tea Gardens. 

We spent a lot of our time playing Scrabble, chatting, drinking tea and just relaxing. 

I journaled...thoughts about the place and my childhood memories of it. 

I marveled at the kitchen garden, especially the gorgeous cabbage patch. There is something quite nice about growing your own veggies. Something so terribly organic about growing your own food. 

The roses were all in bloom here, in spite of it being winter.