Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Book Haul/// Books of May 2017.

Hello! 

May is over and I've accumulated a few good books this month. 
I've bought 7 books out of 9.
One was sent to me for review.
The other was a gift my sister received. 

Let's see what books I've added to my bookshelves this month. 


Books Bought: 

Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls 
So You've Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson 
Magic Seeds by V.S. Naipaul 
The Tree Bride by Bharati Mukherjee 
3 And a Half Murders by Salil Desai 
Boyhood by Bhisham Sahni 
The House with Five Courtyards by Govind Mishra 
The Liberation of Sita by Volga 
We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie 


The only thing written by the author that I haven't yet read. 
This should be a quick and enlightening read. 


This book kept popping up everywhere and I've heard good things about it. 
This book is quite slim too and should be a quick read. 


More translated fiction for me! 
Yay! 
This novel was originally written in Hindi. 


Added to my Modern Classics bookshelf. 
I have been meaning to read some Bhisham Sahni for absolute ages. 


I got this specially for my sister whose already read and reviewed it. 
Just look below this post for the review. 


God I hate the cover of this book! 
I have half a mind to cover it up! 
:) 
But Bharati Mukherjee is another write I've even meaning to sample. She has quite a few books that sound rather interesting. 


God! 
Where do I begin. 
I had no intention of ever reading a V.S. Naipaul book. 
Why you might ask? 
Well, this man is a bit of a dick!
He has said a whole lot of shit about women writers, claiming that no woman writer is his literary match! 
WTF?
I will never give any of my money towards this sexist pig. 
This book was a gift and hence it's here. 
 I thought I'd share what book I put in my library.
Honestly, I don't know if I'll ever read it but...it's here for now. 


A non-fiction title, one I've heard only good things about and I got this book for super duper cheap.
I paid Rs. 140 instead of Rs. 599! 
What a deal! 
:)


The kind folks at Penguin sent me this darling little book full of kickass woman! 
I loved it so much! 
A full review will come soon! 

I can't wait to read these books! 
Lots of happy reading in my near future! 

:) 


Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Book Review: 3 and a Half Murders- An Inspector Saralkar Mystery by Salil Desai


Book: 3 and a Half Murders- An Inspector Saralkar Mystery

Author: Salil Desai

Pages: 328

Publisher: Fingerprint Publishing

Read: The paperback edition

Read in: 3+ hours

Plot Summary: Two corpses . . . a woman lying dead on her bed, a man hanging from the ceiling fan. 
A suicide note cum murder confession. 
And a name . . . Shaunak Sodhi.

When the case comes their way, Senior Inspector Saralkar has just been diagnosed with hypertension and PSI Motkar is busy with rehearsals of an amateur play.

What appears at first to be a commonplace crime by a debt-ridden, cuckolded husband, who has killed his unfaithful wife and then hung himself, soon begins to unfold as a baffling mystery. 

As clues point to a seven-year-old unsolved murder in Bangalore and other leads emerge closer home, Saralkar and Motkar find themselves investigating shady secrets, bitter grudges, fishy land deals, carnal desires, the dead woman Anushka Doshi’s sinister obsession with past life regression and her husband’s links to a suspicious, small-time god-man, Rangdev Baba.And then, suddenly, the murderer resurfaces and yet another life is in grave danger . . . 
Can Saralkar and Motkar get to the bottom of an unimaginably shocking motive and stop the malevolent killer from committing the fourth murder? 

General Thoughts: This is third Salil Desai book that I have read and I can safely say that this is the best book of the lot. Here is the link to my reviews of the other books by the same author.

Things I Liked: 

1. The premise of this book is what drew me to it. One reads about murder-suicides so much in the papers.. it is one of those family tragedies that, unfortunately, are very commonplace in urban India. The man of the house, usually, has some financial pressures, which he seeks to escape by killing his innocent family and then himself. So, a story which starts off seeming like a murder-suicide but turning out to be a bit more seemed very interesting and the book did not disappoint!

2. I was happy to get reacquainted with SI Saralkar and PSI Motkar! Their professional dynamic is hilarious but also true to life. The eager-to-please and hardworking but sometimes bumbling Motkar and the gruff Saralkar are a great little team!

3. The murder mystery itself was nicely crafted and layered. From a  seemingly simple domestic murder-suicide, the case expanded to recruitment fraud, illegal land selling, an unholy Godman and such. Of course, the biggest twist was also nicely done and you don't really see it coming as a reader.

4. The investigative process of the Pune Homicide Squad was depicted very well. The cops were very methodical and rigorous; they even paid attention of the kind of food the dead couple ate and the contents of their fridge, which in no small way was critical to Saralkar cracking the case.

5. The book is very fast-paced and there is not a chapter that is out-of-place or not required.

6. The twist and real reason behind the crimes in Pune, and even the ones in Bangalore, is quite unexpected and interesting. Though, I wish there was a little more time spent on how Saralkar actually made the necessary connections to crack the case.

Rating: 4.5/5
This is a good mystery/ crime thriller book and you won't be disappointed if you read it! 


Monday, 29 May 2017

Book Review: Into The Water by Paula Hawkins.



Book: Into The Water

Author: Paula Hawkins

Publisher: Penguin

Pages: 402

How Long It Took Me: 3 days

Plot Summary: In the last days before her death, Nel called her sister. Jules didn’t pick up the phone, ignoring her plea for help.

Now Nel is dead. They say she jumped. And Jules has been dragged back to the one place she hoped she had escaped for good, to care for the teenage girl her sister left behind.

But Jules is afraid. So afraid. Of her long-buried memories, of the old Mill House, of knowing that Nel would never have jumped.

And most of all she’s afraid of the water, and the place they call the Drowning Pool . . .






General Thoughts: I have to be honest and say that I was not a fan of The Girl on The Train. I thought it was a little too convenient and in parts way too outlandish.

So when this book was announced I was only very mildly interested. But I read the premise and my interest went from mild to high. Anything about witches drowning, creepy old historical villages and long buried secrets...I am all about that and I had to read this book!

Things I Liked:

1. The writing was enjoyable and absolutely easy and breezy to read.

2. I simply loved the premise and setting of this book. An English village is one of my favourite places to read from. Maybe it's all of the Agatha Christie books I've read and loved, but an English village just seems like a perfect setting for a murder mystery.

3. The book is told from multiple perspectives and this helps keeping the book fast paced and it moves fast and it makes for some interesting reading.

4. There is so much going on in this book. There are some recent mysterious deaths, a history of witches, deaths over the year and a taboo love affair. So there is enough to hold your attention.

5. There are so many families in this book and most of them are going through an upheaval and or are quite dysfunctional, nothing makes for more interesting reading than some family dynamics. And this book was a treat as far as dysfunctional families are concerned.

6. I really enjoyed the time I spend with this book. It was an immersive and enjoyable read. I wasn't bored or disconnected with this book for a minute.

7. I felt like apart from the main story, there were so many other stories in the book as well. There is Libby- an accused witch from the 1800s and Anne Ward a woman in 1920s who is living in a loveless marriage and Lauren in 1983 who has allegedly killed herself. These all felt like bonus stories strewn in.

Things I Didn't Like: 

Ok..I did enjoy this book but I am a little conflicted about certain things. Some things just left me feeling a little bit irked.
Some of the things that I enjoyed about this book and that I have mentioned above, are the exact same things that kinda bugged me as well.
Confused?
Hang on and let me explain!

1. The many perspectives.
I kid you not, there are 10 perspectives in this book. 10!!!
And this is not counting the dead women from over the years.
10 different voices and 10 different perspectives were just a bit much. And they all sounded just the same. Exactly the same.
It got a bit much and the thing that bugged me the most was it was a little difficult to keep and tell these people apart. A chapter would begin and it would take me a hot minute to figure out who this person was and I am not a moron. Seriously, I've read countless other books with multiple perspectives but these characters all sound and seemed the same.

2. If you are reading this book across sittings and reading on busy days and on your commute, this book will be a bit of a nightmare to navigate and keep on track. There is sooooooo much going on here. Murder, suicide, deaths from hundreds of years ago and a few decades ago. There is an illicit romance, violent home situation and then some. There is just wayyyy too much going on here.

3. The main murder has nothing to do with all of the other shenanigans going on here, so in the larger scheme of things all of these extra bits are just a little bit pointless.

4. The big twist was easy as hell to guess.

5. The killer was obvious since the first moment you met him/her. Like really, really obvious.

6. The whole Katie situation and all the pages dedicated to her, her family and her death were eventually a little bit unnecessary and it took up so much of the book!

7.  Finally, I'd just like to say that is takes a writer of singular talent and genius to write a book from multiple perspectives and do it well and make each and every character stand out and be distinct, sadly Paula Hawkins is miles away from such a feat. She has bitten off more than she can chew. And honestly, most of these 10 perspectives was not even needed!

Rating: 3.5/5

I am seriously conflicted about this book. I did enjoy it but honestly, this is no psychological thriller or even, in the real sense of the word, a thriller at all! It certainly does not keep you at the edge of your seat nor does the killer kill anyone else during the course of events in this book. It is pretty predictable and at 402 pages a little bit too long, but if enjoy or are looking to read a multi-paradigm telling of a crime, then this a good book to read.

Sunday, 28 May 2017

Stationery Sunday: Special Edition Pilot Coleto Pens Haul

 Hello!!!

Hope your Sunday has been a restful and happy one. 
Mine included going to bed only at 8:00 am! 
And waking up in the afternoon. 
Ah!
Upside down Sundays are the very best. 
:) 

I am right now cooking up some delicious grilled chicken and pasta with marinara sauce. 
Yum! 
Plus there is ice-cream on the way. 

For today's Stationery Sunday post I want to share a quick little haul of a pretty legendary pen.
In the planning and stationery world, the Pilot Coleto pens have a loyal fan following. Everyone is always raving about them and now that I have one of my own I can see why! 

These pens are seriously brilliant. 

Smooth.
Easy to ensemble. 
Colourful.
So customisable. 
And Hello Kitty! 
I am so smitten! 




We got a pack of 10 refills in multiple colours, as seen. 
And we got 2 pens to share. 
This blue Hello Kitty one is mine and I really, really love it. 
My sister too has a Hello Kitty one but in black.

I have been using my pen every single day since I got it.
The colours I am using are- light pink, dark pink, orange and light blue.
This pen comes especially handy while I am Bullet Journaling, since I colour code my Bujo. 





Even the packaging is so damn adorable. 
I had the hardest time throwing away the refill pack!
🙊











I got the pens from Cute Things From Japan.

I highly recommend this pen and I finally see what the hype and fuss is all about! 


So good! 


Saturday, 27 May 2017

Weekend Reads & *Bonus* Weekend Watching!

Oh hello there!
I hope you are having a wonderful Saturday so far!

I thought I'd share what my sister and I are reading this weekend as well as what we are, totally, binge watching right now.

I am reading (and determined to finish) Into The Water by Paula Hawkins. 

Click on the 'preview' button below to read a chapter for free. Also, if you're thinking of buying the book, click on the 'Buy' link below and it will take you to Amazon.



Into the Water is quite riveting so far, but, because it the story unfolds from the perspectives of 12-14 people (I am not kidding!), I often find myself going back and checking who this particular character is when they pop up some 50-60 pages after they were first introduced! So far, quite good. 

The sister is reading The Infidel Stain also known as The Printer's Coffin by M.J. Carter. 



This is the second book in the Blake-Avery series and she says it is as well-written and gripping as the first. (Review here). The action moves to London in this book and the author has done a great job of capturing the tumult of mid-19th century London as well as shining a light on the horrific plight of factory workers in England. So far, quite good!

Weekend Watching! 



We stumbled upon Great News quite, quite accidentally and have been binge watching it ever since! Written by Tracy Wigfield and produced by Tina Fey, Great News is based on the shenanigans of a cable news show in New Jersey and it is HILARIOUS!

Watch the trailer here!

Have a great weekend, guys!

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Book Review: Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi.


Book: Homegoing

Author: Yaa Gyasi

Pages: 315

Publisher: Penguin Random House

Read On: Hardback

How Long it Took Me To Read: 2 days

Plot Summary: Effia and Esi: two sisters with two very different destinies. One sold into slavery; one a slave trader's wife. The consequences of their fate reverberate through the generations that follow. Taking us from the Gold Coast of Africa to the cotton-picking plantations of Mississippi; from the missionary schools of Ghana to the dive bars of Harlem, spanning three continents and seven generations, Yaa Gyasi has written a miraculous novel - the intimate, gripping story of a brilliantly vivid cast of characters and through their lives the very story of America itself.
Epic in its canvas and intimate in its portraits, Homegoing is a searing and profound debut from a masterly new writer.





General Thoughts: This book was everywhere and everyone was reading it and talking about it and raving about it. I wanted to get my hands on it and give it a read as soon as I could manage. Even though all the hype and all of the good word of mouth reviews scared me a bit. What if it doesn't live up to all the hype that surrounds it? What if I don't like it?! Gah! Bookworm problems! I finally got this book in April but since I was reading only Bengali books then, I had to wait a whole month to dive into this book!
And it was well worth the wait, the high praise and all of the hype!

Things I Loved: 

1. The writing was wonderful. It held your attention and your heart and never let it go. The pace and the story telling style were all stellar. For a debut novel this one was fantastic, I can't wait to read more from the author.

2. I love reading books from Africa. And countries like Botswana and Nigeria are places I love visiting via my books. This book is set partly in Ghana and partly in the USA. I had a feeling I would love it. It might sound silly but there are some parts of the world that I always enjoy reading from and about. Africa is one such place.

3. This book could almost be called a book of short stories, each individual story holds quite well on it's own. It is a connected narrative for sure but each individual chapter holds merit even when held separately from the rest of the larger story. Also each chapter is a wonderful portrait of the character we are spending time with.

4. I loved both sections of the book. Both the parts of the story- Ghana and America held my interest and I didn't prefer one over the other, which sometimes happens in books like these. The author managed to make each section just as good as the other. I also enjoyed each and every time period this book covers.

5. Slavery...and repercussions of the this evil practice needs to talked about and examined. The far reaching consequences and effects of slavery are brilliantly portrayed in this book. Just because it has seemingly stopped in recent history doesn't mean that the scars it inflicted have been magically erased.

6. The scope and the sheer reach of this book is pretty darn fantastic. It spans centuries and continents and touches numerous lives. The author does justice to each time era and each character in this book.

7. While the book talks of the horrors of slavery and the cruel and despicable acts committed by white people, I also liked that the role played the locals in slavery was also talked about. I also liked how the shame felt by the descendants  of local slave hunters was portrayed so well. In every case of colonisation and slavery , the local people, especially the ones in power often play a crucial role and betray their own. Very often history books and books in general ignore this aspect of history. I really appreciated reading about this.

8. The depictions of life in America for the slaves were some of the hardest bits to read but I am sure the reality of it must have been a thousand times harder.

9. This book was unputdownable. I never wanted to stop reading it. So if you are looking for an immersive read that you want to breeze through, this is the book for you.

10. I love history in general and any book that shows me a part of history I might not know a lot about always interests me. I sadly know only the bare minimum about African history, so this book was a treat in more ways than one.

Rating: 5/5

2017's first 5 star read for me.
I LOVED this book and I cannot recommend it enough. It is golden, searing and heart-breaking and important and you simply have to give it a read.


Monthly Favourites/// April 2017.


Hello! 

My April Favourites are coming very late in the day. I almost thought I'd skip this month but I did love a few things in April that I want to share/ talk about. 

So let's jump into it...

April Favourites! 


1. Reading Bengali Books All Month Long/// I really enjoyed reading only Bengali books all month long in April. 
A great way for me to make my way through a bunch of unread books on my TBR and a great way for me to celebrate Bengali New Year. 


2. Smoothie Season/// April was all about the smoothies for me. 
I drank a lot of smoothies to beat the heat and on days I wanted to skip breakfast. 
My favourite smoothie was a Banana-Peanut Butter-Chocolate smoothie that I whipped up the most.
I also am still madly in love with my Good Earth Mug! 



3. Summer Dressing/// I loved wearing Indian clothes in the most spring colours all month long. 
Indian summers can only be survived by donning Indian fabrics. Cotton, mul, linen and easy breathable clothes. 


4. Silver Shopping/// April also included some delightful silver shopping, which is pretty much one of my favourite things to do! 
We took a friend to our favourite silver shop in Colaba and we bought some beautiful additions to our jewellery boxes too! 



5. Favourite Bag/// I finally did what I meant to do for months and months! 
I DIY-ed my black backpack from Forever 21 with a bunch of stickers I got from H&M. 
I love how it turned out. So much better than paying a ton of money for a backpack with stickers and patches on it. Might as well put on stickers I like. And this was easy and so customisable. 



6. Krishnachura aka Gulmohar/// April means that my city and pretty much all of India is covered with the bright orange/red blooms of the Gulmohar. A sight that always brings me joy. I am so lucky that the area around my home is full of Gulmohar trees that come alive this time of the year! 
:) 


7. Kindle Cover/// My sister picked up this gorgeous bag from Janpath in Delhi. 
I've been using it as a cover for my Kindle. I love it's bright colours and the embroidery. 


8. A Tin of Pins/// I bought so many beautiful pins and badges in April and it makes me so happy. 
Most of the pins are from Lifestyle and H&M. 

April was a good month. 
A hot month full of little joys and good books and spending time with people I like. 
I had ate good food, read good books and had the house to myself for 3 days during which I painted and art journaled to my heart's content. 
April you were good! 

:) 





Monday, 22 May 2017

Monday Moods: Bujo for May 2017.

Hello! 

I have been meaning to dip my toes in the Bullet Journaling (Bujo) world for a while now. 
But the traditional way to doing it, what with keys and symbols and the like seemed way too intimidating. So I kept away. 
To be fair, I think I did my own little version of Bujo all though 2014, when every 3 months I'd move into a new journal and make it my own. I didn't have a traditional planner all year around and by the end of 2014, I had used by some 4-5 empty notebooks of mine, which was my main goal in going planner-less. 

But for this year, starting in May I felt really inspired to Bujo in a small way and see how I felt about it. 

Here is my basic Bujo set for May. 


This is the notebook I've chosen for my Bujo this month. 
It's a passport sized notebook I got from Filter from a brand called Literarian. 
It has both single ruled and grid paper. 
The paper quality is decent, it can take gel pens but is not too good with markers and ink pens. 


Some supplies to prettify my front pages. 
I used single stickers and sticker sheets to add some colour and cutesy. 


How cute is this girl?! 




My front page and front flap all decorated. 
The pineapple and watermelon are sticky notes from Accessorize. 



While I did skip the traditional key, I did make one..which is colour based to differentiate between the areas in my life. 
I do need to add some more for personal chores and things. 




Some examples of how my pages look like. 
I've kept things very minimal, using only Washi Tape to decorate. 
I love having a daily to-do list and little lists to keep track of my life. 



Now for some supplies...

I am using a basic black pen to make the lists.
The coloured pens to colour code, the pens are from Muji. 
And I use a plethora of Washi Tapes. 




Verdict: I am really enjoying this method of planning. And I will have a separate Bujo set-up for every month from now on out. 
It is tiny and easy to maintain and you can personalise it just as easily. 
A win-win.
I am still using my Kikki K as my main planner, and I have no intention of giving up on it and wasting it. 
I use that to set goals and keep track of things and I also chart my mood and use it as a gratitude journal. So that is staying put. 
My Bujo will be just an additional planning tool and is basically my place to keep my daily To-Do list. 

:)

I will share my Bujo antics for the rest of the year on a blog as well. 

I am really enjoying this style of planning! 


Sunday, 21 May 2017

Book Review: City of Death by Abheek Barua.


Book: City of Death

Author: Abheek Barua

Pages: 263

Publisher: Juggernaut Books 

Read On: Hardback

How Long it Took Me To Read: 2 days

Plot Summary: On a muggy monsoon afternoon Sohini Sen gets a call from the chief minister's office. A young woman from a well-connected family in the city has been found brutally murdered. Sen is brought back from a bureaucratic wasteland to the thick of the action.

An intelligent and intuitive investigator who struggles with addiction and depression, Sen is ill-prepared for an investigation that is a political minefield with TV anchors and tabloids baying for blood. As various interested parties, armed with power and money, try to manipulate the murder enquiry. Sen is forced to question the very possibility of justice. 

A moody atmospheric novel that is as much about the Indian city and the dark depth of the human mind as it is about crime and investigation, City of Death marks the debut of a brilliant new voice.


General Thoughts: I spotted this book months before I finally bought it. A murder mystery set in one of my favourite cities is also a pleasure to read!

Things I Liked:

1. I really enjoyed the writing. It was all smooth sailing, a great fete for a debut writer. I also enjoyed the pace of the book. It moved quickly and held my interest at all times.

2. Calcutta. Oh Calcutta! You beauty! Any book set in Calcutta totally has me at hello and this one was no different. Squalid, chaotic, messy, loud and righteous and warm. This city is magic. And I love reading about it and from it.

3. Sohini Sen is well written, she is battling an alcohol addiction and pops pills and is contemplating suicide, she is seemingly unlikable but somewhere along the line, when you get to know her history and all that she had suffered at the hands of the corrupt and inefficient bureaucracy, you start liking her and rooting for her. I really liked Ms. Sen. She is no Sherlock or Poirot but she is bright and sincere. I also really liked her second in command of this investigation- Arjun, another cop who is smart and is himself has suffered loss in his personal life. I liked the two of them individually and I enjoyed reading about their partnership.

4. The crime itself was gruesome and serial killers are always fun to read about. I know how insane this sounds but I love nothing more than a nicely written serial killer killing spree. (Don't judge me!)

5. The world of Bengali news media is shown in all of it's dramatic glory. Scandalous headlines and over jealous news anchors are so prevalent and this is captured so well in this book.

6. We also see little from the perspective of the killer and that when done in a mystery book, is something I always enjoy.

7. The main case, the death of a young girl from an affluent family and all the nasty secrets that come tumbling out of that household was pretty interesting and something I enjoyed quite a bit.

8. I absolutely loved the length of this book. It was perfect. Not too long, not too short- just right. I hate nothing more that mystery books that go on and on and aren't sharply edited. This was one was just right.

Things I Didn't Like: 

I did overall really enjoy this book and I do recommend it. However, the perpetrator of the crime was very, VERY easy to guess. Like pretty much the first time you meet the guy who turns out to be the killer, you know he is the one. Which come to think of it...is not the best thing since this is a whodunit!

Also, there is so much missing from the killer's backstory that leaves you feeling a little unsatisfied. We are shown and told a little of his history but so much it is missing, I would have liked to have some of those holes filled.

Rating: 4/5

I breezed through this book on a Saturday afternoon and really enjoyed my time with it and I highly recommend it, it's perfect summer reading! 

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Haul/// Bags from Pure Ghee Design.


Hello! 

How is your Saturday treating you? 
Mine has been exceptionally relaxing. 
Reading- The Living by Anjali Joseph. 
Chilling. 
Eating good food- Chocolate Peanut Butter Oats and a cheeky pizza for lunch. 
Ah bliss! 
:) 

Today I want to share 2 of my newest bag loves! 
Nothing makes my bag loving heart happier that finding a bag I love. 
These beauties are from Pure Ghee Designs


I've had my eye on these gorgeous bags for a while now. I loved the colours and how simple and clean the design is. 
I ultimately chose a mint/turquoise tote for myself, since I recently had to throw out a mint bag that was completely ruined. So I had room in my life and closet for mint coloured bad. This one fit the bill. This is called the Quilted Metro Work bag
I love, LOVE the colour and how thoughtfully it's designed. 
There is ample space to carry around your essentials and it has pockets inside to keep your stuff organised. The pockets outside are perfect and deep enough to stash your phone and other bits. 
I also adore the bag charm it comes with, I am having a total bird moment right now and this charm makes me very happy. 
:)


While I went for a mint coloured tote bag, my sister chose this black and red slightly larger tote for everyday bag. This is the Classic Tote in Black
It comfortably fits her laptop and every thing she needs on a daily basis. She has been using it for over a week and really loves how well-made and comfortable this bag is to carry, plus being black it goes with everything! 




Such things of beauty. 
I highly recommend these bags and Pure Ghee in general, I love their aesthetic and design sensibility. I've had one other bag from them in the past which I loved too. 
Plus these bags are timeless. They will always be in style and made from silk these will last forever. 
I couldn't be happier with my bag.