Thursday, 30 November 2017

Book Review: A Hundred Little Flames by Preeti Shenoy.


Book: A Hundred Little Flames

Author: Pretti Shenoy

Pages: 386

Publisher: Westland

Read On: Paperback

How Long it Took Me To Read: 3 days

Plot Summary: Sometimes, a journey back is a step forward. 

When 26-year-old Ayan is sent to live with his grumpy old grandfather Gopal Shanker, in a tiny village, in Kerala, he is understandably devastated. What can a sleepy, idyllic village without even Internet connectivity offer a young man? 
To make matters worse, Jairaj, Ayan’s domineering father has his own plans and is determined to have his way. Soon, Ayan has to come to terms with the hard realities of life and the blindness of greed as he and Gopal Shanker learn that life can sometimes unravel in unanticipated ways. 
A young man, whose life lies ahead of him. An old man, whose life is all in the past. And a few months that change everything. A Hundred Little Flames is a charming account of a relationship across generations and also a meditative look at the issues of old people.




General Thoughts: This is my third book by Preeti Shenoy and this is hands down my favourite book from her. This book was kindly sent to me by the Publisher- Westland for review, but the thoughts and opinions are all my own.

Also this book came in the cutest package with a letter written in invisible ink that reveals itself when held over a flame! How freaking cool!!! TBH, Westland always sends really innovative and creative book mail. A couple of years ago they sent out the coolest package before Amish's new book came out.



Things I Liked:

1. I loved the premise, story and the style in which this tale unfolded. It was seriously a joy to read. From the very beginning this book had me hooked. I was very invested in the story and where it was headed as well as the events of the past. It was a very engaging book from the word go. I also enjoyed the writing.

2. This is essentially a story about two generations getting to know each other and building a bond. I love books with grandparents in it. I was super close to my Thamma (paternal grandmother) and books with grandparents in it just have my heart. And with all of my grandparents now gone, these books take me back to the time I spent with them and all the memories I cherished.

3. Ayan Shanker- our protagonist is a regular millennial in some ways, battling career and quarter life crisis he is trying to 'find himself' and his real goal in life. Bogged down by a demanding and bully of a father, your heart goes out to him. He is well written character and comes across as real and relatable. I really liked him and rooted for him.

4. The other main pillar of this story is Gopal Shankar, Ayan's grandfather who at first seems like a typically grumpy and lonely senior citizen and it's heartbreaking to think of him living all alone in a giant, empty house. But as the book progresses, we get to see a whole other side to him. To delve into his past and see the ups and downs of his life, especially his married life was very interesting.

5. I loved that this book showed not one but two rocky father-son relationships. Sometimes family is placed in this exalted and almost reverential position in our society and in films and books. But this is not always true. Some family ties are some of the most toxic things in this world. And we need more books and films to talk about this and address this bitter truth. Ayan's father is a monster bully, he is demanding and cruel to both his father and son. But he is real, sadly, all to familiar to some people who spend their whole lives under the thumb of their parents. This aspect of the book was infuriatingly good!

6. A large portion of this book is written in diary form and this was very enjoyable and something I always enjoy.

7. There is also a sort of mystery element in this book, no not in the thriller way, but a slight mystery about certain events of the past and how they've affected this family.

8. The love story in this book is done really, really well. It isn't over the top, dramatic or melodramatic or sugary. The depth of feeling and strength of the bond was depicted marvellously.

9. The setting of this book was another favourite part of this book- Kerala and life in a small, sleepy village was just so soothing. I also really loved all the people in this village and how kind and helpful and good they were. I always, always enjoy reading about good people. A portion of the book is also set in Pondicherry- which happens to be one of my favourite places- and I really enjoyed the familiar descriptions of the place.

10.  I loved every single minute I spent with this book. It had me hooked from the beginning- Ayan's life in Pune and his journey to Kerala and all the amateur sleuthing he does into the past of his grandfather and all the secrets big and small were all very engaging and I didn't want to put the book down.

Rating: 4.5/5

A really enjoyed this book and I highly recommend it. 

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Fashion Haul: Desically Ethnic {Necklaces + Rings + Pouch + Headband}

Hello! 

Time to do the part II of my Desically Ethnic Haul. 
Part- I had all the earrings I got from them, you can go see it if you haven't already. 

Today I want to show you guys some gorgeous upscaled necklaces from them and some other miscellaneous items that I fell in love with and got. 
I wil say once again I LOVE every thing I received and I will be going back for more! 

Now let's jump into it shall we? 


Gorgeous isn't she?! 
I've already worn her and I love her so much. The vivid pink embroidered flower and the indigo necklace. It's really something special.



More pink but this time balanced with some purple and a forest green necklace. 



My final necklace has some gold zari embroidered on it and an old coin as well. 


I strayed from my up cycled obsession and got some 'trendy' pieces as well. 
Some Lotus motif earrings and ring. 
These are pretty and the earrings are surprisingly light and sit well on my ears. 


This guy is pretty but a little bit pokey! 
But I will wear it and see how it holds up. 
So pretty though. Purple is one of my favourite colours and this floral motif ring was calling out to me. 


I also got this headband and I can't get over how beautiful this is!
Kalamkari is one of my absolute favourite prints from India. It's so bright, vivid and so masterfully crafted! 



 The pouch below and this kinda match! 
:) 



I got this little pouch for my sister as one of her birthday presents. 
The colours and print and illustrations are all very her aesthetic and she thankfully loved it. 



And done! 

:)



Book Haul/// Books of November 2017, Part- I.

Hello! 

Another month is drawing to an end and it's time to catalogue all of the books I bought this month. 
November has been a good month of book buying. I Went to Kitab Khana and got all of these books but one from there. I found some books I really wanted for a while and I am so happy with this haul! 

So let's jump into it. 

Oh! There will be a part II coming soon since I've bought 2 more books and gotten one from a publisher as well. That will come soon! 


I read The Dinner by Herman Koch two years ago and really enjoyed it, so when I spotted this vivid red book on the shelves I couldn't resist it. It's about a book within a book and a murder, all good things! 


Puffin India was kind enough to send this book my way for a review. 
I have read and laughed and loved this book. 
A full review is coming soon! 



This book was on my radar since 2013 but I had a hard time getting my hands on it. I saw it in Kitab Khana and I had to have it and I started reading it the same night and I LOVED it! 


My sister has read and enjoyed several books by Liane Moriarty and I got this for her to read, she had her eye on this one for a while too. This haul sure has a lot of books I've wanted for a while! 


This one was popping up all over my social media. And when I saw it in person I HAD to get it! 
I mean, look at it! 
It's gorgeous! 
And this book is a little out there for me at least. It had some magical realism and some fairy tale vibes and I am hoping to read this in December and hopefully enjoy it immensely. 




The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency books are hands down some of my absolutely favourite books to read. This one is a long series,  I think upto 14-15 books at this point. I've read till book 11 or is it 12. So I need to catch up. Saw this and got this and I still have to read two books before I get to this one, though honestly, you don't really need to read them in order. 


And finally, to the prettiest book in this haul.
A book + journal! 
A novel concept isn't it. 
I kept eying this book on Amazon but told myself I have a lot ( A LOT) of journals already and I don't need this one. 
But..I saw this and I couldn't pass it up. 
In my defence, it's gorgeous and RUSKIN BOND, how could I not! 
I want to do a whole post on this book/journal and my plans on using it, stay tuned for that. 


BOOKS BOUGHT/// 

The Bear and The Nightingale by Katherine Arden 
Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty 
Sold by Patricia McCormick 
Dear Mr M by Herman Koch 
Precious and Grace by Alexander McCall Smith 
Words from the Hills by Ruskin Bond 

Ah! 

Is there anything better than a book haul!? 

What books have you recently added to your bookshelves?! 


Friday, 24 November 2017

Book Review: The Weight of Lies by Emily Carpenter



Book: The Weight of Lies

Author: Emily Carpenter

Pages: 382

Read on: Kindle {Via Kindle Unlimited}

Read in: 3-4 hours 

Plot Summary: Reformed party girl Meg Ashley leads a life of privilege, thanks to a bestselling horror novel her mother wrote decades ago. But Meg knows that the glow of their very public life hides a darker reality of lies, manipulation, and the heartbreak of her own solitary childhood. 

Desperate to break free of her mother, Meg accepts a proposal to write a scandalous, tell-all memoir.
Digging into the past—and her mother’s cult classic—draws Meg to Bonny Island, Georgia, and an unusual woman said to be the inspiration for the book. At first island life seems idyllic, but as Meg starts to ask tough questions, disturbing revelations come to light…including some about her mother.
Soon Meg’s search leads her to question the facts of a decades-old murder. She’s warned to leave it alone, but as the lies pile up, Meg knows she’s getting close to finding a murderer. When her own life is threatened, Meg realizes the darkness found in her mother’s book is nothing compared to the chilling truth that lurks off the page.

Things I Like:
  • This is a book-within-a-book novel and I simply love this format, where you get to read two stories in one book. Always a win! 
  • The premise of the book is interesting. A daughter who has had a troubled relationship with her mother decides to unearth a murder mystery at the heart of her mom's cult classic bestseller book. This leads her back to the little island, where her mom's book was based and the consequences of her actions are quite devastating. So much drama to be expected, right?! And the book does deliver on all the drama- both in the present day and 40 years ago. 
  • The writing is solid and the scenes set of Bonny Island are very atmospheric. The spookiness and derelict-ness of the place comes to life in the pages of the book. As Meg tries to question the super-elusive and also super-weird Doro (the owner of the island and the child that was accused in Meg's mom's book of a murder 40 years ago), strange things start happening. The island has a slightly crazy vibe with wild horses running free and snakes of all kinds slithering around. Very atmospheric. 
  • There is a 40-year old murder mystery at the heart of Meg's mother's book, which attracts a ton of hardcore wanna detective fans, who did a lot of research in their attempt to solve the murder. I thought even this was nicely depicted in the book. Meg lays her hands on one such fan's book and the annotations and theories on the sidebars were really interesting. 
  • There is a nice little twist at the end of the book, which you, sort of, see coming, but not fully, which is always a good thing!  

Things I Didn't Like:
  • I wish there was a little more time spent showing Meg unearthing the mystery of the island than fighting with her mom or her weird 'agent' (a dude called Asa, who seems super sketchy!) 
Rating: 4/5
 


Monday, 20 November 2017

Monday Moods: Life Lately + NaNoWriMo Update!


Ring and the setting sun. 


A city of lights. 


Some favourite stationery bits. 
A glimpse into my sister's dori and a happy mail day! 



Bag loving. 
This bag is from Jaypore. 


Cactus on cactus. 

The pouch is from Cyahi.
The cactus bag charm is from H&M. 

Hello! 

Hope your week is off to a good start. 
Mine was a slow one. After a weekend of writing my butt off I've taken today a little slow. 
I am currently 15,300 words into my NaNoWriMo project and I am so happy.  I don't think I will finish my book by month end but I am more than happy to have made a big dent in my book and just to be writing again. I will write well into December and hopefully have my book finished by December 31st. 

That way I will have a book done by the end of 2017. 

:)




Sunday, 19 November 2017

Stationery Sunday: Speckled Fawns Traveler's Notebook and New Stamps!

In today's edition of Stationery Sunday, I'll be sharing two new acquisitions with you!

The first is a new Field Notes (FN)/ Pocket sized Traveler's Notebook (TN) from Speckled Fawns and the second is a set of floral collage stamps from MyPaperProjects.




Here  is the TN. It is in Speckled Fawns' limited edition Stampede leather (that's now sold out) and this TN is so well made! The leather is really interesting and sort of dual-toned and lovely. 




I love having an outside pocket as it comes in super handy to tuck in bits and bobs and receipts and things in it. I use this TN for my weekly chores, home-related expenses and tasks tracking. 

The stamps are just stunning! I will share what they look like on paper in a future post. I love using them to decorate my memory-keeping pages and do some fun collaging on the pages of my Hobonichi. 



A closer look at the decorative clips on top of my TN as well as at the leather of the TN and the stamp.

Hope you enjoyed this quick haul (of sorts).

Have a great week ahead! 


Friday, 17 November 2017

Whimsy Wear: Red and Black and Kutchi Embroidery.


Hello! 

Time to share yet another Whimsy Wear post. 
I wore this predominantly red outfit for Ashtami, so this post is seriously a #Latergram. 

But better now than never! 

I loved this outfit of mine. 
It was comfy and I could walk around and breathe in this outfit. Perfect for a muggy September evening. 






Outfit Details/// 

Kurta- Fabindia 
Bag- Either Or, Pune 
Ring- Darjeeling 
Jootis- iTokri 
Silver- Fabindia & Amber Colaba 
Beaded Necklace- The Orange Bicycle Bangalore (now closed) 




Thursday, 16 November 2017

Fashion Haul: Desically Ethnic Earrings! {Part- I}

Hello! 

Today I want to share a little haul of some seriously delightful things. Since I got quite a few goodies, this haul will be split into a few parts. This Part - I will include all of the earrings I got from Desically Ethnic,  a brand I spotted while browsing on Instagram. They have a ton of stuff- clothing, bags, wallers and other accessories and even home decor bits. 
I stuck to my favourite and got mostly jewellery and some other miscellaneous things (those will be shared soon.) 

For now some beautiful earrings! 
Most of these earrings are from their Up-Cycled Collection- where they use leftover fabrics and put them to good use. I think this is such a good idea and I wish more brands sought out ways to reduce their waste and bring out something beautiful at the same time. 


I got this pair because something in the blue family goes with everything. And I do own a lot of clothes in shades of blue. 


I am always drawn to bright yellows. Yellow is such a happy colour it just makes any outfit pop. 
Plus, these little birds are too cute to pass up! 


Lotus loves! 
My Dad called these my BJP earrings! :) 


More birds because clearly I am mildly obsessed! 
I also loved the fall colours on this one. 


Pinks and Red. 


And one more bird themed jewellery piece! 

I have quite a few bird motif jewellery pieces. I should do a whole collection post. 

I am so in love with these jewellery pieces. They are well-made and fairly affordable. Go check them out. 

:) 




Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Book Review: Sold by Patricia McCormick {Non-Fiction November}



Book: Sold

Author: Patricia McCormick

Pages: 227

Publisher: Walker Books

Read On: Paperback

How Long it Took Me To Read: 2 days

Plot Summary: Thirteen-year-old Lakshmi lives with her family in a small hut on a mountain in Nepal. Though they are desperately poor, Lakshmi’s life is full of simple pleasures: playing hopscotch with her best friend, looking after her black-and-white speckled goat, having her mother brush her hair by the light of an oil lamp. But when Lakshmi’s family lose all that remains of their crops in a monsoon, her stepfather says she must leave home and take a job in the city. Lakshmi undertakes the long journey to India full of hope for her new life, proud to be able to earn, daring to hope that she will make enough money to make her mother proud too. Then she learns the unthinkable truth: for 10,000 rupees she has been sold into prostitution.

General Thoughts: I am trying to read as much non-fiction as I can manage in the month of November for Non-fiction November. I am mostly and largely a fiction reader and lover. But there is always room to read more varied books.

This book in particular I've wanted to read for a long time, ever since I first heard of it in 2014 I think, but for some reason I had a hard time getting my hands on it. I finally spotted it in Kitab Khana on Saturday and I had to get it. I started reading it pretty much immediately.

Things I Liked: 

1. The writing was absolutely beautiful and such a delight to read. The best part was that this lyrical and poignant writing style made this book seem very unlike usual non-fiction reads.

2. This book is so important. We need to know more and learn more about this growing epidemic of sex trafficking and sexual slavery that effects so many girls and women. It is high time the world woke up to the exploitation and human rights violations these girls endure and we need to help in any which way we can. The first step to help and make a difference is to understand and learn as much as we can about the situation these girls find themselves in. The best way to learn and fully grasp these situations is to know of their lives. To see their misfortunes. I absolutely loved learning more and immersing myself in this world- as difficult and painful as it was.

3. I loved that this book showed so much of Lakshmi's life before she enters the murky world of sex trade. We see her life in her little village and it's people and the rhythm of her daily life. This makes you connect with Lakshmi from the very beginning and you get to know her and dreams and aspirations very well. We get to meet her mother, a woman working so hard to make ends meet and provide for her daughter and baby son. This makes us get to know Lakshmi's life inside out.


4. Apart from getting us to connect with Lakshmi, this detailed delve into her backstory explains plainly how your life goes from normal  to terrifying in a matter of moments. It makes its amply clear how poverty, drought and illness make people vulnerable to making poor decisions.

5. I loved Lakshmi, she is such a wonderful character, full of heart and hope and little dreams. Her simple hill life and her aspirations for the future will break your heart. You desperately want her to escape her hellish life in the brothel and make it back to her Ama and her baby brother.

6. The life in the brothel is told with unflinching honesty, yet it isn't graphic. It will move you, shock you and leave you numb (especially as a woman) but it paints a clear picture of the life of the women living and working there.

7. This book had me from the word go, I was hooked and pulled into this world from the first page. I couldn't put it down. It is an engaging and intense in parts and gripping.

8. The women in the brothel- Monica, Pushpa, Anita and the horrible, cruel and abusive Mumtaz are all so well etched out and we also get to know some of their back stories and get a glimpse into their lives. I really liked getting these additional stories.

9. I also loved and really appreciated that there were some light moments and some camaraderie shown between the women at the brothel. Life, even as it's hardest can come with little respites and some laughs. It doesn't reduce the suffering considerably but life is always a mixed bag, even in hellish circumstances life throws you some joy now and again.

10. The ending did take me by surprise, I was expecting a few more pages and a proper and neat closer but there wasn't there. I will admit for a moment it did bum me out a little. But once I finished the book I realised that it was perhaps the best kind of ending for a book like this. It leaves certain things to your own interpretation and imagination and I for one, imagine Lakshmi living a happy life. Normally, I am not one for open ended books, but this one I think it makes sense.

Rating: 5/5

I cannot recommend this book enough! It was a fantastic, insightful and heart-breaking and eye opening read. So good! Read it NOW!



Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Book Review: Turtles All The Way Down by John Green.


Book: Turtles All The Way Down

Author: John Green

Pages: 336

Read On: Hardback edition

Publisher: Penguin

How Long it Took Me To Read: 3 days

Plot Summary: It all begins with a fugitive billionaire and the promise of a cash reward. Turtles All the Way Down is about lifelong friendship, the intimacy of an unexpected reunion, Star Wars fan fiction and tuatara. But at its heart is Aza Holmes, a young woman navigating daily existence within the ever-tightening spiral of her own thoughts.In his long-awaited return, 

General Thoughts: A John Green book after ages! Like everyone else I was very excited to read something from Green. Plus this book had a slight mystery element attached to it and mental health and struggles with mental illness are an important part of the narrative. My excitement was super high to delve into this book.

Thank-you, Penguin for sending this book my way.
The book was sent to me for review but my thoughts and opinions are entirely my own!

Things I Liked:

1. The writing was typically John Green- smart, quirky, clever and uniquely his own. If you are a Green fan, this book is just the thing for you, it won't disappoint.

2. The depiction of mental illness in YA or in any other genre really is often watered down or altered slightly to fit in with the milieu of the book. Sometimes certain aspects of mental illness are made more palatable and easy to swallow, and what this does it make the mental illness in question seem nothing more than a trope, a prop and lose it's authenticity completely. I take writing on mental illness very seriously since this is what I have my degree on (I am a trained Clinical Psychologist). Nothing irks me more than poorly or incorrectly written descriptions of mental illness.
Mental illness isn't pretty. It isn't a character quirk. It isn't a prop to make a character seem real and lifelike. Mental illness is hard. It is cruel. It is crippling and debilitating. It kicks your ass on a daily basis. It is a part of you, some days a dominant part and on some a small yet significant part of your psyche.  In the hands of a less than competent writer, mental illness loses it's essence. But John Green makes Aza's OCD come to life in all of it's gritty and messy glory. Perhaps he is aided with his own struggles with OCD. His own experience and his own battle with obsessive thoughts has made Aza's life seem unflinchingly real. Hard to read in parts but so brilliantly lifelike.

3. Aza Holmes is her thoughts. She is her inability to control the route her thoughts take. But she is also more. She is a friend, a daughter, a teenager and she is also trying to be an amateur sleuth. Aza and her messy and spiralling thoughts will stay with you long after you put this book down.

4. It might sound silly but I really enjoyed reading about Aza and Daisy's internet sleuthing techniques. It seemed so real and something I am sure most of us at some point in our lives have undertaken.

5. I also really liked Daisy and I liked the friendship between Daisy and Aza. I liked that there was some squabbling and fights and resentments. Friendships, especially teenage friendships aren't all rainbows and butterflies.

6. I love books. Well, obviously I do. But I LOVE books that make me learn new things and make me see a situation in a new light. This book does that and so much more.

7. John Green is a clever man, you'd know this if you've seen any of his videos. The thing I love about this writing is that he talks about so many different things in this books. This book for instance, talks about art and constellations and animals and Star Wars and the whole time, Green doesn't dumb things down. He never, not for a minute talks down to his readers or insults their intelligence. This book really felt like talking to an intelligent person who has very diverse interests.

8. Even though the love story aspect of this book wasn't the biggest part of this book but I still really enjoyed the love/relationship bits of this book.


Things I Didn't Like: 

I did like this book, and I appreciated a whole lot, I really do appreciate it but ultimately I don't think I LOVED this book. This is an important book that talks about mental illness and living with a mental illness with grace and sensitivity. I cannot give it enough kudos for that.

BUT this was a hard to book to read. Too hard in some parts. Aza's swirling, and spiralling out of control obsessive thoughts while done really well were not my cup of tea and I found myself getting bored and losing interest rapidly. I just didn't want to read anymore about stomach bacteria!

I also found that some of the more 'philosophical' portions of the book just didn't hold my interest at all.

Rating: 3.5/5




Monday, 13 November 2017

Book Review: Terribly Tiny Tales.


Book: Terribly Tiny Tales

Author: Various (An Anthology)

Pages: 317

Publisher: Penguin Random House India 

Read On: Paperback

How Long it Took Me to Read: 4 hours, with several breaks.

Plot Summary: A collection of Terribly Tiny Tales from 100 writers. A compilation of some of the best stories from the very popular Facebook Page.

General Thoughts: If you've been a fan of TTT then you've heard about this book- that compiles some of the most popular and best loved stories from these flash fiction gems.

Review: Things I Liked

1. I will be honest, I am not what you'd call the biggest TTT fan. I don't follow the page on FB, nor do I have the app. I have never really loved the concept of super short fiction. It's just how I am. I prefer pages and pages instead of 140 words. It's not quite my thing. So when this book arrived in the mail from Penguin for a review , I was a little unsure if I would read and enjoy the book. I thought of passing it on to someone who would appreciate it more than I was likely to. I have several friends and cousins who are OBSESSED with these stories!

BUT! WAIT! I started flipping through the book and reading and I was hooked.

2. I read this book in under 4 hours and kept flipping pages and reading the stories and enjoying them.

3. If you are already hooked to these stories then you will enjoy this book immensely. It is a collection of some of the best stories from the FB page and if you are a fan you might find some of your favourite stories in this compilation.

4. If like me, you are not someone wholly into these stories so far, you might find ones that move you and are wonderfully written.

5. I think this book works wonderfully as a coffee table book, even though it isn't traditionally a coffee table book. It's great to leave it out on your coffee table and flip through it while sipping a cup of coffee or tea. Read a few stories now and again.

I of course, read it all in one sitting like a moron! I wish I had read a few stories and really savoured this book and made it last longer. But I can go back and re-read them at a much slower pace.

6. I enjoyed most of these stories. I also loved that several of them spoke of relevant and prevalent social evils. They will move you and make you think about the state of our society.

7. Even the genre of stories were pretty diverse- contemporary stories were the most predominant kind, but there were also love stories, several twist in the tale stories ( which might I add is remarkable to do in under 140 words!) and even some horror stories. There is really something for everyone!

Things I Didn't Like: 

1. The only con I can think of is that some of the writers are repeated several times throughout the anthology and I wish we hard heard newer voices.

2. Also, since this is an anthology the quality of writing differs from one writer to another.
Therefore, some stories were brilliant while others didn't quite measure up.

Rating: 4/5

A quick and easy and a fun read. I highly, highly recommend it.

Saturday, 11 November 2017

Vignettes/// Postcards from Diwali 2017!


Sparkle Sparkle! 




Lights that were so bright and beautiful but kinda went kaput! 
Like seriously, these lights went out with a damn bang! 



A flower rangoli and the hand that put it together! 


Patakha! 




Diwali this year was small, quiet and went by way too soon! 

Come back soon Diwali and bring lots of light and love with you.