Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Monthly Reading Wrap-Up: January 2018.



Hello! 

January is gone (nearly) and it has left me with quite a few books read and some pretty diverse reads at that. January was a very good reading month! 
I hope the rest of my reading year matches January. 

Let's jump into all of my reading that I did in January. 

BOOKS READ IN JANUARY 2018! 

1. The Mussoorie Murder Edited by Ruskin Bond: My first book read in 2018 and even the first book I bought in 2018. Truth be told, I got this book thinking it will all Ruskin Bond. It wasn't. It is an anthology of classic short stories. I quite enjoyed it. 
3/5 

2. One by Sarah Crossan: An incredible book. I loved it. Read it in one evening and I can't recommend it enough. 
So good! 
5/5

3. The Ten Dollar Bride by Sanya Runway: Another collection of short stories dealing with the myriad issues women in India face. 
Compelling and moving.
3.5/5 

4. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling, Illustration by Jim Kay: A very happy re-read! I will say that the illustrations in this book were so much more darker that the last two instalments, which completely fits with the themes in the book. 
5/5 

5. The Weight of Water by Sarah Crossan: I loved One so much, I got two more books by the same author. I read this one first and I did like it. Just not as much as One. It was about Polish immigrants in Britain and the racism and scorn they face. I will do a full review soon. 
3/5 

6. The Aunt Who Wouldn't Die by Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay, Translated by Arunava Sinha: A funny little novella full of family struggles and swinging family fortunes. I loved it! 
4/5 

7. Are You Sleeping? by Kathleen Barber: Twists and turns and true crime podcasts. A fun and engaging read. 
3/5 

8. A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khalid Hosseini: Another re-read. Just as amazing as when I first read it over 10 years ago. 
5/5 

9. A Strangely Wrapped Gift by Emily Brynes: A collection of poetry! 
Who would have thunk it?! Me reading poetry! 2018 is off to a promising start with me expanding my reading horizons. I loved this collection of poetry, it's themes were mainly mental illness specifically OCD, love, relationships and life and living. So good! I am so glad I chanced upon this gem of a book. 
4/5 

10. A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett: My classic read of the year. Read in my beloved Puffin in Bloom edition and I enjoyed this book. It is a little twee but still enjoyable. I hope to watch a movie adaptation soon. 
3/5 

11. People Who Eat Darkness by Richard Lloyd Parry: A non-fiction read. Chronicling the disappearance and murder of Britisher Lucie Blackman in Japan, this book goes into the victim, her life, her case and it's court case. I applaud the research that must have gone into this book. I really do. But Man!!!! This book was so boring and so deep into every single aspect of the story. Just..wayy too much. I was so bored and I wish the writer would just get to the point. 
2/5 

12. Did You See Melody? by Sophie Hannah: Inspired by a very popular case. This book was a fun read. A sound thriller. With a great twist as well. 
3.5/5 

13. Mrs. C Remembers by Himanjali Sankar: A great books about family, memory and even the world at large. So good. 
A full review will come soon. 
4/5 

14. Salt by Nayyirah Waheed: Another poetry collection! What! I guess I like poetry now. 
I loved this collection of poetry.  It's main themes were race, feminism, self-love and self-worth. Very powerful stuff. I highly recommend. So good! 
4/5 

15. The Ghost of an Indian Bride by Divyansh Munda: A short story very inspired by Sherlock Holmes. The Watson here is called Moriarty! 
:) 
It was enjoyable enough. A quick and engaging read.
3/5 

16. Fly, Little Fish by Lavanya Karthik: An adorable read. Full of gorgeous art and illustration. A visual treat for young and older readers alike. 
5/5 

17. One Dark Cloud by Sobha Vishwanath: A counting book for a rainy day full of lovely rainy day bits- rain boots, warm blankets and umbrellas. Very charming. 
5/5

18. The Perfect Roommate by Minka Kent: I read The Memory Watcher by Minka Kent last year and I lovedddd it. So when I saw she had a new book out I immediately got it via Kindle Unlimited and read it as soon I got it.
I liked this book, it's fast paced and very engaging. I couldn't put it down. I read it in one sitting. But it wasn't as good as her other book. There were quite a few twists and turns but a lot of them were fairly easy to guess.
3/5

19. Daughter of the Red Light by Shanoor Seervai: Another non-fiction read of the month. A short essay of sorts about the children of the red light area of Mumbai and the author's own experience with working with these kids. I quite enjoyed this book and reading about these extraordinary girls.
3/5

20. The Girl Who Lived by Christopher Greyson: A thriller about a girl who witnessed the brutal murder of her sister and father as a teenager and bounced in and out of mental hospitals ever since. It was OK..not great, not awful..just average.
2.5/5

I've done reviews for a lot of these books.
Numbers- 2, 6, 7 and 12 all have full reviews.
So there it is!

20 books read.
Some Poetry.
Short Stories.
Picture Books.
A Classic.
A very wonderful mix of genres. I honestly, couldn't be happier!

January, you've been good for me and my reading life.
I bought over 20 books- a good way to start the year and read so many amazing books.
2018 is off to a good reading start.

How was your January reading like?

Do Tell!


Tuesday, 30 January 2018

Book Haul/// Books From Talking Cub- Prankenstein & The Little Ninja Sparrows.

Hello! 

Today I want to share a delightful book haul from Talking Cub books, a new imprint of Speaking Tiger Books. 
I was recently, very kindly sent these books for review and I can't wait to get to them.
I plan on reading them in February.
These books seem to be full of joy and even have darling illustrations.
They promise to be good, soothing, fun reads!



Prankenstein The Book of Crazy Mischief Edited by Ruskin Bond and Jerry Pinto: 
Is your school a hotspot for jokes? Do your family members regularly fall victim to pranks? Do ghosts and spooks get you into trouble? Find every kind of funny, crazy, impossible mischief in this book. Here you will find the girl who turned into a sloth just for her mother, the horse who went to the library and ate up some classics, the substitute teacher who saw dead people, the play where everything that could go wrong did go wrong, and many more amazing tales of pranks and troublemaking!

Selected by Ruskin Bond and Jerry Pinto, these stories have been written by some of the best children’s writers of the country, including Sukumar Ray, R.K. Narayan, Ranjit Lal, Subhadra Sen Gupta, Paro Anand, Bulbul Sharma and many more. As an added bonus, watch out for brand new stories by Ruskin Bond and Jerry Pinto, too. Prankenstein is a delicious treasure trove of trouble and will have every mischief-maker plotting that perfect prank!


The Little Ninja Sparrows by Ranjit Lal: Chiddy and Gouri, two baby sparrows, are bullied mercilessly by their elder siblings. They are so traumatized that they absolutely refuse to learn how to fly. Instead, they run away, kindly assisted by Breaking Wind—a jovial breeze. But they quickly discover that the world is an unkind place; they are trapped, dyed red, caged and sold off.
A kind girl frees them, but the sparrows—still red and flightless—end up on the ‘hit list’ of the local cat mafia. From there, how do the timid little birds become the feared ninja sparrows? Will they be able to defeat the evil Siamese cats Ping-Li and Pong-La? Will they ever be able to return to their families? And will they finally realize that being a bird means being able to fly free?
In this delightful book, Ranjit Lal reveals the incredible drama that flourishes among bird and animal lives in the gardens and parks all around us. Clever, funny and full of non-stop adventure, The Little Ninja Sparrows is about finding your true place in the world—whether human or sparrow. 



So much happy reading in my future!
:)

Thank-you Talking Cub for sending these books across!
:)

Monday, 29 January 2018

Book Review: The Aunt That Wouldn't Die / Goynar Baksho by Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay, Translated by Arunava Sinha



Book: The Aunt Who Wouldn't Die

Author: Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay

Translator: Arunava Sinha

Publisher: Bee Books 

Pages: 120

Read On: Paperback

How Long it Took Me Read: 2 days

Plot Summary: A joint family with dwindling fortunes. A dead aunt. A lingering ghost. A box of jewellery.

General Thoughts: I watched Goynar Baksho, the film, when it first came out and I loved it. It is an amazing movie. Directed by Aparna Sen and starring Konkona Sen Sharma, Moushumi Chatterjee and Saswata- the film is a laugh riot. I knew it was based on a novella but since it was written in Bengali and an English translation wasn't available (back then) I couldn't read it. When I saw that there finally existed an English translation, that too translated by my favourite translator, I had to give it a read!

Things I Liked:

1. The writing was great. I have read one other book by the author- Fun and Funnier and enjoyed it as well. This book was a wonderful mix of humour and wit and a saga of a family whose fortunes are on a downward spiral. An interesting read in so many different ways.

2. Having had seen the movie, I thought that the book will be more of the same. Which it was to an extent. The film is a fairly true to text adaptation of the book. I was quite happy with book to screen adaptation of this one. But there were quite a few notable differences as well, which was nice too. Made the book seem a little new to me- if you what I mean.

3. The book though mostly humourous also deals with some other aspects of family life. Resentments between warring factions of the same family. Fights about property. Dwindling family fortunes. Some very typical family issues. All fairly commonplace but make for very interesting reading.

4. I really, really liked Somlata, she is strong in a very understated way. She quietly goes about changing the family fortune. She sets up a saree shop and helps her good for nothing husband become a responsible family man. She is kind and generous and so relatable and you find yourself rooting for her.

5. It is a personal quirk of mine but I find books about dwindling family fortunes quite interesting. Maybe because I have grown up hearing so many of these stories.

6. The ghost of Roshomoyee was a force of nature. Loud, bitter, opinionated and such a unforgettable character. I loved her. I loved that her bitterness and rage against the world and her family is explained so well. Why wouldn't a child widow be bitter? Why wouldn't she hold on to her bitterness post her death?! Why wouldn't someone who was deprived everything life be an angry ghost?

7. This novella is told from two perspectives- Somlata's and Boshon's. I really liked this aspect of the book.


Rating: 4/5

A fantastic and quick read. I highly recommend!
I also highly recommend the movie. It's available on Amazon Prime and Netflix and I urge you to give it a watch. It is a family favourite!



Sunday, 28 January 2018

Stationery Sunday: Stationery Haul/// La Dolce Vita Pencil Bags + Washi Tapes + Buttons.

Hello! 
Hope your Sunday is going well. 
For this last Sunday of January, I want to share some very delightful Stationery bits. 
La Dolce Vita is one of our favourite stationery shops. Their art and aesthetic is so lovely. 
We have tons of stickers from them and some washi tapes too. 
This time we got two of their pencil cases, washi tapes and buttons and a reading girl stamp! 

Let's jump into all the beauty. 



First things we ordered were these two adorable pencil cases/ pencil pouches. Just love the adorable illustrations on both. The one on the left is mine and the one on the right is for my sister!



A reading girl stamp! Just the perfect thing that every reader needs! Can't wait to use this in my journal and colour in her outfit and hair! :) 




Bought two washi tapes.. one with stationery items on it and another one with illustrations of girls doing fun things- taking photos, reading etc. 





Another look at the two pencil pouches! 





Here are the two buttons! They feel so matte and amazing- unlike any other buttons I've ever felt! 

Hope you enjoyed this little stationery haul! 

See you soon! 

Saturday, 27 January 2018

Book Haul/// Books from Book Chor. { Books of January Part- II }

Hello! 

I am here to share some books I recently hauled from Book Chor. 
I got 4 books all new this time around. I got some books I've wanted for a while and had been on my wish-list for a while now. 
I also got two super cute books with my package. 
:) 

I am so excited for all of these books and some of them are bound to be in my February TBR. 

Let's see the books I've added to my bookshelves. 







BOOKS BOUGHT/// 

The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes 
History of Wolves by Emily Fridlund 
Behold The Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue 
Juniper Lemon's Happiness Index by Julie Israel 


A Harry Potter and a Friends bookmark.
Perfect!




Friday, 26 January 2018

Book Review: Did You See Melody? by Sophie Hannah





Book: Did You See Melody? (known in the US as Keep Her Safe)

Author: Sophie Hannah 

Pages: 336 

Read on: Kindle 

Read in: 3-4 hours 

Plot Summary: Pushed to breaking point, Cara Burrows abandons her home and family and escapes to a five-star spa resort she can't afford. Late at night, exhausted and desperate, she lets herself into her hotel room and is shocked to find it already occupied - by a man and a teenage girl.

A simple mistake on the part of the hotel receptionist - but Cara's fear intensifies when she works out that the girl she saw alive and well in the hotel room is someone she can't possibly have seen: the most famous murder victim in the country, Melody Chapa, whose parents are serving life sentences for her murder.
Cara doesn't know what to trust: everything she's read and heard about the case, or the evidence of her own eyes. Did she really see Melody? 
And is she prepared to ask herself that question and answer it honestly if it means risking her own life?

Things I Liked: 
  • The premise of the book seemed really interesting. A woman on a holiday (of sorts) believes she has seen a girl, who was supposedly killed by her own parents some seven years ago! Was who Cara Burrows saw really Melody?! If yes, then who is the man that she is with? The premise threw up a lot of interesting questions and I couldn't wait to dive into the book! 
  • The events that unfolded ever since Cara stepped into that swanky Swallowtail Resort in Arizona were quite interesting and fast-paced. Cara stumbling into the wrong room, seeing a girl with a man, figuring out the next day that the girl she saw was Melody Chapa- the most famous missing girl in the US. There is never a dull moment in this book! 
  • The story is told in an interesting and engaging manner. We get to see events from Cara's point of view- her early days at the resort, her friendship with the extremely sharp and no-nonsense florist from Kanasa- Tarin Fry and her feeling helpless and conflicted as no one at the resort would call the police to report her sighting of Melody. Then, we are also shown pages of a book or a diary, presumably written by Melody herself, which outline the emotional abuse and coldness that Melody faced from her parents. So, as a reader, you wonder if it was this abuse that finally escalated into Melody's murder? Or was Melody's death faked? If so, then by who or whom? 
  • My favourite character in the book was the intrepid Tarin Fry! Clearly, a woman after my heart, who saw through all the BS and smartly got the FBI involved to investigate Cara's claims once she figured that the local senior cop was quite useless. Tarin's sharp observations and her connecting the dots of what was going on at Swallowtail helped the FBI figure things out much faster! 
  • The book brings up the very important issue of 'trial by media' or 'trial in the court of public opinion'. We have this vile prosecutor turned TV journalist called Bonnie Juno, who prides herself on figuring out who the 'real' killer is and going hammer and tongs after them on her TV show. The book does a great job on the perils of discussing live cases on national TV and trying to sway the public opinion based on selective pieces of information. 
  • There is a decent "twist"/ reveal in the end, which is quite nicely done and is not very guess-able, which is always a nice element in a mystery book. Also, the last chapter is a bit of a shock, but to be honest, you can see it coming! 
Things I Didn't Like: 
  • I just didn't like Cara! Her reasons for dumping her family back home in England and running off to a posh spa in the US, thereby, blowing up a third of her family's savings. Cara is annoying and moronic and whiny and I just couldn't empathise with her, even when she was kidnapped! Too bad that this character was written as this entitled, whiny, full of #firstworldproblems, else I would've possibly enjoyed this book a lot more! 
  • I wish there was more time spent on unraveling what really happened to Melody rather than wasting so much time on describing the "posh" Swallowtail Resort and Spa! 
Rating: 3.5/ 5 
This is a good, fast-paced read and, honestly, if you like Cara's character, then you may like the book much more than I did :) 

Thursday, 25 January 2018

Jewellery Haul: Pendants from Madhubani Motifs.



Hello! 

I am a big fan and a supporter of Indian Arts and Handicrafts. But if were to ask me about my favourite of all Indian Art forms I may pause for a minute and tell you is was Madhubani. 
There is something so deeply simple yet divine about Madhubani Art. This renowned style of painting originated in the Maithili village of Bihar. The painting is done with fingers, twigs, matchsticks and of course brushes and nibs. The subject matter is pretty diverse- people, portraits, Gods and Goddesses and even nature. Honestly, all things Madhubani are gorgeous. 

You can read more about Madhubani Painting HERE. 



My family has had ties to Madhubani too. 
My Thamma's family lived in Mithila for a few years and my father spent some of his childhood summers here. A place that is full of happy memories and nostalgia for him. He remembers seeing local women who would paint their homes and walls and even sarees in this style. 
Oh! What I wouldn't give to go back in time and see all of this for myself! 



So when I came across Madhubani Motifs on Instagram, my heart skipped a beat and I had to incorporate some of these beauties in my life and style. 

I got 3 pendants and I want to share them with you today. 



Look how gorgeous! 


The package came with an adorable handwritten note. 
I love when brands include little notes. 



I am having a total yellow moment right now! 


Flowers! 
Flowers forever! 


I especially love the aqua and pink one. One of my favourite colour combinations ever. 


All pendants came with their own necklaces which are 23 inches long, which is a wonderfully comfortable length.

The art is gorgeous. 
The colours super vivid. 
The quality of the pieces is great too. 

Each pendant costs ₹600.



I totally recommend you check them out on Instagram. 


Wednesday, 24 January 2018

Book Review: Sindoori Ranng by Gargi Saxena



Book: Sindoori Ranng 

Author: Gargi Saxena 

Pages: 42 

Read On: Kindle 

How Long it Took Me To Read: 20 minutes 

Plot Summary: A simple Indian girl's life falls in jeopardy when she discovers that she is being stalked. Everything in her world goes topsy-turvy as the anonymous stalker creeps into each aspect of her life slowly uncovering her boyfriend's real nature and her own desire to soar high in spite of her conservative family.
This short and fast paced story is a thrilling take on an average Indian teenager's life.

General Thoughts: This book was sent to me by the writer for an honest review. I read this book in one sitting (it is a short read) back in December and quite enjoyed it. 
All opinions are my own and not influenced by other factors. 
The book is available on Kindle Unlimited for free, if you are a subscriber of the service. 

Review: 

1. Though this is a book about a teenage girl, I think this story will work for people of all age groups. It is relatable and engaging. 

2. The writing and the story telling style was decent. 

3. Being a super short read, only 42 pages, this works as a great read during your daily commute or even during your lunch/coffee/tea break. 

4. The premise of the story is something I found very interesting. An ordinary, small-town girl being harassed by an online stalker and the toll it's taking on her. Anyone who has experienced this sort of nuisance, even in the slightest amount, will know how unnerving it is. And the author does a good job portraying not just the stalking but also Sindoori's reactions and fear. 

5. Another very important topic this book covers is abuse within a romantic relationship. Sure, there are countless books and films about violence in romantic relationships but in India we don't seem to talk about it. Especially in small-town India, where romantic relationships are usually conducted on the sly and kept under wraps. Girls try their level best keep their romances a secret and away from prying eyes, so imagine if she is facing abuse and violence in this relationship. Who helps her? What is her support system? She can't quite confide in her family, friends might be wary of stepping in and, even if you do open up, there is the chance of being victim-blamed. A messy and sordid situation. 
This book does a good job of talking about this issue and I wish we had more conversation about it. 

6. Normally, I am not a fan of open endings. But in this case it works well. The ending gives you some answers but lets you- the reader- decipher the larger ending. I was quite pleased with it. 

Rating: 3/5 

This was overall an engaging read. Simple and easy to follow and accessible to every kind of reader. 


General Whimsy: Notebooks & Journals.

Hello! 
Sharing some journal and notebooks that I love. 
I am a stationery hoarder and I wouldn't have it any other way! 
:)
I can't resist a beautifully made notebook and the prospect of filling up empty pages with thoughts and musings is a very pleasant feeling! 


A fabric dori from Lyra and Co, which was my Bujo for November 2017. 


An utterly gorgeous leather notebook cover. 
This is the Mr. Darcy in A6 Buttered Rum from Chic Sparrow


I got this notebook for my sister on her birthday. She has a thing for all things birds. 
I adore the illustation and the very old, retro feel of this notebook. 
I got this from iTokri. 



I love how my sister sets up her doris! 
This beauty is from Zenkraft. 
It is a Field Notes Pro-Sleeve. 
:)



A set of turtle notebooks from Fabindia. 
Bought simply because they were too cute to be left behind! 

:) 

Do you hoard notebooks too? 


Monday, 22 January 2018

Monday Moods: Silver Jewellery in Black and White





Hello!!! 

For today's Monday Moods I want to share some of my favourite things in the world. 
Silver Jewellery.
Black and White Pictures. 

From Top to Bottom: 


-Mirror Work Earrings from Jaypore. 

-A simple bracelet/cuff/bangle from Amber, Colaba. 

-Gorgeous dangly filigree earrings on my sister from Amber as well. 

-Pearl drop earrings from Narayana Jewellers in Commercial Street Bangalore. 
:) 


Today is Saraswati Pujo, a day to worship the Goddess of Wisdom and Knowledge. 
A day away from books and writing. 
A day I cherished as a child but I am going crazy with trying to find ways to entertain myself now! 
Damn! 

Happy Saraswati Pujo to my fellow Bengalis. 
Hope you are enjoying your bhog, pandal hopping and kul. 

:) 


Thursday, 18 January 2018

Haul: Embroidered Pouches from The Color Life.

Hello! 

My birthday is exactly one month away! 
And like my childhood self I like to get a little bit excited and do a little countdown of sorts. Nothing nearly as major as my childhood where I just couldn't wait for my birthday to arrive. Now, I am a whole lot chiller. 
:) 

To kick off my birthday countdown, I want to share some seriously beautiful customised pouches from The Color Life by Krishna Patel. I spotted her shop on Instagram and was blown away by her talent. She makes these generously sized pouches with darling designs and even names embroidered on it. Plus, it is entirely customisable. You get to choose the colours of our own pouch as well as the colours of the embroidery. The pouches are silk-ish and the design is a mix of fabric paint and embroidery. 

We got two. 
The one with Llamas for my sister, she is using it to hold her Personal Sized Midori Traveler's Notebook and a Hobonichi- that she uses for daily journaling. It holds both comfortably. 

The one with Pooja embroidered on it, is obviously mine. 
:) 
I am possibly going to store some stationery bits and bobs in it. 



Aren't these just gorgeous?! 
All of her pouches come with amble charms and tassels and bits. They add a certain whimsy to the pouches. 



We are big fans of any kind of bird charm. 
:) 


Pooja. 
I am so in love with this pouch. 
The colours pop so beautifully against the white and the little embellishments are perfectly in sync with the design. 
This is the second item that I own that has my name on it. I also had a handmade wooden key chain with my name carved on it that I picked up from Mussoorie in 2007. 
This one is so much more special. 







I highly, highly recommend these beauties.  
They gorgeous. 
Spacious. 
Well-made. 
Padded. 
So whimsy! 

5/5 

Get one now! 

:)

I already have my eye on an elephant pouch and maybe ones with camels on them. 

:)