Monday, 30 July 2018

Book Review: The Disappearance of Sally Sequeira by Bhaskar Chattopadhyay

Book: The Disappearance of Sally Sequeira 

Author: Bhaskar Chattopadhyay

Pages: 215 

Publisher: Hachette India 

Read On: Paperback 

How Long it Took Me To Read: 1 day (I could not put it down)

Plot Summary: The waves still crashed against the rocks.

The moon still bathed the sandy beach with its light.
And the piano still played on.
But, amidst all this, just like that, Sally Sequeira had disappeared.

With its pristine beaches and clear turquoise waters, the picturesque hamlet of Movim in Goa seems like the perfect holiday spot for detective Janardan Maity and his friend Prakash Ray. But when the father of a local teenage girl receives a letter asking for a large sum of money in exchange for his daughter, Maity and Prakash find themselves in the thick of an unlikely mystery. For, they discover, the girl has not been kidnapped at all, and is safe and sound in her house. 

As they begin to investigate, the duo encounter the mysterious characters who inhabit the tiny village, each hiding a secret of their own – not least the frail and shy Sally Sequeira, who keeps to herself but steps out at night to dance to the notes of a piano.

What truth does Movim hide? And how will Janardan Maity solve a crime that has not yet been committed?

General Thoughts: We, my sister and I, both discovered Bhaskar Chattopadhyay's books in 2017 and read all three of his books. We loved two out of three and when we saw that the new Maity-Ray book was out we knew it was time to read it!  Other books we've read and reviewed by the author- Penumbra,  Patang and Here Falls the Shadow

Thank-you, to folks over at Hachette India for sending me a review copy .
All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Things I Liked: 

1. Like Chattopadhyay's Penumbra and Here Falls the Shadow, this book is also very rich in atmosphere and beautiful details about the idyllic village of Movim and its various residents. The author does a great job of bringing this tiny Goan hamlet to life and pulls you into the world of Movim and some of its residents. 

2. I liked how the events leading up to the actual crime were constructed. A ransom note delivered but no kidnapping and then someone completely different and unexpected gets kidnapped! A nice little set up for an interesting series of events. 

3. There is a nice underlying thread of menace that the author manages to bring alive in the book. Movim, for all intents and purposes, sounds heavenly! A small, rural community with few families, a pristine beach, strong ties with the local church, residents who look out for one another and actual 'village elders', who are called in to mitigate matters big and small. But within all of this, the author manages to bring alive this lurking sense of unease, which is very palpable and which underlines the events in the book. 

4. The book is full of nice and well-crafted characters. We particularly liked Mike Doherty- the ex-sailor, Mrs. Mascarenhas- the lady in whose bungalow Maity and Ray are guests, Mrs. D'Souza- a no-nonsense ex-teacher and Father Dias- the young priest of the local church. Apart from them, we also get to meet a set of youngsters, Mr. Gomes- the village's 'rich man' and a few other characters, who are all very nicely crafted. In barely 300 pages, the author does justice to building each of these characters, so that we have a good sense of them. 

5. This book, much like Here Falls the Shadow, is very taut and pacy. We jump right into the central mystery and the book takes off from there and is pretty un-put-downable! We get to follow Maity and Ray as they speak to various people in the village and as various bizarre events happen to them. The pacing of the book is perfect and there are no superfluous chapters or points-of-view in this book, something which I deeply appreciate in the mystery/ thriller genre. 

6. The twist in the end is quite decent, but seasoned readers of the genre may see it coming. But it is a good twist nonetheless. 

Things I Didn't Like: 

1. The actual reveal of the mystery was a bit of a let down. It happened too suddenly, there were no breadcrumbs that would you give you a little hint about what was going on and then, there was something in the reveal that was just so bizarre that the perpetrator wouldn't be able to pull off whatever she/he was planning on pulling off given that *one* detail. Sorry about being vague but I don't want to spoil the book for you! 

Rating: 4/5

Sunday, 29 July 2018

Stationery Sunday/// A few of my Favourite Things..Lately!


Hope your Sunday is going according to plan! 
Mine has been a good mix of action and inaction. 
My sister is back home after a couple of days away on work, so we've been catching up and trying to rest today. 
Currently, we are both sitting cozy with our respective reads. 

Since it's Sunday I figured I might as well share some of my stationery favourites from recent times. 
These are all mostly things my sister has been loving lately. 
So let's jump into shall we? 

This gorgeous dual toned traveller's notebook is from The Black Canvas, who make some amazing traveller's notebooks and are are one of the few people doing so in India. So if you are in the market for a traveller's notebook and don't want to order one from abroad this is a good place to look into. 

I love the colours of this dori. They gel so well together and not to mention mint and coral are some of my favourite colours. This is in an A6 size and it currently holds my sister's Hobonichi Techo and does so very comfortably. 
Highly recommend! 

Another thing my sister is very obsessed with right this moment is this very handy pouch from Delfonics. 
It is made from a very sturdy canvas and has lots of pockets and slip pockets to hold your stationery bits and bobs. 
Of course, we had to decorate it well with some buttons and badges and pins. 
I am OBSESSED with enamel pins at the moment. I just can't have enough of them. 
The pins are buttons here are from various sources..
Ali Express.
La Dolce Vita. 

A closer look. 

A traveller's notebook perfect for the monsoons. 
I got this beauty from Wish. 
So freaking cute! 

I am yet to move into it but I better hurry before the rains leave! 

A super cute pencil bag! 
It looks like a school bus. :)
So adorable! 
This one was bought off of Wish too. 

Saturday, 28 July 2018

General Whimsy: Endlessly Charming.


Just want to share some things that I find endlessly charming...
Hope you are having a restful Saturday and are all set for  good weekend! 

1. Mumbai at takeoff. A city wrapped in clouds and covered in raindrops. Makes even harsh realities a little softer. Or maybe it's just me. Maybe rains manage to soothe and comfort my heart into seeing everything prettier. 

2. Llamas on a tote bag. 
I shall we thoroughly disappointed if I were to exit this planet without having had the good fortune of meeting one of these darling creatures in person. They look so fluffy! Please God, make this wish come true. Send a llama or two my way. 
Tote bag from Accessorize, bought on super sale via Jabong. 
Now isn't that endlessly charming. 

3. Benedict Cumberbatch. 
In a TV show. 
In a film. 
On a book cover. 
I'd find him endlessly charming if I met him in a smelly barn. 
This man is a dreamboat! 

4. Books with illustrations in them. 
This full page illustration is from Snow and Rose by Emily Winfield Martin that I read earlier in the month and loved. 
Seen here are Rose and Snow and their mother going to the village market. All bundled up in coats looks charming as hell. 

5. Cute little fat bird! 
This thicc beauty is a little tote (I am having a totes tote moment!) that my sister picked up from By Loom, Kolkata. Look at their darling faces! 
So freaking cute. 

6. Anything Rifle Paper Co. to me is endlessly charming. Their art and aesthetic is one of my favourite things ever. 
This pouch from Lyra and Co. is so beautiful and well-made, I just need to decide how I want to use it. 
A pencil pouch maybe?! 

Have a good weekend guys! 

Friday, 27 July 2018

Book Haul: Books of June 2018 (Part-II)

This has been an unintentional slow month on the blog. I feel like July has kicked my ass and how. Maybe it's something to do with Mercury Retrograde or just the stars aligning all wrong but man of man, this month has been hard. I feel like I've been sick with something or the other from the very beginning. I just want to feel like myself again. 
With all the insanity that this month has thrown my way I completely forgot to share this last batch of books from June. I got these books sometimes one or two at a time but all from Amazon. I honestly am incapable of making an Amazon order without a book in it. 

Let's jump into the books shall we? 

The first book is this brilliant graphic novel/biography/ fiction. 
I have read and loved and reviewed it already. 
It's so good! 
I cannot recommend it enough. 

I want to read this and then see the Colin Firth starring Tom Ford film adaptation, which looks like a stunning film, at least aesthetically which is no surprise since Tom Ford was the helm of it. 

Another book to film adaptation I am looking forward to this Calling Sehmat - Raazi. 
I hope to read this next month and then watch the film on Amazon Prime. 

The last book in my haul is this gorgeous book from Perumal Murugan. 
This is such a well-made book. 
Look at the colours and the beautiful yellow that just pops. 
Another book I hope to read next month. 
I am so excited for Indian Books in August! 


A Single Man by Christopher Isherwood 
Calling Sehmat by Harinder Sikka 
Poonachi by Perumal Murugan 
Indira by Devapriya Roy and Priya Kuruyan 

Thursday, 26 July 2018

Jewellery Haul: Silver Earrings from Manjha. (Part- I)

Long time no haul. 

Today I want to share a quick little haul of silver earrings from Manjha. 
Manjha- has been on my radar for a while now, nearly a year. Initially, I was not too comfortable getting silver online via the numerous Instagram shops. But earlier this year, we, my sister and I have tried a few shops and so far we've not been disappointed *touch wood* 

Manjha has always caught my eye with their designs and I am so glad we finally got something from them.
We love these earrings and this is only part-I of our picks from Manjha, we've since gotten more pieces from them, I will be sharing those soon too. 

Our first pick is this vintage style engraves earrings with floorers and birds on them. I wanted something in this style for a while and I am so glad I finally have something like this. :) 
These earrings are gorgeous and pretty light weight and can be worn for long periods of time without pulling down your ear lobes. 

As you know we are obsessed with glass embedded jewellery. We a few colours in our collection but we wanted a red one since it's my sister's favourite colour. This one with a floral detail caught our eye. I cannot explain how light this earring is! It's a delight to wear. 

I highly, highly recommend Manjha.
The quality is great.
The pricing is decent. 
They have trendy but slightly different styles. 
The delivery and packaging were both great. 
Do check them out if like us you are a silver lover like us! 

Wednesday, 25 July 2018

Book Review: Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager

Book: Last Time I Lied

Author: Riley Sager 

Pages: 368

Read on: Kindle 

Read in: 3-4 hours 

Plot Summary: It was Emma's first summer away from home. She made friends. She played games. And she learned how to lie.

Then three of her new friends went into the woods and never returned. . . 
Now, years later, Emma has been asked to go back to the newly re-opened Camp Nightingale. She thinks she’s laying old ghosts to rest but really she’s returning to the scene of a crime.
Because Emma’s innocence might be the biggest lie of all.

Things I Liked: 
  1. The premise of this book seemed really interesting as it was set in a summer camp. Summer camps, in the horror genre, have a special significance given that one of the most iconic, cult classic horror movie franchises- Friday the 13th- is set in a summer camp. Also, there is just something about a summer camp- the wilderness, loads of unsupervised young people- that lends itself very well to mysterious and supernatural events. So, when I read that this book is based on the disappearance of three girls from a summer camp, obviously, I had to immediately get it and start reading it! 
  2. This book is very interestingly written. The narrative shifts between Emma's present day life as she prepares to return to and then returns to Camp Nightingale and the events from the summer of 15 years ago, when three of Emma's roommates in her cabin go missing one night. This makes the book pretty un-put-down-able and a very pacy read. Also, the author has done justice to both narratives- the present day and past events are well fleshed out. 
  3. The events from 15 years ago at the summer camp were much more interesting than the present day ones. The characters of Emma's three cabin-mates are pretty well etched, especially, that of Vivian- the queen bee and leader of the pack. Vivian dictates what the girls do and how much they eat etc., while Natalie and Allison just follow her lead. Emma, at  much younger 13 to the three girls' 16, is mostly awestruck by Vivian and her "coolness". The sudden disappearance of the three girls and Emma's guilt at something she holds herself responsible for are quite nicely done. 
  4. The present day events in the camp are also fairly interesting, though, slightly predictable and could have benefitted from some sharper editing. There are two twists that are revealed about Vivian, Natalie and Allison's disappearance that are quite interesting. 
  5. There is an interesting backstory of the land where Camp Nightingale is based, which is supposed to have some connection to the girls' disappearance. This backstory is quite eerie and very interesting to read about as Emma delves into that particular mystery.
  6. For a book which has multiple characters in both timelines, the author has done a great job in establishing each character well and writing them clearly so that the reader does not get muddled. Always a good thing in a pretty tightly written murder mystery/ thriller. 
  7. There is a nice little twist in the end, which is quite interesting as well. (Sorry about being vague, don't want to spoil the book for you by giving you more details!) 
Things I Didn't Like:
  1. The final twist, though nicely done, leaves a lot of unanswered questions on how the perpetrator did what they did and so successfully at that! There are way too many loopholes to fully explain how this person pulled it off and got away with it for so long! I wish there was a chapter from the killer's perspective to see how he/she pulled it off. I was left with way too many questions, which is not the best thing after reading a murder mystery! 
Rating: 3.5/5 
This is a perfect rainy afternoon read. Very atmospheric and quite a page turner as well. 

Wednesday, 11 July 2018

Book Review: The Last Mrs. Parrish by Liv Constantine.

Book: The Last Mrs. Parrish 

Author: Liv Constantine 

Pages: 405 

Publisher: Harper Collins 

Read On: Kindle 

How Long it Took Me To Read: 2 days 

Plot Summary: Amber Patterson is tired of being a nobody: an invisible woman who melts into the background. She deserves more. She deserves a life of wealth, luxury and leisure.

Daphne Parrish is the golden girl of Bishops Harbor, Connecticut. With her model looks, her picture-perfect mansion and her millionaire husband, Jackson, she has everything Amber wants.
Amber’s envy could eat her alive—if she didn't have a plan. Before long, she has become Daphne’s closest friend, and is catching the eye of Jackson. But a skeleton from her past could destroy everything, and if discovered, Amber’s well-laid plan may end in disaster.

General Thoughts: I have been reading quite a few thrillers this past month but for some reason or the other they were all more or less duds. OK, if not outright duds most of them were just not doing it for me. So when I picked up this book I did so with a lot of trepidation and hoping that this would be a psychological thriller that I ended up loving. 

Luckily for me, this one was just the ticket! 

I had been meaning to read this book for ages but it sounded a lot like The Wife Between Us and I wasn't sure if I wanted to read two such similar books. 

They are slightly, very slightly similar but this one is a whole other ball game. 

Things I Liked: 

1. This book had me hooked! I didn't want to put it down. And it's not like there was constantly things happening that kept me on the edge of the seat, I was just curious to see where this tale was headed. I was pulled into this world from the get go. 

2. This book is primarily told from two perspectives. Amber and Daphne. And I enjoyed both of these voices and seeing the world, sometimes same events from their views. I honestly didn't prefer one voice over another, this rarely happens in books told in this style. So kudos to the writer for managing pull this off. 

3. Amber- oh where do I even begin?! She is horrible. Simply the worst kind of person and so full of hate and loathing. The way she is constantly envious of the rich and how freaking entitled she is just made my blood boil. And not just the rich and affluent, she is horrible to pretty much everyone. She doesn't have a single nice thing to say about anyone in her life. She is one of the worst human beings I've come across (in fiction) in a long, long time and she is someone who will stay with me for a long time to come. She is devious, manipulating and the kind of character you want to reach inside a book and slap silly. YET...she is incredibly interesting to spend time with. I hated her for sure but I still wanted to keep reading her section of the book. The writers (the book is written by two sisters under a pen name) have done a great job crafting a truly memorable character. She is a piece of work! But man she is clever and patient and some part of me wanted to give her a standing ovation! But for most part I just wanted her to fall off a cliff.  

4. Daphne- when the book shifted into her perspective, I was ready for the pace to slow down and frankly for the book to become a little slow. But it didn't. Daphne is an equally strong character, who has endured so much and yet manages to hold on to her humanity and grace. I really liked her and was rooting for her. 

5. Books about abuse and marital violence are hard to read but this one, though gut wrenching in parts and really scary was eye opening at the same time. Abuse is never a binary or simple phenomena. Not all abuse leaves a physical mark. The toll emotional and psychological abuse takes is sometimes staggering. The abuse Daphne undergoes will scare the daylights out of you, it certainly unnerved me. To marry someone you love to have them metamorphosize into something unrecognisable must be terrifying.  Jackson Parrish is a monster and all the things he does to control and torture his spouse will leave you cold. 

6. The book has a few nifty twists and turns. 

7. I really liked the writing and the world building in this book. The world of the extremely wealthy is always fun to read about. 

8. I liked the the kids in this book are not just background characters devoid of any real personality. Both the girls are well etched out and add to the story. 

Things I Didn't Like: 

I really did enjoy this book immensely, but  I will say that the main, big twist is fairly obvious. You see it coming a mile away. 

And there is no real big mystery. Apart from the skeleton in Amber's closet, no other thing was a huge mystery. 

Rating: 4/5 

This was such a engaging and immersive read. Perfect for a rainy afternoon or late night. 
And I absolutely loved the ending, it was very, very satisfying. 

Tuesday, 10 July 2018

Book Review: When I Hit You by Meena Kandasamy

Book: When I Hit You

Author: Meena Kandasamy

Pages: 272

Publisher: Juggernaut

Read On: My iPad via the Juggernaut App

How Long it Took Me To Read: 2 days

Plot Summary: Seduced by politics, poetry and an enduring dream of building a better world together, the unnamed narrator falls in love with a university professor. Moving with him to a rain-washed coastal town, she swiftly learns that what for her is a bond of love is for him a contract of ownership. As he sets about reducing her to his idealized version of an obedient wife, bullying her and devouring her ambition of being a writer in the process, she attempts to push back – a resistance he resolves to break with violence and rape. 

General Thoughts: I read an article by the author ages ago about her short lived and abusive marriage. This was years ago and the article was being widely shared on Facebook. I like so many others were appalled by what the writer had gone through. When I saw, years later the same writer had written a full length novel about the same time in her life, I knew I had to read it.

I read this book on the Juggernaut App via a Blogger program.
All thoughts and  the review that follows is my own.

TRIGGER WARNINGS for Violence, Abuse and Rape. IF you find any of these things too triggering, please read with caution.

Things I Loved: 

1. Domestic violence is never easy to read about. It is scary, sometimes triggering and something no women deserves and wishes for. As a woman, reading about domestic violence is hard. To know it happens so many of us, even ones we least expect it to happen to makes is a topic that is at once terrifying and engrossing. The author manages very skilfully to make this very difficult topic not only readable but also hard-hitting and poignant and someone matter of fact.

2. Being at the receiving end of domestic violence and abuse can happen to anyone. It can happen in any household. Any community. Any class. Any kind of marriage- love or arranged. Just because you fell in love and think you know someone doesn't mean it makes you immune to abuse. I love that this books shows how any kind of marriage can turn abusive.

3. Being based on real life events and something the author has lived through herself, there is an element of gut-wrenching realness that is infused in every single page. It shows us how even a strong, educated, opinionated woman can be broken and controlled and left unrecognisable in a matter of months.

4. This book is so atmospheric. The writer does a fantastic job of taking us with her into this world. This scary, quickly unwinding into chaos world. The small-town where she lives with her husband, the small house and it's many gritty elements feel like something you know. It feels like you are there. Reading this book was a visceral experience. It gets under your skin in a way only a very well-written book can.

5. There is no one kind of abuser. There really is no prototype. Not all abusive husbands are drunkards who drink cheap booze and steal your money and beat you regularly. Not all of them are uncouth and uneducated and unlettered. They can just as easily be a very well-liked, educated, man of the world, a charming charlatan. I think books like these shine a much needed light on many kinds of abusers that lurk beneath the surface.

6. This book was hard to read in many places but that doesn't make it any less important. Partly because this actually happened to someone but also because so many women live through this and worse. So many women suffer in silence for decades. Abuse can take so many forms, verbal, physical, mental, emotional and sexual. And books like these are needed to give voice and show us that it's not OK to treat a human being like this. Marriage is often exalted in our culture and so many girls grow up believing that marriage is their ultimate goal, and not once are they told about how to handle abuse if they encounter it and the many forms abuse can take. I wish books like this one were made mandatory reading.

7. The narrator's parent's reaction to when first told of her troubles in her new marriage is so infuriatingly common place and so frighteningly 'desi'. Adjust. It happens. Work harder on your marriage. Do things to please your new husband. Ugh! Why do parents do this? This is your child being beaten and tortured and tormented. Why is it so important for a marriage to work? And at what cost?

8. Abuse doesn't need to be longstanding and go on for years and decades for you to do something about it. GET OUT NOW. It doesn't matter if you've been married for a month, a year or 25. Get out. The narrator and writer's marriage lasted only a few months and in even that short span of time it was spirit crushing and extreme and demeaning.

Rating: 4/5

Read this, I cannot recommend it enough.

Monday, 9 July 2018

Book Review: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas.

Book: The Hate U Give

Author: Angie Thomas

Pages: 447

Publisher: Penguin 

How Long it Took Me To Read: 2 days

Read On: Paperback Collector's Edition

Plot Summary: Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr. 
But what Starr does—or does not—say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.

General Thoughts: This book has been spoken about highly since it first came out. The rave reviews have followed it everywhere. I had been meaning to read it for the longest time. But I was having a hard time getting my hands on the 'right' edition of the book. Total random bookworm problems! :) Luckily for me, the kind folks at Penguin Random House India sent me this beautiful copy of the book that has honestly sat on my wish list for far too long.

The review that follows and all the thought about the book are my own.

Things I Liked: 

1. The rave reviews are all true. This is one incredible book. To call it timely, needed, important and far too relevant are right. This book and this conversation needs to happen. What is happening in America and what keeps on happening with shocking regularity is truly appalling. Police violence aimed at African Americans is a problem that you simply can't ignore. And more people need to talk about it and acknowledge it's far reaching effects. Being Indian and sitting a whole world away from these distressing headlines always made me wonder who people living in America,  especially the people targeted by these crime deal with it? How do you go about your daily life knowing that the very people meant to protect you could target you unfairly? This book gives wonderful and real insight into the hearts and minds of people dealing with this.

2. This book is being made into a film, the trailer for which is already out and it looks so good! I think this is a perfect book for a film adaptation and I am so excited to watch the film and see if it measures up to the book. So far, the casting and vibe seem on point!

3.This is a very powerful and poignant book. Even if the headlines and the mindless tragedy hasn't moved you, this story will. It takes you inside the world of the victim and the aftermath of  unnecessary violence. A look beyond sensational headlines and charged op-eds. A look at what the people left behind deal with. An eye-opening read.

4. I loved the sense of community that comes across in this book. The Black community rallies together and stands tall and strong. I absolutely loved reading about Starr's neighbourhood, it isn't perfect, in fact it's fairly scary. Gangs, gunshots, riots and unsavoury elements are rampant. The author has not shied away from showing it the way it is. But there is also warmth and love and a strong sense of community and kinship.

5. The stark contrast between both of Starr's worlds is shown brilliantly. And will give you something to think about. I also loved how Starr is two sorta different people in each set-up.

6. Another thing I loved a whole lot was Starr's family. Her wonderful parents, her uncle, and her siblings. I loved the time we spend with them. I can't wait to see these relationships translate on the big screen. This book is full of some wonderfully crafted characters. None of them are perfect or stereotypical in any way. They all come across as real people, flaws and all.

7. Racism is an ugly, hideous and abhorrent thing that exists in our world. This book shows us racism in it's many forms. From the cop that pulls the trigger on a kid, sadly a common form racism takes but there are the so not obvious ways in which it manifests. It's not always a stranger who is racist or an older person who 'doesn't know better' or 'is from a different time'. Sometimes, it's your friend, a classmate, someone who seems 'so woke'. I like that this book shows us both sides and sometimes the subtle and ingrained racism so many people have.

8. I thought the author did a fantastic job of showing Starr's mental state after the fact. Everything she goes through seems so real and heartbreaking and relatable.

9. I also liked that Starr wasn't immediately an activist. She was in shock and terrified and scared and grief struck. I thought her whole journey from being confused to scared to finally coming around to finding her voice was entirely believable. Some teens are strong and find their voice at once, the incredible kids from Parkland are a shining example of that, but for others it takes time and a certain amount of healing to stand up and speak up. ( I have some more thoughts on this, will touch more on it in the next section.)

10. Even though this book is hard to read it some parts, it is still one that I didn't want to put down. It made me sad, angry, frustrated and furious but it was always engaging.

Things I Didn't Like: 

1. Starr is pretty incredible in so many ways. But...I had a hard time really loving her. Yes, she witnessed something terrible and frightening. Something I don't even want to imagine. To see a close friend being gunned down must be horrible. But shouldn't this horrible things galvanise you into doing something? The right thing? I don't know for a huge chunk of the book I wanted her to be better and do better. It's perhaps being too demanding but in the wake of the kick-ass heroes of Parkland, Starr's self preservation was a bit hard to swallow.

2. I found it a bit strange that a majority of kids in Starr's private school were assholes. Most of them subtly or not to subtly racist and most of them didn't seem to quite care. It made things far too binary and simplistic.

Rating: 4/5

This was such a good book and I cannot wait to see the film adaptation!

Friday, 6 July 2018

Friday Favourites: Embroidered Earrings + Pasta + Journal Pages + Behold the Dreamers + Tea + Aamhi Doghi.


Another Friday and another batch of some of my favourite things! 

This Friday is a little bit gloomy. My sister is suffering from a bout of bronchial asthma and woke up this morning pretty much struggling to breathe. Even her usual medicine and inhalers weren't working. So after stressing out for most of this morning, we called our family doctor who came in and gave her two injections. She is feeling a lot better now and is finally napping. She has dealt with asthma her whole life and even though I've seen her struggle with breathing numerous times, it still scares me when she gets this way. 
I am so grateful to modern medicine and Doctors who help us get better. 

The plan for this weekend is to stay in and get her to rest up. 
Also maybe binge watch Sacred Games. 
I actually, have the book but I haven't read it yet (story of my life!)  I wanted to read it before watching the show but I don't honestly see that happening. Perhaps, I'll read it after! 

Now on to more cheerful things! 

Some Favourites! 

1. Super cute embroidered earrings from Tassle Life. 
How utterly darling are these! 

2. Journal pages! 
And this key shaped pen I got from Wish. It's cute and a really nice black gel pen. Smooth and light and a delight to write with. 

3. Pasta! 
My love for pasta is eternal and everlasting. Sounds a bit much?!
But it's true. It is one of my favourite foods. To both eat and cook. It's one of the first things I learnt to cook, way back when I was 17 or so. It was a basic aglio olio pasta that I learnt to cook from my bestie who in turn learnt the recipe from her boyfriend of the time. I cook pasta at least twice a day and a bowl of pasta with a dash of parmesan is my go-to-happy-meal! 

4. Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue: My current read is making me all kinds of happy. A story of immigrants from Cameroon who get entangled with the family of their employer who works for Lehman Brothers right before they crashed. 
I am a very little bit in and already this story, it's people and the writing have me completely hooked. 
I plan on reading it over the weekend. 

5. Rainy Days and Lots of Cups of Tea. 
This has largely been a wonderfully rainy week and has included many, many cups of ginger tea. Some of it to battle my sister's bronchitis but for me it was just sweet-smelling, milky, sugary masala tea. 
Ah! Bliss! 

6. Favourite Film: This week's movie recommendation is a Marathi movie called Aamhi Doghi, which means We Both. It's a wonderful film about a girl's relationship with her step-mother and the camaraderie and warmth they share. It is such a moving and delightful film. A relationship that would normally have strife and conflict is actually a relationship that is supportive and nurturing and yet not in a overtly sweet or saccharine way. It is such a good film, even if you don't understand Marathi, I'd still 100% recommend you watch it. I am fairly fluent in Marathi having been born and raised in Bombay and having had studied it in school, so I am really keen on sampling more Marathi cinema. 
I watched this on Amazon Prime, FYI. 

I hope you have a wonderful weekend and it's full of good books and good vibes! 

Happy Reading Folks! 

Tuesday, 3 July 2018

Mini-Reviews: Thrillers of June! The Perfect Mother, All the Beautiful Lies & Bring Me Back


One of the best things to do in the world is reading thrillers, especially, during the monsoons! Picture this- a dark, gloomy, rainy day and you curled up in bed with a thriller! Isn't that the most fun way to spend rainy days?! Well, for a bookworm, it is! 

So, obviously, since June is when the rain Gods bless Bombay with some much-needed showers, my sister and I ended up spending many such rainy weekends with some much-hyped thriller books. Most, unfortunately, were a miss, but there were a few good ones too in the mix, which I thought I should review below, just in case any of you fine folk are considering reading thrillers in July! 

The Perfect Mother by Aimee Molloy 

Plot Summary: We all want different things. Francie wants to be the perfect mother. Nell wants to escape the past. Collette wants to spend more time with her family.

All Winnie wants is to have her baby back.

When Nell suggests a night out in Brooklyn to her new mums club, the others jump at the chance. But the evening takes a tragic turn when single mother Winnie learns that her six-week-old son Midas has been kidnapped.
As the investigation hits a dead end, Nell, Collette and Francie make it their mission to succeed where the police are failing and bring baby Midas home. But as Winnie and those around her come under scrutiny from the media, damaging secrets come to light and friendships are pushed to the limit.

  • The Perfect Mother is an interesting book about the pressures and struggles of raising a child in today's world. The story is centered around the May mothers- a group of new moms with May-born babies- living in Brooklyn. The book, partially, focuses on their struggles as new moms- the constant benchmarking with other babies' development, the struggle between working and being a stay-at-home mom and the impact having a new baby has on the husband-wife relationship. So, it is in the midst of all this, one of the women's (Winnie, single mother, mysteriously wealthy) baby goes missing from her house on the one night that the May Moms were out partying! 
  • The book then goes into how three moms- Nell, Collette and Francie- go on to investigate and try and find Winnie's missing baby. Honestly, the investigation is very basic, but, I guess, that is the kind of simple investigation three non-detectives can manage, so, at least it is authentic. The identity of the kidnapper is not a big surprise, but there is an unreliable narrator angle, which is quite interesting. 
Rating: 3.5/ 5

All the Beautiful Lies by Peter Swanson 

Plot Summary: On the eve of his college graduation, Harry is called home by his step-mother Alice, to their house on the Maine coast, following the unexpected death of his father.

But who really is Alice, his father's much younger second wife? 

In a brilliant split narrative, Peter Swanson teases out the stories and damage that lie in her past. And as her story entwines with Harry's in the present, things grow increasingly dark and threatening - will Harry be able to see any of it clearly through his own confused feelings?

  • All the Beautiful Lies is a fast-paced, action-packed thriller that moves between present-day event as seen from Harry's perspective and past events as seen from Alice's perspective. It is a pretty well-written book as Peter Swanson is a very competent writer and is able to tell a taut, suspenseful story quite well. 
  • However, Swanson seems to be stuck in the loop of writing very eerily similar female protagonists. Alice, like Swanson's other female protagonists, is a beautiful sociopath and after a point, this trope gets really annoying! It was very difficult to relate to her not only because she is a sociopath but also because her own deep denial about her past just does not make sense! 
  • The ending, however, is very, very satisfying! So, read this book for the fast-paced events and a very satisfying ending! 
Rating: 3.5/5

Bring Me Back by B.A. Paris

Plot Summary: Finn and Layla: young and in love, their whole lives ahead of them. Driving back from a holiday in France one night, Finn pulls in to a service station, leaving Layla alone in the car.

When he returns, minutes later, Layla has vanished, never to be seen again. That’s the story Finn tells the police. It’s the truth – but not the whole truth.

Twelve years later, Finn has built a new life with Ellen, Layla’s sister, when he receives a phone call. Someone has seen Layla. But is it her – or someone pretending to be her? If it is her, what does she want? And what does she know about the night she disappeared?
  • We've read all books by B.A. Paris, mostly, because we really liked her first book- Behind Closed Doors. It was mostly very likeable because of the characters and not because it was, supposedly, a thriller. It was not a thriller, psychological or otherwise, but just a fast-paced story about a woman trying to escape her abusive husband. Anyway, after that, we also read her much-hyped second book- The Breakdown- which was TERRIBLE! It was not a thriller, it was dull and annoying. So, when her third book came out and, as usual, was getting all kinds of hype on Goodreads and on the internets, we thought, okay, maybe third time's the charm! And, boy, we were WRONG! 
  • Bring Me Back is just so OBVIOUS and IMPROBABLE and just UGH! The story makes no sense. The "big, shocking twist" is hardly that! It is so ridiculous and so contrived that you'll want to throw the book/ your e-reader against the wall in anger and want the 2+ hours of your life, that you spent on reading this book, back! I don't think I'll be ever buying a B.A. Paris book again, until and unless she gets her act together and actually writes a psychological thriller!  
Rating: 1/5

Monday, 2 July 2018

Book Review: Indira by Devapriya Roy and Priya Kuriyan.

Book: Indira

Author: Devapriya Roy

Illustrator: Priya Kuriyan

Publisher:  Context, Westland Books 

Pages: 144

Read On: Paperback Edition

How Long it Took Me To Read : 2 days ( I read slowly to savour it!)

Plot Summary: In a government school classroom in Delhi, young Indira Thapa is set an unusual assignment by her favourite teacher: to write an essay around her name. Who was Indira Priyadarshini, the person after whom her grandfather named her? And why her? What is her legacy as India’s first—and only—woman prime minister? 

Over the course of a long, hot summer and a curious friendship with an artist who is working on a biography of Mrs Gandhi, young Indira gets tangled up in the life and times of her memorable namesake. Sometimes by design and sometimes by accident, story after story comes alive—about a childhood spent in Allahabad growing the Vanar Sena, of a youthful romance with the charming Feroze Gandhi, of stints in jail and elephant rides through pouring rain, of a magnificent audacity that catapulted India onto the international stage, and of the final, tragic end that ripped apart the fabric of the nation. 
Real and imagined worlds, the past and present, text and image all entwine as Indira walks us through the most formative decades of political life of India.

General Thoughts: This book was on my radar since it first came out and I waited a few months before getting and I started reading it pretty much immediately. I knew I'd love it and I was not wrong! I am also so chuffed that I got this book on a pretty good deal. Yay!

Things I Liked: 

1. Indira Gandhi is a controversial figure in Indian history and politics. Some people love her while others hate her with an unmatched passion. For me and my family, she has always been a figure to look up to and admire. Our first (and only) woman Prime Minister and a woman who was brave and determined and got things done and didn't back down. Personally, she is someone I look up to. A women to be reckoned with. There is so much to admire about her. So any book about her is something I am bound to pick up.

2. I loved the writing of this book. It's simple and straightforward and perfect for young readers but still works perfectly for older readers.

3. I absolutely loved the art in this book. It was beautiful and so gorgeously detailed. A total treat. Here are some examples...

4. I love the combination of fiction and fact. We see both Indira Gandhi's life story and that of Indira Thapa and honestly I loved both halves of the book. I loved diving into Mrs. Gandhi's world but Indira's world was equally interesting and riveting and full of wonderful people. I really enjoyed spending time with them.

5. The book is a very balanced account of the life and times of Indira Gandhi. Even the not-so-stellar moments of her rule are not shied away from. We read about Operation Blue Star and Sikh riots following her assassination and even murky politics of Sanjay Gandhi. I really, really appreciated this unfiltered approach to her biography.

6. I think the ending of this book and the way in which it dealt with death of Indira Gandhi was really wonderful. Especially given that this is a book aimed at younger readers, it was nice to handle it in the way they did.

7. I also really loved that this book talked about depression is such a honest and open way. To show that depression can happen to anyone and it's OK and it can be managed and having depression doesn't make you into something else altogether. It is so important to talk to young people about mental illness and I love how this book managed to do this seamlessly.

Rating: 5/5

I absolutely loved this book and I highly, highly recommend it.  Read it now!

Sunday, 1 July 2018

Hello July 2018 + Kurta Haul + Current Read.

Hello July! 
Hello second half of 2018!
Hello Rains! 

I honestly can't believe the first half of the year is gone just like that!
Here's the next half of the year and hope it's as good as the first half. 

My Goals for July are pretty simple. 

- As far as reading goes this month I intend to read a lot of western literature and mainly keep away from Indian books. Why? Well, August for me means my annual Indian Books in August, during which I read books from India and the Indian subcontinent. So I want to stay away from Indian books in July so I can go all in during my August reading.

- I also hope to get some writing done in July. 

- Enjoy the rains. 

- Read some good books. 

Keep things simple and sweet! 

Now on to some hauling! 
I recently got these kurtas from the Myntra sale. They had some amazing deals going and I got me some cotton kurtas and dresses all from this brand called Anouk. 
I love the colours and prints on these and can't wait to wear them! 

I honestly can't resist anything with an elephant on it. 
They are so cute! 

I am starting July with one of my favourite writers- Truman Capote and this short essay, well actually, an interview he did with Marlon Brando in 1957. I am 10 pages in and already in love with his trademark writing style and even getting to see snippets of old Hollywood. There are causal mentions of Tennessee Williams and Greta Garbo and I am living for it. I should be finishing this up by this evening, if not earlier and then I am going to figure out my tentative TBR for the rest of the month. 

Also, this circle bag is a new addition to my life and is one I've wanted for absolute ages. It features the art from one of my favourite illustrators Angie Rozelaar. I've followed her on Instagram for ages and when I saw that Daily Objects has some of her artwork I knew I had to get me a little something. This circle bag seemed too cute to pass up! 

I hope you have a very good July! 

Happy Reading folks!