Thursday, 31 October 2019

Book Review: Lipstick by Vish Dhamija

Book: Lipstick

Author: Vish Dhamija

Pages: 312

Read: Review copy kindly sent by HarperCollins; all opinions are honest and unbiased

Read in: 3 hours

Plot: DCP Rita Ferreira is called into the investigation after a third corpse is discovered in Mumbai, which confirms it is the work of the same killer who paints his victims' lips with dark red lipstick. 

The Lipstick Killer, like all serial killers, is fast decompensating - the time interval between the murders shortening, the victims shifting from street-side hookers to high-heeled wives. 

And he watches everything and everyone - the news of his exploits, Rita, the investigation - and talks. However, he only talks to you: 'When I'm gone, some people may tell you that I was evil, perhaps even call me a psychopath. Don't believe them. I am not. I am anything but irrational and impractical; perhaps only slightly more detached than your average guy on the street.'

Things I Liked:

1. This is my third DCP Rita Ferreira book and she is a strong female lead, who is unapologetic about who she is and is also a smart investigator. So, I was quite chuffed to read the next book in her series featuring a serial killer! 

2. The book's premise is very interesting. A serial killer starts off by killing low risk victims- sex workers, who look alike (sort of, not identical). He brutalises them and applies a shade of red lipstick, which earns him the moniker of 'The Lipstick Killer'. After two low risk victims, he murders a wealthy entrepreneur in her own home in a posh area. He is also killing the same girl over and over again- petite with brown-is hair. So, the cops are racing against time to stop him from killing another woman. 

3. The investigation has also been shown quite well. The cops make logical deductions and nothing is too out-there in terms of investigative leaps. 

4. The book is told to us via two perspectives- Rita's and the killer's. The killer tells us about his childhood, his first murder and why he thinks the way he does. So, we do get to see the inner workings of a debauched person's mind. 

Things I Didn't Like: 

1. The killer was super easy to guess. The author gives one oblique, not-very-direct hint and that's enough to guess the killer even though he doesn't make a single appearance in the book. I wish it were not that easy to guess the killer, it took the thrill out of the book. 

2. The killer had no deeper motive behind the murders. His motive is really very basic. I wish the killer's motive was more layered. 

3. There were no serious red herrings in this book. There was one, but it was obvious that that character was not the killer. I would've liked at least another red herring to make things interesting. 

4. The chapters from the killer's perspective were annoying after a point in time! He was just making weird sinister statements and airing out his h*rny desires. 

Rating: 3/5 

Wednesday, 30 October 2019

Vignettes: Little Bits of Beauty.


Some beautiful things seen at local pandals. 
Colours and crafts. 

How have you guys been? 
Did you have a happy Diwali? 

I had a Diwali full of light and sadly noise due the loudspeakers blaring at a local Kali Pujo pandal.
But it was full of family and lights and rangoli and phooljharis. 

Reading was at a minimum but that is expected. 
Do you manage to read during festivals? 
I just can't seem to keep with my reading when life is full of lights and rangoli and festivity. 

But...bookish programming will be back soon. 
Starting with some thriller reviews perfect for Halloween. 

Sunday, 27 October 2019

Happy Diwali!

Hey everyone!
Just popping in to wish you and yours a very Happy Diwali!
May the days ahead be filled with love, peace and joy!

Here are some pictures of some corners of our home...

We love diyas! They take a lot of refilling, but they are worth the effort! 

The only kind of fireworks we have ever bought in our household- sparklers/ phuljhadis! We buy 2-3 packets of small sparklers and light some on Choti Diwali and some on Diwali! 

More rangoli! 

And one more of our many little rangolis! 

Happy Diwali once again! 

Wednesday, 23 October 2019

Travel Diary: Kagyu Theg Chen Ling Monastery, Lava, Kalimpong.


On my recent visit to Kalimpong, we drove up to Lava, a little town 30 kms from the city up in the hills. The drive itself was gorgeous, winding roads and rains and clouds. Some stretches were in dire states, the road was quite bumpy and there were several patches where repair work was on going, so I am hoping that it will be fixed soon. 

Once we got to Lava, the rains really got going. It was pouring hard and by the time we got out of the car and to the monastery we were soaked. 
Hence most of these pictures are liberally covered in raindrops. 

Sadly, we didn't make it to inside the monastery, given the rains and the slightly steep walk, 
I got close enough but I was soaked and even my poor camera was getting wet. 

Here are some pictures. 

Prayer Flags dancing in the breeze. 

Raindrops adding their own bokeh effect. 

The entire place was full of all kinds of ferns. 

I don't know about you, but I love foggy and misty days. 

My parents making their way up to us. 
Sharing a single umbrella they looked straight out of a Bollywood romcom. 

I wish I could have made it in but the rain and being wet rats was setting off my sister's asthma. So we quickly rushed back to the car. 

Scenes from the drive over. 
It took us around an hour and a half from Delo to Lava. 

More prayer flags. 
I seriously will never tire of seeing prayer flags all over the hills here. 

Monday, 21 October 2019

Monday Moods: Mohini Bag from Subr.


Let's kick off this festive week of Diwali with a festive bag.
A thing of utter beauty, The Mohini Bag from Subr. 
This bag was love/lust/longing at first sight. We saw it on Subr's Instagram as a sneak peek to their Onam Collection. She was just too special to pass up. Plus, with Durga Puja around the corner we knew we had to have Mohini in our lives. 
And we did. 

Look at her! 
Beautiful all over. 
Each detail is spectacular. 
The attention to detail and each element of the bag is done to perfection. 


She is tiny but is big enough to hold essentials like your phone, compact, lipstick, kajal and keys and card holder. 

My sister and I are normally big bag ladies and something this tiny is not something we are usually drawn to. But this bag was too special to pass up. 
A quirky and fun and stunning bag. 
Perfect for special occasions and festival. 

Subr has some gorgeous bags. 
Mohini is our third bag from them and we can't recommend them enough. 

Sunday, 20 October 2019

Stationery Sunday: Traveler's Notebook Haul from The Black Canvas.


Today I want to share one of my most delightful traveler's notebooks. Our third or so TN from The Black Canvas, which is a fantastic place to get some well-made leather traveler's notebooks.

This one is especially special because it is an ode to my city- Bombay. 
We, my sister and I, fell in love with this TN when we first set eyes on it. 
This originally is a notebook but we requested for a custom TN. We wanted it to something we could use forever and not have a finite number of pages in it and it has turned out so beautiful.
The kind folks over there also sent us some delightful freebies which is such an act of kindness. And they are all gorgeous and thoroughly useful and things we've been using ever since.

These super colourful and well-made wire organisers are handy since we have a shit ton of charging cables and miscellaneous wires that all do well when wrapped up neatly using these leather wire/cable organisers. I love the purple pebbly one especially. 

And here is everything we got. 
The TN.
Two corner bookmarks. 
Two wire organisers. 

Just look at this thing of beauty. 

She comes with a dust bag which is a great way to keep your TN safe from the elements. 

This is a tri-fold style journal. With elastics inside to comfortably hold two inserts. You could add more inserts using the extra elastic that The Black Canvas provides.
The leather is super soft and luxe. 
It's an A6 size, which is great since I already have a ton of A6 sized inserts and they sent me two inserts as well. 

Aren't these bookmarks cute? 
Love the colours. 

Bombay's map has been pyrographically burned into the leather and I love the effect of the black lines on the tan leather. It's graphic and subtle at the same time. 

This mustard yellow TN is another favourite one from The Black Canvas and I can't wait to switch out my notebooks from inside it to my Bombay map TN!

Wednesday, 16 October 2019

Book Review: No Regrets- The Guilt-Free Woman's Guide To A Good Life by Kaveree Bamzai

Book: No Regrets: The Guilt-Free Woman's Guide To A Good Life

Author: Kaveree Bamzai

Pages: 200

Publisher: HarperCollins

Read: I was very kindly sent a copy of the book by HarperCollins. The review and thoughts are mine and are entirely honest.

Read in: 3 hours

Plot Summary: This is not a self-help book. It's a book that tells us what not to do, what to remember and what to forget. From being a mother to lessons learnt from our own mothers; managing money to marriage; coping with pain and anger to taking ownership of our health and growing old, Kaveree Bamzai, first woman editor of one of India's largest newsmagazines, a wife, and mother of two boys and two dogs, tells us how to live a guilt-free life, with a little help from a host of highly accomplished women. 

With sparkling advice from Naina Lal Kidwai, Arianna Huffington, Sudha Murty, Smriti Irani, Twinkle Khanna and Sania Mirza, among others, No Regrets is the go-to book as we fumble and stumble through life.

General Thoughts and Review: 

This is really not a self-help book. This is a very interesting collection of essays focused on women-centric topics, which basically, tell today's woman to not sweat the small stuff. 

Honestly, that's, easily, the best one-line descriptor of this book that I can come up with! 

It also includes words of wisdom and tips from stellar women such as Naina Lal Kidwai, Arianna Huffington, Sania Mirza etc. 

If you are suffering from mom guilt or are worried about living up to your mother-in-law's expectations or are unsure if you should quit your job, then this book is for you. You need to read this book and soak up every word of wisdom from some very wise, sorted women. 

Or even if you are not going through any of these things and are just a woman struggling with 'adulting' or on the verge of moving out on your own, this is a great book to pick up and breeze through! 

There is some very sage, pragmatic advice and life lessons offered up in this book. I loved the tone of the essays. None of them are preachy. It's like your favourite aunt sharing life lessons with you or a beloved older sister or even your mom (who is more like your friend and not an authority figure). 

The piece of advice that I most strongly agree with was- don't stop working! In a patriarchal society such as ours, we women need to be financially independent. Don't let anyone guilt you into quitting a hard-earned job. Talk to your boss, figure out a telecommuting/ work-from-option. If that is not possible, find something to do as a freelancer, but always, always make sure you have your own source of income! 

There is also a lot of good pointers about managing money, dealing with anger, maintaining a solid work-life balance etc. It is all good things! 

Honestly, if you're a woman, read this book. If you're a man, read this book to learn how today's woman is being mentored. 

Rating: 4/5 

Saturday, 12 October 2019

Book Haul: Flipkart Sale Haul + Mini Books Reviews.

Long time no haul.
I must admit that book buying has been slow over here, not that I am complaining. I could, like any other true blue bookworm do with a little less book buying. 
Back in August, during Independence Day, Flipkart was having an amazing Sale. Books were being sold for at crazy prices and I was alerted by the lovely sister duo Bhavya and Sabi who run the Instragram handle Our Treasure Chest about the sale, I quickly hopped over and acquired some amazing books. 

These are them...
I've read a few and the rest are all books I can't wait to get to. 

A beautiful stack of books! 
There are a few things as happiness inducing as a stack of new books. 


1. The Body Myth by Rheea Mukherjee 

2. The Carpet Weaver by Nemat Sadat 

3. The Other Americans by Laila Lalami

4. Khuswant Singh Selects Best Indian Short Stories 

5. The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga 

6. Behold, I Shine by Freny Manecksha 

7. Queens of Hastinapur by Sharath Kommaraju 

8. This House of Clay and Water by Faiqa Mansab 

9. Letters to my Ex by Nikita Singh 

10. The Man from the Egg by Sudha Murty 

11. The Upside Down King by " 

12. Kanpur Khoofiya Pvt. Ltd by Richa S. Mukherjee 

13. Celestial Bodies by Jokha Alharthi 

14. Final Girls by Riley Sager 

15. Life Over Two Beers by Sanjeev Sanyal 

16. The Little Prince by Antoine De Saint Expery 

I am always looking to read more books from around the world, from counties I've never read from before. This one won the International  Man Booker Prize this year and it sounds like something I will enjoy a lot. Its about three sisters in Oman and their lives and families. 

This one was kindly sent to my by the publisher and I really enjoyed it and have reviewed it already. 

Sudha Murty and Mythology. 
What's not to love?! 
These are easy peasy and happy reads. 
Highly recommend. 

I am not normally the biggest fan of love and romance. I honestly, picked this up because it was dirt cheap. I read it recently and while it's pretty decently written and nice enough, I can't quite say I loved it. It was OK, strictly OK. 

I meant to read this a long time ago, like in January. I ordered it in the beginning of the year but it was stolen and I was too bummed to order it again. I got it for super cheap during the sale and got it and read it. 
It was an intense read, about three very different women. About friendship. Betrayal. Love, Identity. 
I thoroughly enjoyed it. 

Always in the mood for books about the Mahabharata. 
It's my favourite epic of all time and basically my favourite story ever. It has so many layers and so much to offer. Therefore, its open to so many interpretations and adaptations. 

There can't be a better time than now to read stories about Kashmir, especially about Kashmiri women. 
I cannot wait to jump into this book. 

I haven't read any Adiga and this might be a good place to start. 

Yes please to short stories. 

Another book I read and loved. Really loved. The death of a Moroccan immigrant causes big and small changes in all those around him. 
I loved everything about this book, the writing, the premise and stories of the people here. 
So good. 
Highly recommend. 

I really wanted to like this book, I really did. kind of fell flat for me. 
Decently written didn't work for me. 
I can appreciate it's scope and topic but didn't like it. 

It's odd...but moving.
The writing was alright..nothing too special. 
But this is one gorgeous book.
Don't you think?
Pick it up if you like books about complicated relationships and love and illness. 

This gorgeous book was a kind gift from a friend, picked up from Amsterdam on her travels. 

I read this book recently. Delightful short stories full of wit and laughs and fun characters. 
Good fun. 

Normally, I am a big fan of all things Riley Sager. Now, I've read everything he's ever written. I hadn't read this, his first book till now. 
But..this is my least favourite of all his books. 
The premise was fun, the sole survivors of massacres. So 90s horror. But somehow the execution of it all left a lot to be desired. 
Didn't work for me. 

Wow I've read most of these books! 
Good on me.