TITLE: The Inimitable Chaos Of Life
AUTHOR: Maliny Mohan
PUBLISHER: Story Mirror
GENRE: Fiction ( Anthology of Short Stories)
Does justice to the contents of the book which is in fact a collection of stories that bring to the fore the chaotic side of life.
Ah! This I admit, fails to impress. It lends an old book look. I would love to see the author take a re-look at this aspect while going in for a reprint and come up with something that is both eye-catching and communicative.
A naive girl of eighteen is trapped in a dungeon, which changes her and her capturer’s life forever. Afar, tucked away in the sleepy terrains of a town in Kerala, a married woman is determined to revisit a forbidden part of her past. A model-turned-MBA aspirant is scourged mentally for a decision she almost made three years back. Back in the less happening village of Kanyapuram, an aspiring author loses a copy of her very first manuscript.
True to its title, ‘The Inimitable Chaos of life’ is an amalgamation of enthralling stories borrowed from the chaotic pages of life, which allure you to relive the multitude of unique emotions humans are made of.
The stories 14 in all, bringing to the fore the myriad shades of human character and emotions. Beautifully crafted, they bring forth the inherent strengths and weaknesses in human characters and relationships, sacrifices that are life changing, enmities that ruin, loss that causes heart breaks, nostalgia at the sight of an old flame, etc., etc., Though there is nothing extraordinary in the stories, what makes them unique is the way they have been told. Yes, there are some where the conclusion is well in sight before one reaches the end but there are also others with an element of surprise, twists that leave one saying, “Oh! My God! How did I not foresee this?”
Characters are well- developed and one can relate to each one of them and their actions and reactions and why not, after all they come across as simple folks right there in next door.
The editing leaves a lot of scope for refinement. It needs to be tightened. Unnecessary jargon/ words and phrases that do not sit well in the contexts they are placed in, often act as speed- breakers. These need to be revisited and removed/ replaced to make the flow simple yet smooth. Hope the author looks into this aspect too while going in for a reprint.
Overall an interesting and engaging read, I’ll give the book a 3 on a scale of 5.
An avid blogger, Maliny Mohan is passionate and strives hard to listen to her heart, every time it beats out of sync. Her tales mirror her eye for beauty in its varied forms, sometimes resplendent with the most vibrant of hues and at other times poignant, enriched with subdued shades of grey and black. Apart from being passionate about writing, she is also a trained dancer, lover of solitude, bibliophile, tea-lover and an amateur poet.
TITLE: Frank Goes To The Market
ILLUSTRATOR: Chetan Sharma
PUBLISHER: MsMoochie (2017)
GENRE: Children’s Literature
Reading level: 1.00 – 6.00 years
Grab your shopping basket!
It’s time to step into a busy market.
It’s Frank’s first trip to the market and he is thrilled! He RUNS towards a sea of tomatoes. He HOPS towards a cart of potatoes. Finally he TURNS around to look at his mother. But, much to his dismay, she isn’t there.
Watch a crowded marketplace come to life in this vibrant story as we follow the adventures of one unforgettable little boy.
A cute little book of 22 pages, this one belongs to the Little Book Lovers’ Reading Series and is resplendent with colourful pictures each a veritable treat to the eyes. Aimed at reinforcing pre- reading skills and arousing an interest in the little minds, ‘Frank Goes To The Market’ does exactly that. While each page carries forward the story of Frank and his visit to the market which is filled with adventure, in just one or two sentences, the picture presentation of the narration leaves a lasting impression on the little mind. This I say not from the point of a reviewer but from firsthand experience.
A reading of the book with my 17 month old grandson by my side was enough to make me realize the effectiveness of the illustrations which are not only colourful but are communicative too. There are a few things in the book that he could easily relate to. For example as soon as he saw the first picture with an auto and Frank and his mother he was thrilled to the core and instantaneously related it to an auto near our home. In fact he related Frank to himself and identified Frank’s mother as myself his grandmother. ( Maybe because he sees me often in a saree unlike his mother who is always in a salwar-kameez). He was so thrilled by what he came across in each page that he was literally squealing in delight and wanted me to narrate the story again and again.
The story is simple and while children in the age group of one to four may not be able to read it on their own, they will surely enjoy it since all the elements in the story are there to see in their home/surroundings. In fact it just crossed my mind that the story can also be used as a medium to let them unleash their creative side and yarn a story of their own/ take this story forward.
There are certain passages that rhyme and give the story a poetical touch making it interesting and soothing to the ears.
The activities at the end of the book like ‘Word Fun,’ ‘Match the rhyming words,’ Find and Colour’ and ‘Put in Order,’ add a touch of fun combined with study and are engaging. The story imparts an important lesson and two too.
Overall great story, perfect style, engaging read with catchy and eye-appealing illustrations. A veritable treat for the young mind with plenty of nutrition enough to charge their creative side, I’ll give the book a 4 on a scale of 5.
TITLE: Just me, the Sink & the Pot
AUTHOR: Sudeshna Ghosh
BLURB ON GOODREADS
Meet Pamela, an overweight girl who’s looking back at her school days. From longing for a Valentine to dealing with a sibling who hates her, Pamela has a lot to deal with. She even has a special bunch of friends at home who she can turn to – but they aren’t the kind of friends you’d expect. Life sucks when you’re fat. Can Pamela ever be happy?
Picked up the book purely out of curiosity. Know what? The title and the blurb made me wonder how the two were related and I must say that when I went through the book I found the title to be apt. In fact I think there could not have been a better one.
‘Just me, the Sink & the Pot’ has at its core the subject of body shaming which is I must admit, something that is on the rise these days. The dilemma, the sufferings and the aspirations of an overweight girl are put forth beautifully and one can’t help but empathize with Pamela the protagonist and the butt of ridicule both at home and outside. But there were places in the story where I felt she was getting too obsessed with her weight and structure unnecessarily and that the real cause of her miseries was her own low-esteem. She was virtually turning out to be her own enemy.
The story is relatable as far as Pamela’s state of mind and her experiences are concerned and it did make me empathize with her. But it also set me thinking in another direction. While I could easily relate to the treatment meted out to Pamela both at home and in school, I could not digest the fact that school children in India can be so promiscuous as made out in the book. Yes, there may be a few say one or two or at the most four to five in a classroom who have no qualms in openly flaunting their liking for a member of the other sex. But the way it is brought out in the story it looks like the majority of the thin/ skinny girls in the protagonist’s class are promiscuous and have no qualms in openly flaunting their liking/ bedding the boys/ consuming drinks, etc., etc. Wonder whether I’m getting old and times have really changed so much or it is just Pamela’s blind belief /is she just imagining things?
The language is simple and lucid making the book not only a simple read but a fast one too. It addresses an issue that needs to be dealt with by society in all sincerity and throws up some vital questions like-
1) Don’t obese people have a right to the good things in life like parties, friends and above all impartial treatment at home?
2) Don’t they have a right to a space of their own?
3) Do looks really matter while picking up one’s friends?
4) Does anyone have a right to hurt other’s feeling/ body shame them?
Overall a wonderful read, I’ll give the book a 3 on a scale of 5.
TITLE: The Conspiracy of Meru (Vikramaditya Veergatha Series Book#2)
AUTHOR: Shatrujeet Nath
PUBLISHER: Jaico Publishing House
GENRE: Fiction (Fantasy)
The only silver lining is that the deadly Halahala is safe. For now.
Bent on vengeance, Indra is already scheming to destroy Vikramaditya, while Shukracharya has a plan that can spell the doom for the Guardians of the Halahala. How long can the human army hold out against the ferocity and cunning of the devas and asuras? And will Vikramaditya’s love for his queen come in the way of his promise to Shiva?
The story is as I mentioned is intriguing and engaging and keeps the reader on tenterhooks with its twists and turns. While the fierce battle scenes especially that off the coast of Dvaraka are enough to give goose bumps, the havoc wreaked by Ahi is spine chilling.
Once again the author takes us through a maze of emotions. There is chivalry, love, deceit and much more that only a reading of the book can bring to the fore clearly. No review can explain the intricacies involved in the story with perfection. There are certain startling revelations that can have a bearing on the unity of the Guardians of Halahala and the turn the story takes in the next book in the series. While the mystery deepens, the conspiracy thickens and unholy nexus between the foes starts taking root to defeat the King and his Council of Nine. Will they succeed? Only time will tell.
CHARACTERIZATION: Characters are well- developed especially the secondary characters of the Series who take centre stage in this book (Here King Vikramaditya has been relegated to the background). But what stands out is that even the characters of the Devas are relatable. They are not entirely sugar coated. They have vices just like ordinary human beings. Lust, jealousy, deceit and a sense of helplessness at times makes them integrate easily into the story
LANGUAGE AND STYLE: Crisp and lucid. I loved the author’s style of narration and use of words.The flow takes one along with it and the imagery helps to transport the reader to the thick of action taking place. The battle scenes had me spell-bound.
PACE: The pace is perfect. Will keep one glued to the pages without giving a gap to let out even a yawn.
TITLE: The Wrong Turn
AUTHORS: Sanjay Chopra and Namita Roy Ghose
PUBLISHER : Om Books International
GENRE: Historical Fiction
1944, Kohima — a small, sleepy town in northeast India. Subhash Chandra Bose and his Indian National Army (INA) along with the Japanese, are on the brink of bringing the Empire to its knees and forcing the British out of India. But, inexplicably, the tables turn. The INA’s advance is thwarted and the victory march to Delhi is halted. Seventy years later, the British admit that the Battle of Kohima was the greatest battle they had ever fought. Even more so than the battles of Waterloo and Dunkirk.
Was it then that old Indian curse — betrayal? Someone from within Netaji’s own ranks? Were there forces other than the British, waiting in the shadows closer to home, who stood to gain even more from the INA’s defeat? Or was it just love that irrevocably altered the course of India’s destiny?
The Wrong Turn: Love and Betrayal in the Time of Netaji, is a sweeping tale of passion set against the freedom struggle. Debraj, the rakish playboy and scion of a distinguished Calcutta family, and Nishonko, the fiery revolutionary sworn to the cause of the INA, must not only fight their common enemy, but also for the love of Aditi, the rebel with the healing touch.
A haunting tale of love, friendship and betrayal of an entire nation, The Wrong Turn veers inexorably towards a poignant redemption.
PLOT/ STORY-LINE: An interesting one that’s destined to make one think of what the India of today would be if Netaji and his Azad Hind Fauj were to decide India’s destiny post-Independence.
Wonderfully crafted, the story is a saga of the struggle of the people and the mutiny that took place in the Armed Forces during that time that saw a steady stream of ragged Indian soldiers desert the British Indian Army to join hands with Netaji’s fauj in their yearning for dignity and respect.
While on the one hand we see intense patriotism drive common people to leave all that’s dear to them, sacrifice their loved ones, live a life of fugitive and at times resort to nothing short of guerrilla warfare, on the other side we see the ugly face of those that seek to take advantage of the situation. Driven by selfish motives and the desire to rise up in the ladder of life they are ready to turn in their fellow countrymen. Unfortunately it is people like Goopta who are the curse of Society, who decided the destiny of India of post- Independence. Corrupt to the core, it is they who stabbed at the very core of the Independence Struggle by their deceit and ensured that they had a say in the new order.
‘The Wrong Turn’ represents not only the wrong turn in India’s freedom struggle but also the wrong turn in the life of the protagonist Debraj Mookerji the Scion of an aristocratic family who is involuntarily drawn into the freedom struggle by circumstances beyond his control.
Steeped in myriad emotions like patriotism, deceit, love, jealousy, hate and empathy, the story takes us on a journey of sorts through a part of the freedom struggle and imparts a feeling of being in the middle of the action. It also gives us an insight into life in Kolkata of those days.
The twists and turns makes the book an engaging read but…….it’s the climax that turns out to be the icing on the cake.
CHARACTERIZATION: The characters are well- developed and easily relatable. One can’t help but see in them a strong resemblance of our next- door neighbours, friends, relatives and politicians.
LANGUAGE: Crisp and lucid.
PACE: Fast paced
A truly engaging read, one that will enthrall the historical fiction fan to the core, I’ll give it a 4 on a scale of 5.
(For more details regarding the book like excerpt, buying links, author bio, etc., do CLICK HERE to visit the Spotlight on the book.)
Apt. Conveys the essence of the book in simple yet strong terms.
Reminded me of the days when 5 ps. And 10 ps. could buy us a handful of sweets, chewing gum etc.
WHAT THE BOOK IS ALL ABOUT
A debut novel that several Indian readers have compared with works of one of India’s greatest writers – R K Narayan. Universal in its theme, this book is a tribute to childhood memories and nostalgia. It vividly captures and celebrates the little joys of growing up before internet and mobile phones took away the simplicity of life. This is a childhood autobiography set in a small town in South India in the 1970s and 80s. At once an ode to innocence and mischief, this is a collection of effortlessly told memorable little tales guaranteed to set off a journey back in time. From playing a rare instrument, to asking Rajiv Gandhi intimate questions, to practicing dolphin dives, to hanging out of a running train in the middle of the night; to witnessing a world record, to being caught in a flood of sambar, to learning kung-fu with mosquitoes, to becoming the “inventor” of capris, to making magnets, to planning a borewell… Half Pants Full Pants is a collection of real-life stories of growing up in Shimoga. R. Balki, perhaps our generation’s best filmmaker and storyteller, touts this treasure-trove of stories as: “After Malgudi Days, I could never imagine that somebody could create another childhood classic for adults to regain their innocence even for a few hours. Suspi’s tales would have made R K Narayan smile. Oh! That beautiful Kannadiga gene!”
STORIES :- Enriching! Takes one down memory lane to those good old days when 5 ps. and 10 ps. could buy one lots of chocolates, chewing gums, etc. Each of the stories in the book is easily relatable for people like me who grew up in the 60s and 70s when a journey by train was nothing short of good luck, when Raleigh cycles were a novelty and being able to play an instrument was the in thing. They bring to life the innocence of childhood in those days; days when TVs were just making an entry into the Indian market and children preferred outdoor games to being bound within the four walls of the house.
The pages of the book are loaded with humor and innocence and though most of us have gone through the experiences mentioned therein, one can’t help experiencing a feeling akin to inhaling pure, fresh air when going through the same.
CHARACTERIATION: The characters are well- fleshed out and each of them has certain traits that make them stand out from the rest. They remind us of our friends and foes ( bullies) of childhood and make us nostalgic.
LANGUAGE: Language is simple crisp and lucid and has the ability to bring live the events narrated in the book.
A wonderful and refreshing read that is sure to appeal to people of all ages. While the book is sure to make people who were born before the mid- 90s nostalgic, it will act as a reference to those born later giving them an insight to the simple yet innocent life of earlier times when people were truly connected to nature and were not bogged down by gadgets, when eating out needed months of planning yet inviting someone over did not need a previous notice. I’ll give the book a 4 on a scale of 5.
TITLE: Dominick & the Dragon
AUTHOR: Anne K. Edwards
GENRE: Fantasy Fiction ( For children)
GET IT @ amazon.com
Dominick is a lonely little boy who has an interest in dragons so when his brothers tell him about one living in the “dark forest” behind Dominick’s home, he longs to meet him. Imagine his surprise when he does. Here, he must outsmart the dragon named Elvis who is always hungry.
A short yet interesting read, one that is sure to appeal to the young mind, Dominick and the dragon reminded me of my childhood when I used to dream of elves and fairies, believed in creatures appearing in story books and was in awe of children elder to me. In fact Dominick stands for that child in us.
The book also reminded me of some sane advice given to me by my elders and later passed on by me to my child like be on guard when you talk to strangers, don’t leave the confines of the house unchaperoned.
There are some twists and turns and we see young Dominick using his wits to escape from the clutches of danger.
The language is simple and the pace is perfect.
Overall a cute read I’ll rate the book 4 on a scale of 5.
A black cat named Whiskers encounters a snake that has lost his home when he goes outside to see the world.
WHAT I LIKED
A cute little story, an instaread, that points to an important facet of life one that nearly all of us have encountered sometime or the other. Though ‘Changing Places’ is the story of Whiskers the black home cat and a homeless snake it is in fact one that reflects human nature indirectly. We as human beings are-
1) Never satisfied with what we have. For us the pasture is always greener on the other side of the fence i.e. till we experience it.
2) Curiosity ‘kills’ us. The thirst to experience and know the unknown prompts us to explore. Once our thirst is satiated we yearn for home. This is the time we thank our stars just like Whiskers the cat.
3) Many inspite of facing odds, are hesitant to take up challenges for fear of the unknown like the snake. They need prompting and cajoling.
The style of narration is perfect and engaging. Language is simple, crisp and lucid. Pace is perfect.
There are some eye- catching illustrations by Dasguptarts that by themselves convey the story.
A wonderful and refreshing read one that has a message for the young, I’ll give this one a 5 on a scale of 5.
Anne K. Edwards enjoys writing tales for children when she’s not focusing on a mystery. Some stories are ideas taken from little misadventures of her cat who actually did fall off the porch and land on a large blacksnake as it was sunning itself. Both were more than a little surprised.
TITLE: Radius 200
AUTHOR: Veena Nagpal
What if a nuclear powered neighboring nation was to ‘steal’ an entire river from under our eyes?
What if a top-ranking Indian General was to take a unilateral decision to strike back, thereby triggering a cataclysmic reaction?
What if, in the aftermath of the nuclear attack, India was left with a devastated Exclusion Zone, 200 kilometers in radius?
And what if your love was stranded inside the Exclusion Zone…
PLOT/ STORY-LINE :- Set in the future, the story has at its epicentre Allahabad in North India.
A nuclear holocaust caused by a neighbouring country, leaves a trail of destruction its wake giving birth to people with mangled figures and land that is arid and devoid of vegetation. Termed the Exclusion Zone, the city of Allahabad is actually a ghost town. Vegetables give way to lizards and snakes as fodder for the hungry and disfigured men, women and children struggling to keep breathing for want of food and proper medication walk its streets. Water is rationed and illness is their constant companion.
Elsewhere in Mumbai there is one a journalist, who is hell bent on entering the Exclusion Zone come what, may. What is her motive? Why does she want to walk into the death trap? What was the provocation for use of nuclear weapon by the enemy? etc…etc…are questions that may plague you throughout the story.
While the living dead in the exclusion zone battle the after effects of the holocaust, those outside it face another challenge, a challenge which if not addressed urgently will slowly but steadily wipe out their very existence. It is one that is connected to the elixir of life water. But here again the solution lies in the zone that they dread to tread.
What finally happens? Does help ultimately reach the Exclusion Zone ? Is the journalist successful in entering it? Is the problem of water scarcity solved?…… To know the answers one needs to go through this engaging read.
There are twists and turns and there are places where you may feel overwhelmed. But ultimately one does realize that this story could be a window to the future, a window if not repaired on time may crash when the winds howl, allowing the gale to wreak havoc irreparable.
CHARACTERIZATION: A maze of characters makes up the story. While some are fleshed out well, there are others who come across as under- developed and prominent amongst these that need to be worked upon are Arjun and Om. There is a lot of potential in these characters but somehow they seem to have been neglected.
LANGUAGE: Simple, crisp and easy to comprehend. The author’s command over the language is evident from the word ‘go’ and this helps her weave situations such that one can easily visualize them. One feels that one is in the thick of action taking place at a particular point. This feeling has gone a long way in making the book an engaging read.
PACE: The pace is perfect. It is neither too slow nor too fast.
1) Of and on descriptions of people in the Exclusion Zone catching and eating rats and lizards was not savoury just like the subjects in question. It could have been cut down to minimal.
2) Kyra allowing Arjun to get intimate with her inspite of the fact that she does not love him and he is already married with two kids. Somehow this did not fit in well with the story.
An engrossing read, one that is well- researched and something different from the usual war- related stories, I’ll give ‘Radius 200’ a 4 on a scale of 5.