Book reviews

Book review: The Speaking Stone by Ratnadip Acharya

Title- The Speaking Stone
Author- Ratnadip Acharya
Publisher- Aksora Publications LLP
Format- Paperback
Pages- 312
Genre- Historical thriller.
Publication date- 28 Jul 2019

Ratings- 3.7/5

Book blurb:

Mumbai, December 2016: A young man found an ancient-looking piece of stone with strange images and Sanskrit inscriptions. A quest to know the origin of the stone brought him to the distant part of the country. Chandannagar, December 2016: A young vivacious historian woman read an old book on a century-old secret story about a little known part of the country. Her curiosity got the better of her as the book disappeared mysteriously before she could complete it. She reached a sleepy quaint state of the country to satiate her curiosity. Eventually they both met and their search began from the city museum to a far-flung rock mountain which revealed a century-old story of a seductive danseuse, her enigmatic lover, a string of her admirers, a painter with a photographic memory, a bird that could speak in many voices, a benevolent king and a gruesome conspiracy. And the most important clue to decode the final secret was with the missing part of The Speaking Stone But in the process of unearthing old secrets their lives were also in danger… To know more read… The Speaking Stone

Book review:

The story runs in two different timelines of 1900 where we get to know about the true facts of the speaking stone and 2017 where Saikat possesses half of the same speaking stone engraved with Sanskrit inscription and peculiar faces while Shuvashini, an intellectual girl doing her Ph.D. in history is curious to find the other half of the stone. Saikat is intrigued by the stone and reaches Agartala where he meets Shuvashini and they both come together to solve the mystery of the speaking stone.

The interlacing of the past and present is beautifully executed. It was fascinating to read about the history of Tripura which was once called Rajamala in past and was ruled by Radha Kishore Manikya. But I couldn’t connect with both the characters well enough. It felt that the author had muted the character of Shuvashini even though she’s more into history.

Also, some chapters felt unnecessarily stretched at many points and made me feel like skipping the lines. The plot had many potentials and it would have turned out to be much better with decent editing. I still enjoyed the book because of the profound research put by the Author. Recommended if you’re more into thriller history.

*review copy*

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Book Review: Here and Beyond by Rashmi Joshi.

Title- Here and Beyond
Author- Rashmi Joshi
Publisher- Bloomsbury India
Format- Paperback
Pages- 204
Genre- Self Help, Non-Fiction.
Publication date- 18 Jun 2018

Ratings- 4/5

Book blurb:

How do you deal with life’s challenges?
What is the secret of living a simple and happy life?
How do you strike a balance in all your relationships – whether in love, in work or in life?
When and how can universal energies work for you?
How can you learn to analyse every situation correctly?
And ultimately, how can you attain soul realisation?

The book, Here and Beyond, articulates the answers to all your existential queries, helping you to learn and evolve as a spiritual being with each step. With easy and identifiable anecdotes from life – ranging from dealing with a neighbour who calls you names to witnessing a child dying of a life threatening disease – the book offers a comprehensive understanding of life’s basic principles. The book, Here and Beyond, strives to help you secure a blissful life, free of disease and disquiet.

Book review:

Your energies should be focused on being a good defender instead of being an offender because you want to alter your nature, in order to better it.

“Here and Beyond” by Rashmi Joshi profoundly deciphers the spirituality of life. We often tend to feel worthless. Our thoughts consume us, not giving enough valour to stand up for ourselves and follow our hearts. We lose, failure strikes us every now and then. That’s life. That’s how it is supposed to be. This book apprises us to work for better us. It is all about learning and evolving into a better version of yourself.

❝Our soul system is exactly like our digestive system; whatever we injest goes through our digestive system, the unwanted is thrown out and thee nutrient are absorbed. In the soul system, the mind is the instestine, the only difference between the digestive system and the soul system is that the intestine of the soul system has to be made to work for it. It has to learn to throw out the bad and soak in the good, giving way to a healthy soul system.❞

The celestial hues in the cover look absolutely stunning. The book is divided into 3 parts giving precise explanations of respective topics. It includes some short stories that’ll help the readers to connect with the book even more meticulously. Line diagrams, charts, and tables make the contents of the book more engrossing.

Change, in any case, takes a long time to come; it takes even longer when you don’t give love.

Overall, a precisely written self-help book that anyone can read to acquire calmness. The contents of the book are definitely worthwhile.

Thanks to @bloomsburyindia for sending over the review copy.🌻

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Book review: Marjella by Yuvaraja Dhayanithi.

Title- Marjella
Author- Yuvaraja Dhayanithi
Publisher- Dreamblooms Media
Format- Paperback
Pages- 184
Genre- Fantasy
Publication date- 1 Jan 2016

Ratings- 3.8/5

Book blurb:
Jella, the octopus, is the rightful ruler of Zypher, a kingdom at sea. But her father was killed and the kingdom was taken over by the evil Chiro. She has no one but two little friends, Qwerty and Bingo. She has to win back Zypher and free her people. Marina is an eminent scientist and she has no clue about her contributions to the world. Her inventions are at wrong hands and posing a huge threat to the world. She is the only one who can save the world. Jella finds Marina stabbed and left to die in her sea. In a magical intervention, together they discover each other’s life experiences, but did they reclaim their destiny?

Book review:

❝It takes pride to create, not to destroy❞

‘Merjella’ is an underwater fantasy book. The story is about Jella, an octopus raised by her mentor, Mimic who is also the ruler of Zypher(an underwater city). Jella’s father, the king of zypher was killed by evil Chiro and then Jella was only left with her two best friends named Bingo and Qwerty.

While Marina is a prominent scientist whose inventions are conferred into wrong hands , thereby putting everybody at risk. Jello saves marina while she was left to die underwater. Together they both discover their scenarios and evolve as Marjella to take up their respective vengeance.

The interlacing of marine world with humans is absolutely delightful. The characterisation of underwater creature is exquisitely done. Also facts related to the characters of the story are provided at the end of each chapter.

The book is all about friendship, family, teamwork and overcoming your fears. It is filled with information on underwater species that will elucidate the readers about marine life. Author’s words of choice is lucid, intelligible and extremely convenient for children. I found this book somewhere between fun and loops of emotions and somewhat reminded me of Oswald and Finding Nemo. Totally enjoyed the read.

Thanks to @samvedna_ for sending over the review copy.🌻

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Book review: Dear People by Debraj Shome and Aparna Govil.

Title- Dear People with Love and Care
Author- Debraj Shome and Aparna Govil
Publisher- Bloomsbury India
Format- Paperback
Pages- 318
Genre- Fiction
Publication date- 10 Aug 2019

Ratings- 4.5/5

Book blurb:

From time immemorial, medicine has remained one of the most respected professions. Trust formed the unshakeable foundation of the doctor-patient relationship and, for long, doctors were treated next to God.
In recent times, though, this sacred relationship is suffering from an erosion of faith. We often hear discouraging stories of doctors being abused and hospitals vandalised. The narrative is gradually turning negative-a dismal reality for both doctors and patients. We tend to forget that there are many great things happening in the medical world. Today, we are living much longer, we have managed to eradicate many diseases, we have vaccines that prevent our children from dying, life-saving surgeries are being performed while the baby is still in the womb, and we can give the gift of life to someone by transplanting vital organs. Medical miracles are happening every day in hospitals worldwide.

This book is a collection of heartfelt stories by doctors and patients from across the globe. These are stories of triumph, empathy, positivity, loss and, sometimes, failure. It goes one step ahead and captures the experience of people who surround a doctor-the mother of a doctor, a surgeon’s husband and an acid attack survivor-stories that underline that a doctor too is a human being after all. Human resilience can often break barriers, and these stories serve as inspiration to both patients and doctors alike.

Riveting and absolutely unputdownable, Dear People gives an inside view of the world of medicine and hopes to inspire millions to retain faith in this beautiful relationship.

Book review:

“Dear People, With Love and Care, your doctors” is one of its kind. A collection of 34 stories rather experiences from the lives of patients and doctors. Most of the stories are from the doctor’s point of view and all of them somewhat gave me different and better prospective of many scenarios.

The book narrates tangled relationship between a doctor and a patient and their complexities. A patient puts all the trust on a doctor and expect them to never lose on the other hand the doctor has to meet up to their faiths. “Did you know” at the of each stories are my favourite parts. Holding many informative ideas I got to learn so many new things.

Narration and vocabulary to me wasn’t difficult but many readers can find some issues while reading due to some medical terms used in book. Still this book has so many new things and perspectives to teach and the difficulties while reading will be worth it in the end. Totally 4.5 🌟 read for me.

Thanks to @bloomsburyindia and @sma_reviews for sending over the review copy.🌻

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Book review: Love in the Affluenza by Shunali Khullar Shroff

Title- Love in the Time of Affluenza
Author- Shunali Khullar Shroff
Publisher- Bloomsbury India
Format- Paperback
Pages- 296
Genre- Fiction
Publication date- 10 July 219

Ratings- 4.3/5

Book blurb:

“He never wants to touch me any longer, Natasha. It’s like he’s impotent or something.”
“That’s not impotence, that’s just what being married is like!”

Raising three beautiful children in her beautiful Bombay home with her aristocratic husband of 15 years – every bit the prince you read about in fairy tales – Natasha has it all. But when her closest friend drops the bombshell that she’s isn’t entirely fulfilled by her family and is having an affair, Natasha begins to ask some difficult questions about her own seemingly perfect life.

From the bestselling author Shunali Shroff comes a novel about being a wife, a mother and the woman you used to be before that.

Book review:

Love in the time of Affluenza is a fun , quirky and breezy read. Shunali in this book has given many peculiar perceptions and glimpses of lives of Bombay women. Hilarious and satirically written this book will turn out to be relatable to many women out there.

Natasha is a profound writer living a sumptuous life, raising three children with her husband Varun Singh, owner of an artitectural firm. But when one of her friend Trisha encloses about her affair Natasha starts questioning about her life and if she is really happy with her husband.

I found second half of the book to be much more engrossing than the initial half. The lavish and extravagant lifestyle of higher class posh families is well depicted in the book. You’ll find many insightful messages between the witty lines by the author. Grab a copy of this amusing book for a light and risible read.

Thanks to @bloomsburyindia for sending over the review copy.🌻

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Book review: Circus Folk & Village Freaks by Aparna Upadhyaya Sanyal

Title- Circus Folk & Village Freaks
Author- Aparna Upadhyaya Sanyal
Publisher- Vishwakarma Publications
Format- Hardcover
Pages- 156
Genre- Narrative poems
Publication date- 20 Sept 2018

Ratings- 4.2/5

Book blurb:
Sanyal explores the absurd and the bizarre with witty undertones through tales of transmogrification of men to monsters, animals to women, speaking truths of various lives and their travesties. A texture of swift worldly-wisdom underscores the focus on freaks, but often leaves an invisible message of a reverse lens on the rest of the world.

Meet the beautiful people of the Circus, and the freaks who live in the Village next to them. Mangled, jangled, misunderstood, all find place in the rich tapestry of this book.

Siamese twins separate to lose half a heart each, and find snake-man and tiger-taming lovers. A man bitten by a crocodile becomes a God, and a Devadasi woos the entire countryside with her culinary artistry.

Fates intertwined lead sometimes to tragedy, sometimes happy summits of fame. A clown finds his place in Hollywood and mute animals break unspeakable chains. A twisted man falls in love with a mirror and a white man is unmade by the Indian sun.

In this book are tales for every season and every reason. Tales of human depravity that take innocent lives, and of a murderers’ insanity that follows, a fitting revenge by nature, red in tooth and claw.

These stories are told in the form of narrative poems in rhyming couplets.

Look inside and you will find, you have been to this Village. Surely, you have been to this Circus too.

Book review:

“Circus Folk & Village Freaks” is a collection of 18 tales in the form of brilliantly penned poems. It is a amalgation of myraid of emotions into few pages. This whole book beautifully depicts the fact that humans are ordinary yet bizarre and the people born with slightly different features are considered as freaks.

Tale of a boy, Murali who eats metals, two sisters affixed with one heart, a mustachioed woman, the man bitten by crocodile who turned into deity. From murder, feminism, homosexuality to racism this book has it all. Each of them were extraordinary and it’ll definitely make you ponder is that even possible! Lives of all the characters revolve around the circus all abundant by their families. Even the circus master had his own secret of shattered soul.

The tales are exactly that the title proclaims. Also, I loved the illustrations added to each story. Use of highly rich vocabulary and rhyming couplets with abrupt plot of each tales this book overall gave me an amazing experience.

Thanks to @aparnasanyalwrites for sending over the review copy.

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Book review: The Doll Factory by Elizabeth Macneal

Title- The Doll Factory
AuthorElizabeth Macneal
Publisher- Pan Macmillan India
Format- Paperback
Pages- 336
Genre- Historical Fiction
Publication date- 2 May 2019

Book blurb:

‘A sharp, scary, gorgeously evocative tale of love, art and obsession’ Paula Hawkins, author of The Girl on the Train The Doll Factory, the debut novel by Elizabeth Macneal, is an intoxicating story of art, obsession and possession. London. 1850. The Great Exhibition is being erected in Hyde Park and among the crowd watching the spectacle two people meet. For Iris, an aspiring artist, it is the encounter of a moment – forgotten seconds later, but for Silas, a collector entranced by the strange and beautiful, that meeting marks a new beginning. When Iris is asked to model for pre-Raphaelite artist Louis Frost, she agrees on the condition that he will also teach her to paint. Suddenly her world begins to expand, to become a place of art and love. But Silas has only thought of one thing since their meeting, and his obsession is darkening . . .

Book review:

“She searches for a house – but the sun from the street has blinded her now that she stumbles into gloom, and the crack against the back of her head takes her unawares”

Dark, poignant and extraordinarily spine chilling historical fiction. The Doll Factory by Elizabeth Macneal is a tale of obsession and art set in 1851 Victorian London.

The twin sisters Iris and Rose works at greedy and conceited Mrs Salter’s Doll Emporium. When Iris is asked to be a model for Louise she dreams to escape from her ordinary life and aspires to become an artist.

Meanwhile, Silas a deprived rare collector is more obsessive to achieve his most prized possession.

“He tucks the little beast into his coat and leaves the park. He has done it for Iris and she ought to be pleased”

The Urchin Albie who longs for his full set of teeth had his own different character in the book.

Layered with multiple themes this book gave me all the creepy and cringy vibes. There is pinch of feminism that turned the book even more exquisite. Contradictions and societal norms of Victorian life is remarkably depicted.

I had so many mixed feelings after the read. I wanted to read more about Iris, her world and her life. End could have been extended a little bit more but the whole victorian environment and all the vibes gave me an amazing reading experience.

Trigger warning: Animal cruelty and taxidermy that can be disturbing.

Thanks to Pan Macmillan India for sending this review copy over my place.🌻

Ratings- ⭐⭐⭐⭐/5

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