The Color Purple

September 25, 2018

Book : The Color Purple

Author: Alice Walker

Rating: 4 / 5

Synopsis
The Color Purple is a classic. With over a million copies sold in the UK alone, it is hailed as one of the all-time ‘greats’ of literature, inspiring generations of readers.

Set in the deep American South between the wars, it is the tale of Celie, a young black girl born into poverty and segregation. Raped repeatedly by the man she calls ‘father’, she has two children taken away from her, is separated from her beloved sister Nettie and is trapped into an ugly marriage. But then she meets the glamorous Shug Avery, singer and magic-maker – a woman who has taken charge of her own destiny. Gradually, Celie discovers the power and joy of her own spirit, freeing her from her past and reuniting her with those she loves.

Review

I read this as part of #bannedbookclub. This is another book I have seen a lot in #bookstagram. I have been wanting to read it ever since, but putting it off because of my #unendingtbr pile. The book club finally inspired me to get to it.

The whole book is written in the form of letters which is called #episolatoryfiction. The other book which I found was similar to this structure was “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society.

The main character of the story is Celie, a poor black girl who is abused initially by her father and later by her husband. Celie writes letters to God and later to her sister, Nettie. She was separated from Nettie, because of her husband and from her children, by her father. When her stepson, Harpo gets married to Sofia, Celie gets to meet a woman who stands up for herself. Sofia is strong and doesn’t meekly obey to Harpo’s orders, Celie is inspired by Sofia. Then comes Shug Avery, who teaches Celie to love herself and brings about the best in her.Celie finds herself through her relationships with Sofia and Shug Avery.

We also get to know about Nettie’s life through her letters to Celie,about the Olinka Tribe. The way the women and girls are treated there, is so heartbreaking. By comparing the two, the author shows us that women, especially black women are never treated well, be it the posh city, or the rural tribe.

“The Olinka girls do not believe girls should be educated. When I asked a mother why she thought this, she said: A girl is nothing to herself; only to her husband can she become something.
What can she become? I asked.
Why, she said, the mother of his children.
But I am not the mother of anybody’s children, I said, and I am something.”

In the starting I found a bit difficult to understand Celie’s English, later I got used to it.The story talks about sisterhood, racial and gender discrimination, abuse, love and friendship. I felt really bad for Celie, she deserved so much more. I admire Sofia a lot, she was a strong woman.

“I loves Harpo, she say. God knows I do. But I’ll kill him dead before I let him beat me.”

Recommended for everyone.

Favourite Quotes

“…have you ever found God in church? I never did. I just found a bunch of folks hoping for him to show. Any God I ever felt in church I brought in with me. And I think all the other folks did too. They come to church to share God, not find God.”

“I’m pore, I’m black, I may be ugly and can’t cook, a voice say to everything listening. But I’m here.”

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Hungry Gods 

September 18, 2018

Book : Hungry Gods

Author: Richa Lakhera

Rating: 4/5

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Synopsis

Beaten and brutally raped, her body is never found. However, the killers make one mistake. They leave a witness, a witness who has nothing to live for except revenge. And when he crosses the boundaries of time to make the guilty pay, a whole lot of dark characters come to light. There is Valentine, the superstar brand ambassador who sells anything for a price; there is Medici, a pharmaceutical company fraudulently manufacturing banned drugs; there is the perverted and sinister minded Dr. Ranga, and there is Este, the prostitute whose dark secret will blow up a daughter’s sanity. So, is there another murder waiting to happen? Will Police Inspector Dorab Silva be able to connect the clues to prevent another crime? Will these gods of greed be exposed? And yes, you will be surprised by who you will find there, finally. Deeply unsettling, Hungry Gods takes a hard look at greed for wealth and power. 

Review

Thanks to Kulpreet Yadav for providing me with the review copy

The main thing that attracted me to this book was the cover and the title. The title of Hungry Gods with a pic of Theyyam was too enticing to refuse. I still can’t relate the story to both though.

The book starts off with a flashback of the narrator to 1993, when he had to watch his mother getting raped and the only thing he could do was run away from there. Then we come to the present where Dinesh Thackeray, a famous director is writing a script for Healers, a movie produced by the Medici, a pharmaceutical company. In the next chapter we meet Neville Valentine, the superstar who is acting in Healers and later Ranganathan, the legal head and finally Este, the prostitute. One by one when people start disappearing,  that is when the police inspector, Silva comes into picture

Who is murdering people ?

Will Silva be able to capture the killer?

Read to find out

The starting few chapters are filled with violence, drugs, BDSM, pedophiles and what not. It was pretty unexpected and I was too confused. Later it got interesting, and yeah the ending was unexpected, I didn’t suspect the killer at all. The plot was a cliché, but  I did enjoy the book after I got over the starting. It talks about the superstars who are brand ambassadors for products. Do they care about the physical effects of the products or do they blindly go after the money that is offered ?

A very dark thriller, recommended for people who love them

About the author

Ten years of entertainment journalism. A lifetime of manoranjan junkie. Richa believes that you should accept your most demented thoughts fears and fantasies.
Born in Dehradun. Richa did her Masters in Chemistry from Miranda House, before she studied Journalism. Special Correspondent and TV Anchor Richa is currently Associate Editor, entertainment in a prominent news channel. She has extensively covered Hindi Cinema, Bollywood, Fashion and Art in several prominent national news channels and reported from Delhi to Dubai

She has produced, anchored and reported for shows like Night Out, Bollywood Quiz show idbi sawaal india ka, Glamour Show,Filmy Friday, Cinema India, Cinema ke Sikander, Raat Baki.

Richa is a fine artist. She stays in Delhi with her husband and daughter

 

 

 

The Mystery of Three Quarters 

September 12, 2018

Book : The Mystery of Three Quarters

Author: Sophie Hannah

Rating: 3.5 / 5

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Synopsis

The world’s most beloved detective, Hercule Poirot—the legendary star of Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Expressand most recently The Monogram Murders and Closed Casket—returns in a stylish, diabolically clever mystery set in the London of 1930.

Hercule Poirot returns home after an agreeable luncheon to find an angry woman waiting to berate him outside his front door. Her name is Sylvia Rule, and she demands to know why Poirot has accused her of the murder of Barnabas Pandy, a man she has neither heard of nor ever met. She is furious to be so accused, and deeply shocked. Poirot is equally shocked, because he too has never heard of any Barnabas Pandy, and he certainly did not send the letter in question. He cannot convince Sylvia Rule of his innocence, however, and she marches away in a rage.

Shaken, Poirot goes inside, only to find that he has a visitor waiting for him — a man called John McCrodden who also claims also to have received a letter from Poirot that morning, accusing him of the murder of Barnabas Pandy…

Poirot wonders how many more letters of this sort have been sent in his name. Who sent them, and why? More importantly, who is Barnabas Pandy, is he dead, and, if so, was he murdered? And can Poirot find out the answers without putting more lives in danger?

Review

I love playing detective🙊 and Agatha Christie is the Queen of suspense, so thought I would try Sophie Hannah’s attempt at recreating Poirot. .
On the way home from a luncheon, Hercule Poirot is accosted by a woman, who demands to know why she was accused of murder by Poirot. The woman was Sylvia Rule, who received a letter, supposedly from Poirot, who accused her of murdering Barnabas Pandy. Poirot is baffled,why would someone impersonate him. Neither he nor Sylvia has any idea who Barnabas Pandy is. When more people receive the same letter, It becomes a matter of pride for Poirot to solve this case.

Who is the writer of the letters?
Who is Barnabas Pandy?
Was Barnabas Pandy murdered?

Read to find out.

The first half was a bit confusing, later it became interesting. It was a well written fast paced thriller, but was it upto Agatha Christie’s level? I’m not so sure.The author did a good job of replicating Hercule Poirot’s character.The murderer was a person I already suspected so I didn’t feel surprised. The Queen did always surprise me, so was a bit disappointed.All in all it was an enjoyable read.
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A Conjuring of Light 

September 11, 2018

Book : A Conjuring of Light

Author: V.E Schwab

Rating: 5 / 5

Synopsis

Witness the fate of beloved heroes – and enemies.

THE BALANCE OF POWER HAS FINALLY TIPPED…
The precarious equilibrium among four Londons has reached its breaking point. Once brimming with the red vivacity of magic, darkness casts a shadow over the Maresh Empire, leaving a space for another London to rise.

WHO WILL CRUMBLE?
Kell – once assumed to be the last surviving Antari – begins to waver under the pressure of competing loyalties. And in the wake of tragedy, can Arnes survive?

WHO WILL RISE?
Lila Bard, once a commonplace – but never common – thief, has survived and flourished through a series of magical trials. But now she must learn to control the magic, before it bleeds her dry. Meanwhile, the disgraced Captain Alucard Emery of the Night Spire collects his crew, attempting a race against time to acquire the impossible.

WHO WILL TAKE CONTROL?
And an ancient enemy returns to claim a crown while a fallen hero tries to save a world in decay.

Review

The second book ends in a cliffhanger, so the people who are going to read the series, do keep the third book handy before starting the second.Most of my reading is done while I commute, so I just finished the second book when I reached my stop, the 15 minute walk home was so terrible, the need to know what happened was killing me.

In the second book we meet Alucard Emery, the captain of Lila’s ship, who is one of the main characters in the second and third books. A gathering of Shadows mainly focused on the Essen Tach(the contest to find the strongest magician) and how White London regains magic. It ends with Kell trapped in White London, and the villain, Osaron finding a way to Red London.

The third and last book starts off where the second one ended. It starts with Lila trying to help Kell and Rhy’s life hanging on a thread. Kell and Lila manage to escape from Osaron’s clutches, but the real battle is far from over. Osaron had taken over Red London, Kell and Lila are the only hope against him.

Will they be able to save Red London?

Who is Osaron?

Read to find out.

The first few chapters are action packed, later it becomes little slow, then again the pace picks up. I loved reading the backstories of Holland, Kell and Alucard. Finally we get to know who Lila is, she is my favorite character, I love her sarcasm. There is also a #lgbt relationship in this book, which I love(don’t want to spoil it for you guys, so no names) It was a perfect ending for an awesome Trilogy, I wish there was more to it. It is difficult to let go of a series you loved.
For fantasy lovers this is a must read😍

A Darker Shade of Magic 

September 10, 2018

Book : A Darker Shade of Magic

Author: V.E Schwab

Rating: 5 / 5

Synopsis

Kell is one of the last Antari—magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel Londons; Red, Grey, White, and, once upon a time, Black.

Kell was raised in Arnes—Red London—and officially serves the Maresh Empire as an ambassador, traveling between the frequent bloody regime changes in White London and the court of George III in the dullest of Londons, the one without any magic left to see.

Unofficially, Kell is a smuggler, servicing people willing to pay for even the smallest glimpses of a world they’ll never see. It’s a defiant hobby with dangerous consequences, which Kell is now seeing firsthand.

After an exchange goes awry, Kell escapes to Grey London and runs into Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She first robs him, then saves him from a deadly enemy, and finally forces Kell to spirit her to another world for a proper adventure.

Now perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, they’ll first need to stay alive.

Review

I read this book last year, since I had joined bookstagram newly I was connecting with people, so I came to see the story of @ecstatic_yet_chaotic asking if anyone wanted to buddy read A darker shade of magic with her. I checked goodreads and found that it had great reviews, so I thought why not let’s try this.I started it off, it was too good and I couldn’t stop reading it, so I finished long before Mridula did(sorry🙊)

The story takes place in a fantasy world, where there are 4 Londons. Grey London, where the people are unaware of magic;White London, where magic is enslaved; Red London,where magic and people are in balance ;Black London, where magic ruled people, the city destroyed by magic.

The main character of the story is Kell Maresh, who is a blood magician, an “Antari”. Kell and Holland are only Antari alive, only Antari can travel between Londons. Kell is a part of the royal household of Red London, and he travels between Londons to exchange letters, he also smuggles things, which is illegal

Delilah Bard, who lives in Grey London is a pickpocket, she wants to be a pirate.

Rhy Maresh, the prince of Red London, Kell’s closest friend and brother

When fate brings all the three characters together , there is magic and mayhem.

Read to find out what happens

I loved the concept, it was so unique. After reading so many fantasies, you kinda know what is going to happen, so reading something different is like a breath of fresh air. I loved Kell and Rhy’s relationship. Lila was so badass.I loved the fact that the ending doesn’t have cliffhangers, it can easily be read as a standalone. Unless you want to know more about the characters and the unresolved issues.

Recommended for fantasy readers

 

Shadow and Bone 

September 7, 2018

Book : Shadow and Bone

Author: Leigh Bardugo

Rating: 4/ 5

Synopsis

Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.

Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.

Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha . . . and the secrets of her heart.

Review

I loved Six of Crows series, so was curious about Grishas. The Grisha verse has been in my TBR for a long time, what made me read it? I was inspired by @bookstersisters (Gayathri’s TBR). It was pretty fast paced and I finished the first book in a day, couldn’t wait to read the next book.
Ravka is divided into two by the Shadow fold. The land inside the Shadow fold is barren, and no one knows what happened to the people who lived there. The Shadow fold is filled by Volcra, the monsters who eat flesh.

Ravka has a group of people called Grisha, those who follow the small science, they have powers to heal, change appearance, stop hearts etc. Every child in Ravka is tested early to know if they are Grisha. If they are found to be Grisha, they are sent to a special school for training.
The main characters of the story are Alina Starkov and Malyen Oretsev, two orphans who are best friends. They have lived their whole life together in an orphanage of the Duke.

Alina and Mal are part of the group of soldiers sent to cross over the Shadow fold. When the Volcra attack, Alina discovers the power within her, which saves everyone. She is summoned to the royal palace by the Darkling and her training begins. People believe that she is only one who can destroy the Shadow fold
Will Alina be the saviour?

What does the Darkling want from Alina?

Read to find out

I enjoyed this book. Six of Crows was a bit slow in the starting, this one is not. It pulls you right into the Grisha world. After reading so many YA fantasies I know I should have expected a betrayal, but it surprised me. The world building was great and I enjoyed the characters. There is a map at the beginning which lets you have a rough idea of the world. My favorite character would be Mal, I wish there was more of him in the book. It was easy to connect to Alina, I loved living her life for a bit. Though I did feel that it was a mix of other fantasy books I have read, I loved the world of Grisha. Since I had already read Six of Crows I knew what a Grisha was, their powers and divisions. My new favorite OTP is Alina and Mal😍.

The Friend 

August 19, 2018

Book : The Friend

Author: Teresa Driscoll

Rating: 4.5/5

Synopsis

On a train with her husband, miles from home and their four-year-old son, Ben, Sophie receives a chilling phone call. Two boys are in hospital after a tragic accident. One of them is Ben.

She thought she could trust Emma, her new friend, to look after her little boy. After all, Emma’s a kindred spirit—someone Sophie was sure she could bare her soul to, despite the village rumours. But Sophie can’t shake the feeling that she’s made an unforgivable mistake and now her whole family is in danger.

Because how well does she know Emma, really? Should she have trusted her at all?

Time is running out. Powerless to help her child, still hours from home, Sophie is about to discover the truth. And her life will never be the same.

Review

Thanks to  WritersMelon and the publisher for the review copy

The book starts off with Sophie getting a call that her son and his friend are in hospital. Sophie and Mark, her husband are on a train and she has left her son, Ben with her friend and neighbor, Emma.The narrative jumps between present and  Sophie’s flashbacks about her relationship with Emma. Emma and Sophie,hit it off on their first meeting, and their friendship grows over time.  Sophie’s son Ben and Emma’s son Theo are also best buddies.All the bizarre events that happen makes the town suspicious of Emma.But when the whole town is against Emma, Sophie still trusts her.

What happened to Ben ?
Is Ben safe?
Is  Emma the person whom says she is ?
Read to find out

A fast paced, psychological thriller. I enjoyed the book a lot.Thrillers are my favorite genres, I love to guess what happened, I love the ones which surprise me more. Though I did suspect that Emma was upto to something, couldn’t guess what exactly it was. There are books which make you want to guess what happened and books which makes you live in the moment. This book belonged to the latter category. I did feel bad for Theo, he deserved more love. I loved the characters and how the suspense gets built slowly, and how everything you expect to happen doesn’t happen.The epilogue leaves you shocked, coz that is something i never ever expected. The starting was very interesting and somewhere in between become little slow , but the need to know what will happen/what has happened will make it continue reading the book. I’m definitely going to read “I am watching you” as I loved this book.

The story makes us question ourselves, do we really know our friends?. Can we believe our gut feeling and trust random strangers? How can we trust our children with someone else ?

Recommended for readers who love thrillers

The Unseeing Idol of light 

August 14, 2018

Book : The Unseeing Idol of Light

Author: K R Meera , Ministhy S (translator)

Rating: 4.75 / 5

Synopsis

One fateful day, Deepti vanishes mysteriously. Baffled by her disappearance and consumed with grief, Prakash, her husband, loses his eyesight. For Prakash, the inexplicable loss of his wife is doubly painful because she was pregnant with their child. And no amount of consolation can bring him solace in the years that ensue.
Into this void steps Rajani, a woman with a tormented past. Despite her initial disdain of Prakash, she steadily finds herself drawn to him. And although an intense desire brings them together, Prakash is unable to give Rajani the love she craves just as he is powerless to dispel the luminous memory of Deepti. But where will this grave obsession lead?
The Unseeing Idol of Light is a haunting tale that explores love and loss, blindness and sight, obsession and suffering-and the poignant interconnections between them.

Review
My first book by  K R Meera was  The Poison of Love, I loved it, so i was looking for more books by her a friend suggested this one and I fell in love with the blurb. I wanted to read the malayalam version (Nethronmeelanam), but that was out of stock so i got the English one.Thrillers are one of my favorite genre

The book starts off with Prakash and his friend Shyam, who are going to identify a woman who is suspected to be Deepthi,Prakash’s wife. Deepthi who was heavily pregnant went missing on a train journey, 10 years ago. The loss of Deepthi, affected Prakash’s eyes and he went blind. For the past ten years Prakash has been searching for Deepthi, even though he is blind. The other main character is Rajani, who was Prakash’s colleague but is in love with him, but Prakash is not able to get over Deepthi.

Will Prakash find Deepthi?

How did Deepthi go missing?

Will Rajani’s love be reciprocated?

Read to find out

The book is a page Turner, once you start it, it is difficult to put down. Initially I didn’t like Prakash, but later  you kind of understand his character. The quest to find Deepthi becomes your quest too.  Deepthi is idolized throughout the book, that sometimes you wonder whether she was real.The timeline does jump from past to present through the memories of the characters i found that interesting. After finishing the book , i did feel that i should have guessed the ending,not giving anything away.The translation is a little off at places, word by word which doesn’t make any sense in English. I could understand coz I could translate back to Malayalam. People who are not familiar with Malayalam can check the glossary before starting, so that it will be easier to understand certain words.

Recommended for readers who love thriller

Inkredia :Luwan of Brida

August 12, 2018

Book : Inkredia: Luwan of Brida

Author: Sarang Mahajan

Rating: 4 / 5

Synopsis

In Fal Doram, also called as the great empire of Inkredia, a conspiracy begins to unfold. The first step is an easy one – kill a simple, villager named Luwan. When Luwan suddenly faces an enemy straight out of the folklore, he is left dumbfounded by the mystery why they are after him. As he makes a daring run to survive, journeying through the unknown world outside his village, new mysteries emerge, some closely concerning him. Riddled with questions and hunted by legendary assassins, and by the nonhumans made of the darkest element in the nature, Luwan makes a dangerous journey through the incredible empire of Inkredia.

Review

Thanks to the publisher(Gloryburg) for providing me with a review copy

I found the title pretty interesting and the cover is beautiful. The main protagonist of our story is Luwan, he lives in Brida. Brida is part of the Inkredia empire and  is ruled by Lord Ghuwak . One day Luwan refuses to pay the tax collector his due, which puts Night guards behind him.A book which was passed on by his parents, instructs him to escape Brida.With the help of his sister, Meg and friend Narjo, Luwan manages to escape. When the legendary Ghork riders start to hunt him down,Luwan has to put everything on line to survive.

Will Luwan be able to  escape?

How are they tracking Luwan?

Why are they  hunting Luwan?

It was an interesting, fast paced story,I didn’t feel bored at all . Though the plot and elements were similar to other fantasy novels, a great attempt by an Indian author. I loved the narration, it was perfect for the story, no grammatical or spelling mistakes. I didn’t feel like I was reading an Indian author, some Indian authors simplify the language too much.The book has a map in the starting which shows all the parts of Inkredia , which helps in understanding the story better.  I’m looking forward to read the next book in the series.

Recommended for fantasy readers

Aatujeevitham/Goat Days 

August 7, 2018

Book : Aatujeevitham / Goat Days

Author: Benyamin

Rating: 5 / 5

Synopsis

Najeeb’s dearest wish is to work in the Gulf and earn enough money to send back home. He achieves his dream only to be propelled by a series of incidents, grim and absurd, into a slave-like existence herding goats in the middle of the Saudi desert. Memories of the lush, verdant landscape of his village and of his loving family haunt Najeeb whose only solace is the companionship of goats. In the end, the lonely young man contrives a hazardous scheme to escape his desert prison.

Goat Days was published to acclaim in Malayalam and became a bestseller. One of the brilliant new talents of Malayalam literature, Benyamin’s wry and tender telling transforms this strange and bitter comedy of Najeeb’s life in the desert into a universal tale of loneliness and alienation.

Review

The story starts off with Najeeb and Hammed who are looking for ways to get arrested by the police. Why would someone be so eager to go to jail ? To know that you have to read the book. The book is divided into three parts :- Prison, Desert and Escape.

Initially I couldn’t connect to him, but later it was hard to read, as I became part of his story. Najeeb  was a sand miner who lived in Haripad, Kerala  with his wife who is four months, pregnant. When one of his neighbors says there is a Visa available, he jumps at the opportunity to visit abroad and earn more money. Somehow he manages to arrange the money for visa and also for the ticket. When Najeeb reaches Riyadh, all his dreams are shattered as he is abused and made to tend goats. Stuck in a place where he doesn’t even know the language, Najeeb is treated as a slave by the Arbaab and he feels more kinship to the goats that he looks after rather than the very few humans that he encounters there.

It was heartbreaking, but this is the story of a lot of Gulf Malayalis, people who have gone to fulfill their dreams end up being shackled by slavery. I later came to know that this was a real story, i still can’t believe that a person could endure so much. I loved the writing style, Najeeb was funny at times. Being a malayali I could relate to his need to bathe to be clean. Water is something which is never considered precious by us, only when we are in a situation where there is no water , do we realise our mistakes.

This was my third book for the #malayalireadathon , and  for more details on the readathon you can check my post here

Recommended for everyone. I read the malayalam version , there is also translated English version which is available