Reading Challenges 2020

January 1, 2020

Setting up some reading challenges for 2020

1.Ultimate Popsugar Challenge

2.Around the year in 52 books

Check out the Goodreads group for the prompts

3.The Reading women challenge

4.Reading with Muffy Challenge

5.Goodreads Readers Choice

Here I plan to read the winners and nominees if Goodreads Readers Choice awards 2019. There is a goodreads group for this, and the challenge starts from 1st Jan 2019 to 31 Dec 2020. So if you have already few this year that also counts. I have read 30 last year, planning to read 20 more

I’m planning to track my progress through Google sheets,let’s see how it goes

Alumni of the Year

September 18, 2019

Book : Alumni of the Year

Author:Tomson Roberts

Rating: 3/ 5

Experience Dave’s journey.
Dave is ambitious, has a demanding boss, and is struggling to balance work and life, especially the relationship with his five-year-old daughter. Dave cherishes the memories of his school days. However, due to an incident from the past, he hardly keeps in touch with his best friends.
When Dave learns that his arch-rival from school is nominated for the prestigious Alumni of the Year Competition, he buys his way into the nomination by donating to the school library.
Travel on a life-changing journey with Dave—from Dubai, to Goa, to Kochi—as he goes for the School Reunion function. See how he confronts his past, his ambitions, his fears, and discovers about what truly matters in life.
Thanks to WritersMelon and the publisher for the review copy
The main protagonist of the story is David Thomas. He works in a Management consulting firm in Dubai. His work interferes with his life, and he doesn’t have much time for his family. The chapters interweave between past and Dave’s school days. When he learns that there a School Reunion and Alumni of the year competition, Dave decides to take part to beat his arch rivalDoes Dave win the contest? 
Can Dave give importance to his family than to work? 
Read to find out 

This was a pretty short book, just around 150 pages. It was a bit nostalgic, because it brought back memories of my school days. The language is simple, I felt it was too simple at times. At times it reminded me of malayalam movies that I had watched, I’m not a fan of such books.The story is predictable, but you could pick it up if you are looking for a light read. It was easy to relate to Dave, being a workaholic myself. It is hard to draw the line between work and life, when we are supposed to be available 24*7. 


June 22, 2019

Book : Narasimha

Author: Kevin Missal

Rating: 3.75 / 5


Narasimha, once a brave soldier, has left the war and lies low as a physician in a village. But a familiar face from his past seeks his help to stop the tyranny of the blind usurper – Andhaka. If Narasimha refuses, the world might just end. What will he do? And why did he leave the war in the first place? Prahlad, the interim king of Kashyapuri, is torn between the ideals of his unrighteous father and his love for Lord Vishnu. Whom will he choose? Hiranyakashyap, the ruler of the Asura Empire, wants to avenge his wife. To do that, he must go through the Trials and get the ultimate weapon – the Brahmshastra. But the Trials have sent so many others to their death. Can Hiranyakashyap survive? Welcome to the reimagining of the fourth Avatar of Lord Vishnu by the bestselling author, Kevin Missal.

In this retelling Asuras and Devas are two tribes fighting for the upperhand. Simhas, the tribe of half human – half beast, side with the Devas.
When Indra breaks the truce between Devas and Asuras, and causes the death of Hiranykashyap’s wife, all hell broke loose . This incident turns Hiranykashyap into a maniac who thirsts for revenge. It has been 14 years since the incident, but Hiranya is still the same. Anuhrad, his eldest son yearns to be his father’s heir .Prahlad, his youngest son is still confused whether he should do what is right, or follow his father’s footsteps. Narasimha, who was the head of the Simha is now practicising as a physician, he has got enough of going to war for Indra. Andhaka, the son of Hiranyankshan seems invincible to the Devas.
What will Prahlad choose ?
Why doesn’t Narasimha want to be an avatar ?
Is Andhaka truly invincible?
Read to find out

Of all the avatars of Vishu, Narasimha has always been the one that fascinated me. Mainly because he finds a way around Brahma’s boon for Hiranyakashyap. His boon was that he would not die inside any house or outside any house, during night or day, neither on the ground nor in the sky;he wouldn’t killed by any weapons, by any being created by Brahma or human or animal. But then the Narasimha in the mythology was created for the sole purpose of Hiranya’s death, a retelling with his story was too interesting to let go.
First of all, the cover is beautiful, I love how detailed it is😍😍😍. Can you see the spray of blood?

It was fast paced and interesting, it keeps you hooked. The world building in the book felt like an extension of Shiva Trilogy to me. In retellings I love how the author reimagines the story and connects it with the original story . I know how the story of Narasimha ends, but I’m excited how the Narasimha in this story is going to reach there.People who loved the Shiva Trilogy would find this interesting.  I’m looking forward to reading the next book in the Trilogy.

About the author

Kevin Missal is a 21 year old graduate from St. Stephen’s College, who has written four novels till now ranging from crime to mythology to horror. He had written his first book at the age of 14, which was released by the Chief Minister of Delhi. His second book was written at the age of 16 and was published by a British indie-press. He is a pioneer in writing the World’s First InstaRead and is a bestseller on Amazon under horror category. He is also the co-owner and co-founder of Kalamos Literary Services, which publishes and promotes fledgling writers to make a mark in the literary industry. He currently lives in Delhi and you can contact him on:

The Wonder

April 21, 2019

Book : The Wonder

Author: Emma Donoghue

Rating: 5 / 5


In the latest masterpiece by Emma Donoghue, bestselling author of Room, an English nurse brought to a small Irish village to observe what appears to be a miracle-a girl said to have survived without food for months-soon finds herself fighting to save the child’s life.

Tourists flock to the cabin of eleven-year-old Anna O’Donnell, who believes herself to be living off manna from heaven, and a journalist is sent to cover the sensation. Lib Wright, a veteran of Florence Nightingale’s Crimean campaign, is hired to keep watch over the girl.

Written with all the propulsive tension that made Room a huge bestseller, THE WONDER works beautifully on many levels–a tale of two strangers who transform each other’s lives, a powerful psychological thriller, and a story of love pitted against evil.


I read this for the prompt of “A book with a plant in its cover or title” for #popsugarchallenge2019.
This was highly recommended by @thebooksatchel and @thebookishbulletin , I’m glad I picked it up now. The story is narrated from the POV of Lib Wright who is tasked with the responsibility of watching over Anna O’Donnell, a 11 year old girl . According to the O’Donnell family Anna has been living  “manna from the heaven” for the past 4 months. People from all over the world are coming to see “The Wonder”. Lib and another nurse are supposed to report to a committee at the end of 2 weeks, which will help them to verify O’Donnell’s claims.

How can Anna live without food?
Why is she not eating?
Read to find out

It was a very intriguing, dark and thrilling read, I couldn’t put it down. The book is set in Ireland, years after the potato famine. It was easy to connect to Lib, coz even though I do believe in God I don’t think anyone can live on “manna from heaven”. The second half of the book was heartbreaking. It talks about the impact of religion on the young minds. Anna was so sweet and innocent. The parents, the priest, the town doctor and the committee, I was frustrated at all of them. I was surprised to know from the Author’s note that actually “fasting girls” existed 😣.

Dead In The Water

April 4, 2019

Book : Dead In The Water

Author: Penny Farmer

Rating: 5/5


In 1978, two tortured corpses were discovered in the sea off Guatemala. Hooded, bound with ropes and weighted down with heavy engine parts, Chris Farmer and his girlfriend Peta Frampton were still clinging to life when they were thrown from a yacht on which they had been crewing. 

This is the gripping account of how Chris’s family painstakingly gathered evidence against the boat’s Californian skipper, Silas Duane Boston, working alongside the FBI, Interpol, and police in the UK and the USA. Almost four decades later in 2015, there was a major breakthrough in the case when, using Facebook, Chris’s sister Penny tracked Boston down. Following the testimony of his two sons who, as young boys, had witnessed the horrific murder of Chris and Peta at the hands of their father, Boston was finally arrested and charged with two counts of maritime murder.

Chillingly, Boston was later linked to several other killings on US soil―at one point he was even the FBI’s prime suspect in the notorious Golden State Killer case, until DNA ruled him out. The list of crimes for which he was suspected put him in the league of America’s most prolific and elusive serial killers.

Not just a story of murder on the high seas, Dead in the Water is a tale that offers insights into the minds of the killer and his two sons. And it reveals a family’s fortitude and diligence in tracking down a monster of a man, a task which ultimately fell to the author to complete. It exemplifies that life can be senselessly snuffed out but love never dies


Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher( Diversion Books) for the review copy

True crime is something which I started reading last year. I have always been intrigued by serial killer novels, but now when I read these true crime accounts I realise that I agree with the quote “Truth is stranger than fiction”

Last year I had read “I’ll be gone in the dark by Michelle McNamara and when I came to know that the main suspect of this case was also suspected to be GSK I had to read this. Fortunately @diversionbooks approved my request on @netgalley and I got to read this

Back in 1978, the author’s brother, Chris and his girlfriend, Peta were murdered. They had gone on a trip to see the world, but they never came back. The family was devastated by the loss but the police didn’t make any headways. Though the main suspect was the boat owner, Silas with whom they were last seen the police didn’t have enough to charge him. Even after relentless follow ups by Chris’s family there was no progress. 38 years later Penny manages to get the case reopened in the light of new evidence

Will Chris and Peta get justice?
Why were they murdered?
What was the new evidence?
Read to find out

It was a fascinating and equally horrifying read. It was truly tragic and harrowing account . The events are narrated in order and I couldn’t stop reading. It does contain graphical descriptions of violence. My heart broke for Chris, Peta and their families. At times I couldn’t believe this was a true story. The fact that the killer was at large even after so many incidents is frightening.

Killing time in Delhi

March 22, 2019

Book : Killing Time in Delhi

Author: Ravi Shankar Etteth

Rating : 3.5 / 5


Bon vivant Charlie Seth, a privileged denizen of Lutyens’ Delhi, leads a life of idle luxury fuelled by money, drugs, sex and parties. A cocaine overdose kills his ditzy girlfriend, thrusting him into a maelstrom of conspiracy, murder, blackmail and promiscuity. As the world of Crazy Rich Punjabis unravels, Charlie’s future is suddenly at the mercy of an enigmatic woman, an unscrupulous swami, a society-obsessed policeman, a slippery drug pusher and a disloyal valet. The only person who can help him is his missing aunt. Holed up in the country palace that his grandfather had won in a game of cards from a raja on Diwali, Charlie plots his revenge.

Killing Time in Delhi is a brutally funny look into the shenanigans of Delhi’s ultrarich who live in the fast lane and are high on hypocrisy, borrowed money and dubious deals.


Thanks to WritersMelon and the publisher for the review copy

The story is told from the POV of Chaitanya Seth who is known as Charlie to everyone. Both of his parents died when he was eleven and he was brought by his Uncle. When he is current girlfriend OD’s in his bedroom Charlie’s whole world falls apart. What happens next? Read to find out
The revelation at the end of the book, didn’t surprise coz I did expect it already. There were times the book made me cringe and times it made me laugh out loud.

It was an engaging read. The plot was predictable and the characters were cliché. Still I enjoyed reading, even though I was reading about a rich spoiled brat. Though the blurb was not my cup of tea, I loved one of the other books by the author so I requested for this one. I never expected to get a hard cover, the cover is colorful and beautiful. I started this book when I was in a slump and this book got me out of it. Maybe because it was different from what I usually read. It is a one time fun read. Ideal for people who love sarcasm.

The Peshwa : War of the Deceivers

January 14, 2019

Book : The Peshwa : War of the Deceivers

Author: Ram Sivasankaran

Rating: 4 / 5


Seven years have passed since Peshwa Bajirao Bhat annihilated the Nizam’s armies at Fort Mandu. The two forces have been engaged in attacks and skirmishes ever since. Acting on the advice of his right-hand man, the mysterious Anaamik Dabhade, the Peshwa now sets about laying a trap to truly ensnare the Mughals, and break their might.

The Empire, of course, has methods of its own. And Nizam Ul Mulk is itching for an opportunity to exact revenge of the formidable Bajirao. With assassins, saboteurs and criminals infiltrating the Maratha lands, the Mughal Empire scores as many victories in the night as the Peshwa does during the day. 

Meanwhile, in the far reaches of the country, set ablaze by the never-ending conflict between these major powers, a Sikh warlord, a Rajput king and a Bundela princess find themselves increasingly tangled up in the endgame that will determine the very course of history. It is a battle of wits and skill, and the greatest deceiver of them all will prevail. 


Thanks to WritersMelon and the publisher for the review copy

The book starts off  seven years after the last book ended. The Peshwa, Bajirao thinking of ways to end the Mughal Empire.  The Vazir,Nizam Ul Mukh,  thinking ways to get revenge on Bajirao. The illegitimate brother of Dadabhe, Anaamik has become Peshwa’s spy master and close confidant.There is a dual time-line in the book, where we are taken back to the time when Chimanji Appa, the youngest brother of Bajirao was gone missing.  The Peshwa still harbours a hope that Chimanji is alive.

Will the Peshwa and Chimanji meet?
Will Anaamik betray Bajirao ?
Will the Nizam get his revenge?

Read to find out

When I requested for Peshwa II I didn’t realize that it was a historical fiction based on the Bajirao of the movie Bajirao Mastani. I was waiting for Bajirao and Mastani to meet. Since I hadn’t read the first book in the series, I got that in Kindle Unlimited. I would request those who are planning to read this book to read Peshwa I, though the author does provide recaps during some connected events, it would help you to understand the characters and plot more in depth. 

I felt that at times it was a tad too descriptive.I liked the twist at the end, which I was able to guess only mere pages before the reveal. I loved how the story plays out and how everything is linked. I’m looking forward to read the next book in the series.

Recommended for readers who love historical fiction

A Long Way Home

January 2, 2019

Book : A Long Way Home

Author: Mitali Meelan

Rating: 3.5 /5


The Adhikaris are a regular, happy family – or so they will have you believe. But at the dinner table, a silence hangs heavy over the three children, especially Arihant and Ishaan.
Twenty-three-year-old Arihant possesses a secret talent and a shattered heart. He yearns for his muse and ex-girlfriend, only to surprise himself when they finally meet after a long and difficult time apart. If only Ishaan could share some brotherly advice rather than sneak about, aloof and increasingly suspicious.
Ishaan, twenty-eight, seems to have the job of his dreams – or at least, his parents’ dreams. But how long can he stay torn between two worlds? How long before someone finds out about his evenings: about the place he goes to and the woman he sees.
Here is a story set in the calm before a storm – after which nothing will be the same for this seemingly happy household.


This is the story of the Adhikari family. Ishaan the eldest son is the main breadwinner. Arihant, the middle one who dreams to be a writer. Saloni the youngest child, who is cute and sweet.

The story starts from Arihant’s perspective, when he had come home for his brother’s birthday . Ishaan seems to have a problem with Arihant. He is rude and shuts him off. The brothers have a serious communication problem.
Arihant works at a magazine and also has  an anonymous blog. I loved poems and blog posts.Ishaan who has the perfect job according to his parents seem to hiding something.

The narrative was engaging and the characters were relatable. It was fast paced and I finished it in a day. The characters and the plot did feel clichéd to me. The story is of a typical Indian family, where only engineers and doctors have the perfect job. It talks about the expectations parents burden their children with. They don’t understand that we have to love the job we do, or it suffocates us. As long we have the passion to do what we love, we will excel, but they just don’t find it respectable.

This family drama did remind me of a Bollywood movie. It was good to read the story from the POVs of both Ishaan and Arihant. The problem with first person POVs is that we don’t know what the other character was thinking at that time, so I liked reading through the same situation from multiple POVs.

Favourite Quotes

“My love,humans are not places to be visited. They are homes to be built together. And this home… you let it perish long before you sought it”

About the author

A Mumbai-based Young Adult and Contemporary writer who has a weakness for peaceful getaways, beaches, books and scarves.

Her debut novel “The Guest” was published on 25th May, 2016 by the renowned writer Ravinder Singh’s publishing venture Black Ink.


November 28, 2018

Book : Agnisakshi

Author: Lalithambika Antharjanam

Rating: 5 / 5


The only novel of one of Kerala’s leading women writers, Lalithambika Antharjanam’s Agnisakshi is a telling account of a woman’s life glowing as though purified in the ‘fire of sacrifice’. Set against the history of Kerala, and life, customs, habits, and culture of the Namboodiri community, along with the fervent cries of the Indian National Freedom struggle, the characters act out their unforgettable roles: Tethi, the dazzling but disappointed bride who renounces worldly life; Unni Namboodiri, whose adherence to the Vedic way of life destroys his personal happiness; and Thankam, Unni’s Nair cousin and the mighty Aphan Namboodiri’s daughter, seeking her own liberation from the past.

True to the lyrical and emotional tone of the original, Vasanthi Sankaranarayanan’s translation offers a moving portrait of upper-class, upper-caste Kerala society just before and after Independence.


I had done a #malayalireadathon in Aug, that is when I discovered this book, but it was out of stock and I got it only in September. I had forgotten about it, but in the last week of October I realised that I hadn’t a malayalam book this month, so picked this up. There is a malayalam movie based on the book, which I think I’ve seen parts of.
Usually I have a starting trouble with malayalam books, but this book just pulled me in from the first page. It starts off in Ganga, where Mrs Nair has come with her son and granddaughter. She is searching for “thethiedathy” her sister in law who has become a sanyasini. They do meet but Thethiedathy doesn’t acknowledge her and leaves her abruptly.
Then we go in flashback mode, to understand what made Thethiedathy turn into a sanyasini. Mrs Nair, who was known as Thankam at that time, was born to Appan thamaburan and a Neythiyare Amma (a lower caste woman). As her mother was a Shudra, Thankam was never allowed to touch her father often. I can’t fathom how it would have felt for that kid who could never expect her father to hug her, and if he did he had to cleanse himself. The untouchability custom of that time was too horrible. Aphan thamburan has two sons Unni and.. Unniyettan was always thankam ‘s best friend and playmate and when he brings the news that he is married she excited to have an “edathyamma”. The day the new bride is brought to the house, thankam is not allowed entry as she is of a lower caste. Later Thethiedathy or Devaki, meets Thankam and become the best of friends
What causes Devaki to become a sanyasini?
How did Thankam become Mrs Nair?
What happened to Unni?
It was a heartbreaking tale, there were times when I was so irritated at the people and times when I couldn’t stop my tears. Though initially I couldn’t understand Unniyettan, in the end my heart hurt for him too. At the end of the book when Devaki does regret the decisions she took, I couldn’t fault her for taking them. Devaki and Unni deserved so much more. The story talks about untouchability, the absence of freedom of the women in that time.

There is an English translation of the book which is called ” Fire : My Witness”. This book was a Sahitya academy winner and was the first book to win the Vayalar award.

Favourite quotes

“ഞാനില്ലാതെ, തേതിക്കുട്ടിക്കു ജീവിതമുണ്ടായിരിക്കാം. പക്ഷേ, അവരില്ലാതെ എനിക്കു ജീവിതമില്ല…മാനമ്പള്ളി ഉണ്ണി നമ്പൂതിരി പഴമക്കാരനും വിഡ്ഡിയും മന്തനുമായിരിക്കാം. പക്ഷേ, അയാൾ അഗ്നിസാക്ഷിയായി വേളികഴിച്ച പത്നിയെ ഉപേക്ഷിക്കുവാൻ മാത്രം ക്രൂരനല്ല, എന്നവരെ അറിയിച്ചേക്കൂ. സ്നേഹിക്കുന്നവർക്ക് വേണ്ടി എന്നുമെന്നും കാത്തിരിക്കാൻ അയാൾക്കറിയാമെന്നും…”


November 20, 2018

Book : Endurer

Author: Kapil Raj

Rating: 4 / 5


“The beam of sunlight crossed the room along with the dust dancing in. It could do nothing but allow the particles to contaminate the ray and make it impure, just like me.” 

Life was a fun fed roller coaster: New found love, drugs, cat-fights, patch ups, crushes, night hangouts, and unplanned trips. Like any girl, not in the wildest dream, Palak could imagine that after attending a Rave Party, she will wake up to the horror of finding herself raped. 

In traumatic conditions and struggle between sanity and hallucinations, she is compelled by the circumstances to leave her world. Already fighting a war within, her stances takes a toll witnessing horrifying tales of women and girls. Little did she knew that this catastrophe was not enough for one lifetime, and a storm – was just cooling its heels. 

Will she be able to carve her path while facing the rapists, her tyrant father, appearances of her passed away mother? Should Palak let her life to be decided by people, society, and taboos? Would justice return her life or revenge lend her peace? 

A heart-rending story of a girl, whose beliefs and honor has been battered, stands up to make choices, rediscovering the meaning of life. 


Thanks to the author for the review copy 

The main character of the story is Palak, a college student. The story starts off with her bday,her gang of friends include Tanya, Ankita, Uday, Arav, and Jahan decide to bunk class to celebrate. An unfortunate encounter leads them to meet Rohin. Rohin introduces them to the world of drugs and Palak tries it for the first time.When Uday informs the gang that there is a rave party (a party where there is alcohol and drugs) happening, they decide to go and enjoy. Even though Palak isn’t quite sold out on the idea, she decides to go have fun for a night.The night changes her whole life, she gets raped and no memory of what happened to her.

Who raped Palak?
Why can’t she remember anything?
Will the rapist get their due?
Read to find out

I loved the cover art, it is beautiful. The language is simple and narration was medium paced. It talks about the impact rape causes in the life of a girl, how it just destroys her world. The rapist’s reasons irritated me, somehow everything is the girl’s fault. She decided to go out late at night, she wore less clothes, it was obvious that the girl was begging for it . They simply couldn’t resist 😐😐😐

Initially it was little slow, and I kind of suspected each and every guy she came across. I think it would have made more of an impact if I didn’t know what was going to happen. I also guessed who was responsible for the rape, though i  didn’t connect all the dots. I didn’t like the tagline of the book, I just feel that A rape story was uncalled for in the title,i felt it was insensitive

I loved the characters of Sethani and Meethi. Their backstories were horrifying and felt too real. The story does have its share of friendship, love,betrayal,loss and grief.Palak’s life before did make me nostalgic of my college days, though there were no parties and alcohol and drugs involved.