Category: Book Reviews (by Genre)

Book Review: The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury

Author: Ray Bradbury
Release Date: 1949
Genre: Classic, Science-Fiction, Short Story Collection
Series:
Edition: E-book
Pages: 303
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Blurb:
The strange and wonderful tale of man’s experiences on Mars, filled with intense images and astonishing visions. Now part of the Voyager Classics collection.

The Martian Chronicles tells the story of humanity’s repeated attempts to colonize the red planet. The first men were few. Most succumbed to a disease they called the Great Loneliness when they saw their home planet dwindle to the size of a fist. They felt they had never been born. Those few that survived found no welcome on Mars. The shape-changing Martians thought they were native lunatics and duly locked them up.

But more rockets arrived from Earth, and more, piercing the hallucinations projected by the Martians. People brought their old prejudices with them – and their desires and fantasies, tainted dreams. These were soon inhabited by the strange native beings, with their caged flowers and birds of flame.

REVIEW

★★★★

This is my first book by author Ray Bradbury and needless to say it was a compelling read.
I felt the same sense of a constant hovering of foreboding while reading this book as I felt while reading Gods Themselves by Isaac Asimov. Though the writing styles are very different I think the tones of their works are similar to each other.

Even though this book was written ages ago, the arrogance of humans, sadly, still feels precisely fitting. The need to constantly want more, the urge to explore while being completely oblivious and ignorant to how it affects others and the need to be celebrated for doing something that is important to them and them alone is reflected very aptly in this book. The lingering feel of melancholy is something that greatly appealed to my taste.

I’d recommend this book to everyone as this has a lot more to offer than classy sci-fi entertainment. Though, let me give you a heads-up – if you are not into the classic writing styles, you might have to remind yourself constantly throughout reading this book to be patient as, in the end, I assure you that this book is totally worth it.

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So this is how I'm spending my time till we finalise about my spine surgery as till then (and for sometime after that also) I can't do anything that puts pressure on my lumbar spine or lower back like working out, yoga, stretches or even walking. Even sitting in car for longer than half an hour is hurting my spine badly, so my doctor has asked me to take rest. Vishal has warned me that if I do anything even mildly strenuous he'll be the death of me, so I have finally given up fighting against it and stopped feeling guilty about having to stop my training after only a month. Now I have embraced the fact that I need to chill out for this month so obviously the only thing on my list right now is – reading! So catching up with the books I had palnned on reading earlier and it feels like living in a dream… so bring on more coffee as I have loads to read 🥰 #authorlife #writerlife #amreading #catmom

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You can also read this review on Goodreads

ARC Review: Peerless Minds: An Arc of Achievement by Pritish Nandy And Tapan Chaki

Author: Pritish Nandy Tapan Chaki
Release Date: 21 January 2021
Genre: Non-Fiction, Motivational, Self-Help
Series: 
Edition: Hardback
Pages: 500
Publisher: Harper India
Blurb:
‘Peerless Minds brings together the finest minds that sustain India as a riveting and relentless idea. The exceptional life stories featured in this book reaffirm the truth that the luckiest of nations are the ones that continue to be rebuilt and reimagined by peerless minds.’ S. PRASANNARAJAN, Editor, Open magazine Three Nobel Prize winners. Two Bharat Ratnas. Three Knights of the British Empire. A Pulitzer Prize winner. A two-time Best of the Bookers winner. An Abel Prize winner. A Pritzker Prize winner. A Fields Medallist. Two Fukuoka Prize winners. A Turner Prize winner. Two Praemium Imperiale recipients. A double Academy Award winner. Many Padma Vibhushans and Padma Bhushans. But that is not why these people are really here. They are here because they, as Indians and people of Indian origin, have had extraordinary achievements and have inspired, each in their own way, a generation of Indians. Here you will find, among others, economist Amartya Sen; authors V.S. Naipaul, Salman Rushdie; mythologist Devdutt Pattanaik; philanthropist Azim Premji; mathematician Manjul Bhargava; from the world of music, Annapurna Devi, Lata Mangeshkar and Zubin Mehta; industrialist Ratan Tata; sculptor Anish Kapoor; architect Balkrishna Doshi; spymaster A.S. Dulat; historian Irfan Habib; Michelin-starred chef Vikas Khanna; poet Javed Akhtar; and stand-up comic Hasan Minhaj. In conversation with them are authors and journalists such as James Astill, Prannoy Roy, Vir Sanghvi, Aatish Taseer, Shereen Bhan, Karan Mahajan, Rajdeep Sardesai, Khalid Mohamed, Priya Khanchandani, Indu Bhan and Anil Dharker. A fascinating collection of long-form interviews with some of the greatest minds and biggest achievers of our time, Peerless Minds is a book to be cherished and preserved.

REVIEW

★★★★

Peerless Minds by Pritish Nandy is a motivational non-fiction book that is a brilliant and inspiring book especially when one needs a little ‘pick-me-up.’ This book is full of interviews with various brightest minds of India and is full of their individual journeys, struggles, dilemmas, etc throughout their lives and careers.

A must-read for everyone.

You can also read this review on Goodreads

Book Review: The Fog Ladies by Susan McCormick

Author: Susan McCormick
Release Date: 9th June 2019
Genre: Cosy Mystery
SeriesA San Francisco Cozy Murder Mystery (Book #1)
Edition: E-bok
Pages: 332
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Blurb:
Young, overworked, overtired, overstressed medical intern Sarah James has no time for sleuthing. Her elderly neighbors, the spunky Fog Ladies, have nothing but time. When, one by one, old ladies die in their elegant apartment building in San Francisco, Sarah assumes it is the natural consequence of growing old. The Fog Ladies assume murder.

Mrs. Bridge falls off a stool cleaning bugs out of her kitchen light. Mrs. Talwin hits her head in the bathtub and drowns. Suddenly, the Pacific Heights building is turning over tenants faster than the fog rolls in on a cool San Francisco evening.

Sarah resists the Fog Ladies’ perseverations. But when one of them falls down the stairs and tells Sarah she was pushed, even Sarah believes evil lurks in their building. Can they find the killer before they fall victim themselves?

REVIEW

★★★★

The Fog Ladies by Susan McCormick is a delightful cosy mystery that turned out to be a really pleasant read. This is my first book by the author, so obviously I had no idea what to expect from the book, though the blurb totally compelled me to pick this one up. So I dove in this book unknowing and, to be honest, it felt good for a change. Thankfully, the story turned out to be an absolute delight and I enjoyed it every bit.

The delightful bickering of the old ladies, the delicious references to some favourite foods and an unsuspecting and likeable protagonist made for a really enjoyable read. The plot was engaging and managed to hook me from the beginning till the end. And the end, well, it was perfect in its own right, albeit a bit predictable.

Overall I joyed this book more than I was expecting and would highly recommend it to cosy mystery readers.

You can also read this review on Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: Fix Her Up by Tessa Bailey

Author: Tessa Bailey
Release Date: 11th June 2019
Genre: Contemporary Romance Fiction
SeriesHot & Hammered (Book #1)
Edition: Paperback
Pages: 400
Publisher: Harper Collins India
Blurb:
A brand new romantic comedy from New York Times bestseller Tessa Bailey!
Georgette Castle’s family runs the best home renovation business in town, but she picked balloons instead of blueprints and they haven’t taken her seriously since. Frankly, she’s over it. Georgie loves planning children’s birthday parties and making people laugh, just not at her own expense. She’s determined to fix herself up into a Woman of the World… whatever that means.
Phase one: new framework for her business (a website from this decade, perhaps?)
Phase two: a gut-reno on her wardrobe (fyi, leggings are pants.)
Phase three: updates to her exterior (do people still wax?)
Phase four: put herself on the market (and stop crushing on Travis Ford!)
Living her best life means facing the truth: Georgie hasn’t been on a date since, well, ever. Nobody’s asking the town clown out for a night of hot sex, that’s for sure. Maybe if people think she’s having a steamy love affair, they’ll acknowledge she’s not just the “little sister” who paints faces for a living. And who better to help demolish that image than the resident sports star and tabloid favorite?
Travis Ford was major league baseball’s hottest rookie when an injury ended his career. Now he’s flipping houses to keep busy and trying to forget his glory days. But he can’t even cross the street without someone recapping his greatest hits. Or making a joke about his… bat. And then there’s Georgie, his best friend’s sister, who is not a kid anymore. When she proposes a wild scheme—that they pretend to date, to shock her family and help him land a new job—he agrees. What’s the harm? It’s not like it’s real. But the girl Travis used to tease is now a funny, full-of-life woman and there’s nothing fake about how much he wants her…

REVIEW

★★★+1/2

Fix Her Up by Tessa Bailey is a quirky and fun read that was a rather quick read and also pretty enjoyable. Even though the story was full of over-used romance tropes and cliche moments, the characterisation felt vibrant and fresh which totally made up for both these flaws.

The writing was good and it was one of the things I liked the most about the book. The pacing was great as the things moved quickly and made this book a quick 1-2 day read which seems reasonable to me.

I’d recommend this book to all the romance genre lovers and to those who are looking for a light, fun read to take a break from their normal reading lists.

This review is also available on Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: Those Days In Delhi by Yashodhara Lal

Author: Yashodhara Lal
Release Date: 10th August 2019
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Series:
Edition: Paperback
Pages: 304
Publisher: Harper Collins India
Blurb:
Delhi in the Nineties. And this time, it’s going to be Gudia’s summer. So what if she’s the quintessential awkward middle child? So what if it seems like everything – from the hair sprouting on her legs to teachers making her life miserable – is conspiring against her? She’s taking matters into her own hands, and there’s no way that she’s going to fail. After all, there are three things Gudia is obsessed with – Basketball, the Boy with the American accent…and Winning. But in her desire to win this campaign of middle-school one-upmanship and conceal her plummeting grades, Gudia might just lose all that’s important to her – including herself. Best-selling author Yashodhara Lal is back with this funny, bittersweet and entirely relatable story about growing up; of that summer of innocence, when the world was simpler, and even our problems seemed sweeter.

REVIEW

★★★★

To sum it up in a single sentence, Those Days In Delhi by Yashodhara Lal is a feel-good contemporary read with an interesting story and an equally interesting cast of characters. It was a pretty quick read, mostly because of the well-written prose and also due to the fact that the book was so darn engaging. A really good book that shouldn’t be missed by anyone, especially those who belong to the legendary era of the ’80s and ’90s.

You can also read this review on Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: Sidney Sheldon’s The Phoenix by Tilly Bragshawe

Author: Tilly Bagshawe
Release Date: 13th June 2019
Genre: Thriller, Suspense, Speculative Fiction, Mystery
Series:
Edition: Paperback
Pages: 432
Publisher: Harper Collins India
Blurb:
Thrilling and nail-biting, The Phoenix has all the trademark glamour, suspense and unexpected twists of a classic Sidney Sheldon novel.
A deadly enemy will rise again….
Ella Praeger has always felt like an outsider. So when she is called to join the ranks of The Group, a force for good operating in the shadows, her world shifts. She is gifted a purpose – and a dangerous legacy.
Years ago, The Group rid the world of one of its most powerful criminal masterminds. Yet when a child washes up on a beach in Greece, a mysterious symbol tattooed on its heel, it is a clear warning: impossibly, Athena Petridis has returned to reclaim her empire.
Ella’s connection to Athena is deeply personal. Thrown into an underworld of treachery and corruption, and haunted by the tragedies of her own past, Ella is reborn as an agent, chasing a villain risen from the ashes. But only one of them can fulfil their destiny….

REVIEW

★★

Sidney Sheldon’s The Phoenix by Tilly Bragshawe is the latest int he long line of books that have been written by Bragshwae in the vein of Sidney Sheldon’s novels. I’ve always enjoyed reading these novels as Sidney Sheldon is one of my all-time favourite authors but this time sadly it wasn’t the case.

I tried to really enjoy this book but a lot of elements prevented me from doing so – under-developed characterisation, weak plot-line, bad pacing, the overall predictability of the plot and the bad ending. There was too much going on and the protagonist felt too weak to be able to drive the plot by herself.

Overall, this book was a miss for me and therefore I won’t be able to recommend it to anyone. Hopefully, the author’s next book would be better than this one.

You can also read this review on Goodreads

Audiobook Review: Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott

Author: Anne Lamott
Narrator(s): Susan Bennett
Date Of Publication: 12th June 2013
Genre: Non-Fiction, Writing Guide, Reference
Series:
Duration: 7 hours (unabridged)
Publisher: Audioble Audio
Blurb:
Thirty years ago my older brother, who was ten years old at the time, was trying to get a report on birds written that he’d had three months to write. It was due the next day. We were out at our family cabin in Bolinas, and he was at the kitchen table close to tears, surrounded by binder paper and pencils and unopened books on birds, immobilized by the hugeness of the task ahead. Then my father sat down beside him, put his arm around my brother’s shoulder, and said, “Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.”

REVIEW

★★

So now I’ve read this book twice and after the second read, I’ve dropped another star from my rating. I feel that this book is a bit depressing with the author repeatedly highlighting the downside of writing and publishing. I, as a writer, do understand what she means to convey and get it that writing should not be over-glorified especially to the new writers, but at the same time I also feel that that you simply cannot portray only the negative side of the coin to someone who is new and eager as it would end up only demoralising the reader.

I am fully aware that the entire world, for whatever reasons, absolutely adores this book, but if I am being honest, this book made me feel depressed about writing, just the way it did when I first read it. It made me feel hopeless and gave me the feels of being stuck in an endless pit because according to Anne Lamott that’s what writing is. And publishing? Well, I would beg to differ to the opinions of the author and say to the new writers that getting your work published is a great joy and one should enjoy it as much as they possibly can! Maybe for someone who was born in a household of an established writer and who had an agent even before she wrote anything worth reading writing might feel like a mundane thing and getting it published may feel like a task, but for those writers, including me, who learn the craft on their own and bust their asses trying to write something worthwhile, it means a whole lot more than anyone can ever understand.

To be honest, I find it funny how people read this book and even feel ‘motivated’ or ‘inspired’ to write at all! It made me, an already established full-time writer, feel frustrated. No inspiration for me there.

I would definitely not be recommending this book to anyone, least of all to the young and new writers who are just beginning their writing journey. I consider myself lucky that I did not read this book when I was starting my own writing adventure because I am pretty sure this book would have put a damper on it for the worse.

For those who are genuinely interested in reading something that would actually help them in their writing go for:

On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King

Self-Editing for Fiction Writers: How to Edit Yourself Into Print by Rennie Browne & Dave King

Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer WithinWriting Down The Bones by Natalie Goldberg

The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person’s Guide to Writing in the 21st Century by Steven Pinker

These books will teach you and motivate you far more than this book ever can. They will not only make you understand the writing process better but also teach you the right ways in which you can write better without outright feeling shitty about your work so far. These books are the best writing books out there and have greatly helped me in my writing journey, so I speak from experience.

You can also read this review on Goodreads 

Book Review: Magicmals – The Troublemakers by April Enciso

Author: April Enciso
Release Date: 18th June 2019
Genre: Middle-Grade Fiction, Children’s Fiction, Adventure, Fantasy
SeriesMagicmals
Edition: E-book
Pages: 68
Publisher: 
Blurb:
After all the excitement of talking Magicmals, disappearing buildings, and space travel last year, ten-year-old Eva, her younger brother Diego, and her best friend Jenny are all looking forward to a nice quiet time in school. But algebra and art class are soon forgotten when they get an urgent message from wizard cat Willie Whiskas. Two of the Magicmals, Pookie and Gray Baby, have gone rogue, vanishing into outer space where they are wreaking havoc on a new planet! In Book Two of a series that’s hilarious fun for the whole family (pets, too!), Eva and the Magicmals gang go head to head with twice as many obstacles, have twice as many adventures, and get two very naughty cats out of trouble.

REVIEW

★★★★

Magicmals: Troublemakers by April Enciso is the sequel to Magicmals: The Beginning in the Magicmals series. This book was every bit as good as its prequel, even more so in my opinion, and I enjoyed reading every single bit of it!

The story picks up a year later when the happenings and adventures of the last book are all part of the new routine for Eva and gang. But right when they think that things are smooth and studies are the only troubles they have then end up in the middle of another bigger and riskier adventure!

I enjoyed the plot a lot and felt that the writing showed some improvement, though I’d say that it needs some more work. Even some tight editing would do wonders for the book, but again, the plot and characters steal the show and make up for these and any other flaw the book might have. I guess I love the main character of Eva so much, who reminds me constantly of my own cat, that I was okay with the minor technicalities. Though if these faults are to be rectified in a proper way then this series has a lot of potential in the children’s fiction-fantasy market.

If you are a cat person then you MUST read this book and this series!

You can also read this review on Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: Magicmals – The Beginning by April Enciso

Author: April Enciso
Release Date: 20th January 2019
Genre: Middle-Grade Fiction, Children’s Fiction, Adventure, Fantasy
SeriesMagicmals
Edition: E-book
Pages: 69
Publisher: 
Blurb:
When Eva and her brother Diego move to a new city, she expects the worst attending a new school. As she struggles to fit in at her new school, strange things begin to happen to animals in her neighborhood. She discovers a race of animals called Magicmals that possess powerful magical powers. When buildings start mysteriously disappearing in her town, they all go a hair-raising adventure to return their city to normal.

REVIEW

★★★★

Magicmals: The Beginning by April Enciso is an adventurous and very entertaining new children’s book that you simply cannot miss.

I am a cat person through and through. And coincidentally my very first furball’s name is Eva too! So I had to read this book and there was no way that I wouldn’t have liked it. But keeping my personal bias aside, this book has so much to offer its readers that it would make for a perfect read for kids. It is full of adventures, perils, drama, magic as well as beautifully portrayed friendships.

I personally feel that nowadays there should be more books like this in order to make children understand that even animals have feelings. This book would help make children not only considerate towards animals but will also teach them to empathise with animals.

Technically, I feel that the writing could have been a bit more polished but this is my first book by the author and hopefully, we’ll see improvement in the next instalment of this series. But to be honest the plot more than made up for it, therefore I loved every bit of this book and would recommend it to all middle-graders and also adults who love animals, especially cats.

You can also read this review on Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: Nameless Book: Everyone Has A Story by Deepthi Ayyagari

Author: Deepthi Ayyagari
Release Date: 30th October 2018
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Short Story Collection
Series:
Edition: E-book
Pages: 76
Publisher: WordBuzz Publishing
Blurb:
Everyone has a story. These are stories about people like you and me, about relationships, love and life. Stories that will make you laugh, cry, and feel deeply about. Some of them, you will not forget for a long time to come…

REVIEW

★★★★

Nameless Book by Deepthi Ayyagari is a collection of short stories that explore the broad themes of emotions and life intermingled with witty narration making it a breezy read. It was a very quick and refreshing read as the author did not burden the reader with the needless sentimental baggage of characters keeping her narrative as well as characterisation light yet eventful.

Ass the stories are full of life and essence and I enjoyed them all very much. I was able to read this book in less than an hour and would highly recommend it to those readers who are looking for a quick fix that they can read in their work-break or commute. Honestly, any person who enjoys reading will have a great time reading this book so I recommend it to everyone.

You can also read this review on Goodreads and Amazon