Book review 390 : Raybearer by Jordan Ifueko

Raybearer

Empires
Wish
Curse
Betrayal

Me, mine, she’s me & she’s mine.

When you meet this boy in the portrait, when you love him the most, & when he anoints you as his own… I commant you to kill him.

You caged me like a bird, but you couldn’t make me sing.

We shine as moonlight, we reflect the morning star.

For the kid scanning fairy tales
for a hero with a face like theirs.
And for the girls whose stories
we compressed into pities & wonders,
triumphs & cautions,
without asking,
even once,
for their names.

13 causes of mortal death.
Poison, contagion, gluttony, burning, drowning, suffocation, bleeding, beast mauling, disaster, organ death, witches’ hexes, battery, old age. Raybearers were blessed with 13 immunities after annointment. Only old age can kill them or one of the council members chose to turn traitor.

Fresh & utterly transportative, this book is a fantastical fight for freedom, family & justice at all costs. A phenomenal fantasy that begs readers to revel in its brilliant world. The prose is effortless & poetic from the very beginning. The storyline stuns the readers as it weaves a tale of loyalty, fate, destiny, family, grudge & revenge. Can’t believe it’s really a debut novel. The plot is full of lush world building & detailed, Nigerian-inspired mythology, giving life to a myth of epic proportions & a tale that is bound to stick with readers long after they finish it. It also asks provocative questions in a much satisfactory way about identity, choice, power & obligation, against a vivid, richly imagined backdrop of west African-inspired magic.

Book review 389 : Life Unshackled by Mallikarjun

Life Unshackled

How many times does it happen that we meet someone & they become the sole reason our life changes completely, for the better. The best part being if the change is reflected on the positive side, instead of harbouring the negative aspect. Similarly, a good story can also trace a change & sparkle an enticing beginning in our hearts.

Keeping this viewpoints in mind, the story follows the same trend when Rudra’s life changes drastically when he meets Krupa yet for the better part, as she’s a sex worker. Both have a similar lifestyle & fortitude towards the hardships they faced. Rudra has a rough life where he has to work hard. Similarly, things weren’t easy for Krupa either considering nothing had been offered to her on a silver platter. She had to work in order to achieve every little thing.

The book highlights how a person can change irrespective of what backgrounds he/she may come from. It doesn’t matter what prophecies are etched as harbingers of destruction set on course by fate – but, if one never lose hope – they’ll realise that things are going to get better eventually. Hence, this transition which has been brought upon by a smooth transformation becomes a key highlight/aspect of this novel.

Language is okay. Narration is okay. Writing style is normal. Plot has been dragged unnecessarily without any control where things could’ve been shorter if kept upon the desired requirement. However, they got stretched here without any control which makes it very irksome to read. An okay read.

Book review 388 : The billionaire and the monk by Vibhor Kumar

The billionaire and the monk

Whan an eye-opener, especially in the art of liberation of the soul!

Happiness can never be measured. It can only be retrospected from one pathway to another, from one scenary to another – as it shifts between people seeking a transition throughout their lives. Truth of the fact is when you pass away, people aren’t going to remember the immense wealth you possess or power your exercise. But the paradigm being, they’ll rather reminisce your kind yet humble nature, polite behaviour & cheerful attitude towards helping others.

Whatever we do in our lives, let it be earning money, or something like achieving multiple degrees – the fact remains the same – the ultimate goal to be happy no matter where life head towards. However, the main desire being – to gain self-catering respect from the people around us & society; self respect for oneself & live independently without being dependent upon anyone’s mercy.

However, hardly things go as we pertain them to be. There’re bound to be many obstacles in our path to success. All we need to do is to foster the desire & enriching zeal of never giving up. This self-help book focuses on building self confidence & gain control over major mortal sins of life which bounds us down to earth.

We might have come across these salient things already at some point or another in our lives. This novel just highlights the key things & gently reminds us of what we need to, which prominent virtues we need to hold onto to attain a complete blissful state.

The story is explained easily with the backdrops of just two characters, a businessman & the other being a monk. Each try to understand the meaning of happiness & purpose of life from their viewpoints respectively! Language is simple, easy to use & understand. Narration is good. Plot is well chafted & subtle. A good one-time read!

Book review 387 : God is great by Upendra Kumar

God is great

Everything in life carries a distinctive meaning in one form or another. The simple realisation of this fact is what makes life worth living for.
Some people have everything that life has to offer. Let it be money, wealth, prosperity or something like status. But, what they fail to lack is peace of mind, joy or happiness.
We often believe that those who live in huge bungalows, own cars & have copious amounts of money tend to be happy. However, on the contrary – the irony of life which most of us fail to realise is that those who live in small abodes tend to be more happier, resilient & content with whatever life has to offer.

Some people believe that science is everything, whereas those who tend to walk on the spiritual edge of life tend to differ on their opinions. They believe that spirituality is the essence of all existence. However, both are interconnected in one way or another. This is a very crucial truth & those who grasp the meaning of this achieve true enlightenment. The fact that science is an abridged version of spirituality is hard to accept for many. But vibrations, frequencies, energies, synergistic participle behaviour, faith, spirituality, humanity – these are all states of matters pertaining to different forms – some being materialistic whereas others are transcendental in nature.

Keeping this fact in mind, this short book draws a syllogism on love, faith, spirituality & science. It’s quite interesting the way it’s been penned down keep fiction & reality in check. Writing style is good accompanied by a nice narration. The simple flow of the content along with the little narrative facts keeps it engaging. A good one-time read!

Book review 386 : Quaker by Rohan Singhvi

Quaker

I like those works which take me back to my prime days. This book reminded me on my childhood when I used to take interest in dramas, scripts, plays, etc. I read them with utmost joy. It has been written & crafted in such a way that it presents the readers with a power-packed entertainment. One can infer this trend just by looking at the table of contents right from the beginning of the novel. There’re 10 characters in total comprising of the Quaker Family tree. Each with their own life convictions, mottos, agendas, goals & dreams. They come together to achieve a common goal: ‘Vengeance.’
Everything in this story is fiction, but the way it has been crafted – it feels like I’m watching a western Web series.

The story is set around a fictional southern European country, known as Warem, consisting of 5 major cities: Armac, Coruscant, Marluth, Ofram & Azweg. Each & every component has been expressed well. Even minor aspects like styles, fonts & writing conventions has been highlighted in a very crucial manner as to ensure that the readers get to understand every single thing without missing out any relevant facts. It has all been done keeping the readers in mind which is what really impressed me. The transitioning of scripts along with partition of different scenes has been segregated carefully. Just to make sure everything goes smoothly, the author has even produced an example just before the beginning of the story so as to ascertain the execution level of the writing style.

I won’t be delving into the story nor will I discuss it. I’ll just be highlighting the prominent things that could’ve made the novel more promising.
Writing style is good accompanied by a nice narration which further gets amplified with a good command over vocabulary. The effervescence lies in the characterisation of the novel. Pace is okay. Theme selected is good. There’re many human vices & mortal deadly sins which has been borrowed with a knack consisting of an elemental fabric component acting as a salubrious remedial cure to mankind. The readers will have to peal all the layers of the book to grasp them effectively. And that’s how the subtitle of the book ‘It all comes back in the End’ gets justified accordingly.
The only drawbacks being, it lacks the impact which may leave readers wanting for more. Furthermore, I felt it ended abruptly without drawing any good conclusion considering the fact it’s a small novel lacking descriptive approach. Thus, making the story quite predictable & presumptuous. Overall, a good one-time read!

Book review 385 : Decoding the god and the religion by Akhil

Decoding the god and the religion

‘Spirituality’ is something that’s often debated & commonly misunderstood. Many people confuse it with ‘Religion.’ It’s hard to tell apart, however, there are some pretty defined differences between the two.
Religion is a specific set of organised beliefs & practices, usually shared by a community or group.
Spirituality is more of an individual practice & has to do with having a sense of peace & purpose. It also relates to the process of developing beliefs around the meaning of life & connection with others.

Many people also see spirituality as a great way of seeking solace & peace in their life. It can often be practiced alongside things like yoga, which ultimately focus on stress relief & release of emotions. It is also used as a way of gaining perspective, recognising that our role in life has a greater value than just what we do every day. It can separate a person from dependence on material things & establish their own identity relying on a greater purpose.

Similarly, ‘Religion’ & ‘Mythology’ differ in scope but have few overlapping aspects. Generally, mythology is considered one component or aspect of religion. Religion expresses the broader version: besides mythological aspects, it includes aspects of ritual, morality, theology, & mystical experiences.

Mythology is the study & interpretation of often sacred tales or fables of a culture known as myths or the collection of such stories which deal with various aspects of the human condition: good & evil. The idea that the principal function of a myth is to provide a justification for a ritual was adopted without any great attempt to make a case for it.

Spirituality involves the recognition of a feeling or sense or belief that there is something greater than myself, something more to being human than sensory experience, & that the greater whole of which we are part is cosmic or divine in nature. An opening of the heart is an essential aspect of true spirituality.

The book signifies the representation of mythology with various other components of life like religion, ideologies, holy books, spirits, rituals, customs, festivals & means of worship. It even engulfs with certain elements of science which I felt was quite familiar with my thinking process.
Cover has been designed beautifully crafted with cosmos. Title is apt & significantly matches with the contrasting content. It’s a very short read & can be finished very quickly.
Language is simple. Narration is normal. Writing style is also okay.

Book review 384 : Excess Baggage by Richa Mukherjee

Excess Baggage

The bond that a mother and daughter share is a powerful one and women’s relationships with their mothers may just be the most important one in their lives. A mother is someone who is a role model for her daughter and is the one who teaches her how to live her life by setting an example for her by the life that she lives. At the same time, a daughter is a mother’s friend and companion – someone she can count on through good times & bad as her gender partner, & the one who can truly understand her & be there for her emotionally in a way that no man ever can. Not just that, even science has shown that the bond between mothers & daughters is the strongest types of parent-child bonds. While all parent-child bonds are built on love, the bond between mother & daughter is also built on a foundation of empathy as they can empathise more deeply with the other, making it easier for them to understand each other.

Having said that, this book is relentlessly brutal as it extrapolates this crucial aspect of the mother-daughter relationship. The story is about a 30 year old Sindhi woman Anviksha who’s bold, sapio, smart, successful & everything else one seeks from life. She has everything except love. Her marriage life is broken. She has been divorced twice. She’s a badass person as she isn’t scared to speak her heart out about anything. Be it her life, her journey or her closest confidante ‘her mother’, even though her relationship with her mother Smita Punjabi is strained & far from a blissful one. By allowing us to partake the context & cater a humorous narration which is witty, funny yet honest, the author has weaved the most generous reality in terms of our everyday common lives. I liked how the book has been presented to the readers & it also started on a good note. However, the part where I lost interest was the reference to the movie from Zoya Akhtar Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, the so-called ZNMD as I’m personally not a fan of either of them. What follows suit is a classic diabolical parody written in a very typical dramatic way infused with bollywood culture. It also gets effusive with a good effervescence of Indian mindset.

Writing style is good accompanied by a nice narration. The sense of humour infused into the storytelling & storyline is worth living for. It conveys whatever necessary information that needs to be imparted accordingly. Climax is justified. Pace is good. A good one-time read. It would’ve been amazing for me, had it not taken inspiration or references from the movie I mentioned above. Nonetheless, worth recommending to all!

Book review 383 : The Kitty Party Murder by Kiran Manral

The Kitty Party Murder

The book started on a good note with a good effervescence & command over vocabulary. The beginning of it was accompanied by a never-ending perpetual & satirical sense of humour full of mockery as it gets infused throughout the novel. It embodies every bit of gossip which ladies perceive as ‘fun’ dialect of life as the narrator take forward that aspect diligently. From the blurb & description, I inferred it’s a crime thriller novel based on a murder mystery where the criminal conspiracy will be solved & justice to the culprits will be served accordingly. Everything went well until I realised that the novel has little of everything else needed except the most crucial part – ‘thriller or mystery’ in itself which is really pathetic. And I feel that’s a total letdown for me since I love mystery books. Yes, the truth indicates the fact that it’s really going to be dissapointing which really hurt me in the end as I had high expectations from this novel considering the cover has been designed beautifully & theme crafted exquisitely!

Writing style could’ve been better along with the narrative instead of the drama added occasionally in copious amounts. Climax was self evident without much of a hassle/effort/trouble as it can be deduced pretty easily. I would’ve found it cute if it was a romance novel but for this genre, it’s pretty much of a mismatch. Overall, the book was pretty monotonous by far stretch & dragged unnecessarily without any control. Not worth recommending.

Book review 382 : Food & Faith by Shoba Narayan

Food & Faith

We’re all aware of the fact that food is the very essence of our existence. It not only satiates the hunger of our body but also satisfies the very essence of our soul. There’re various kinds of delectable delicacies available throughout the world which are prevalent across all forms of religious sects. To begin with, food is universal & doesn’t belong to any particular religion nor does it has any restrictions of any kind. It is shared commonly across all realms making it accessible to all. That’s what this book is all about.
Furthermore, the book moves on to question our beliefs about how do we perceive the perennial attenuation of religion which has been passed on to different generations as a hierarchical concept from time immemorial. Furthermore, it also concerns the unilateral thinking process of reaching out to various religious mindsets without harming anyone’s sentimental attachments in any particular manner. It anchors to religion whilst at the same time shares a common goal, to reach out to readers who love various kinds of tasty food dishes available throughout the human realm across all religions.

What really captivated me is the fact that it imposes a unique wide range of questions which are presented to us in a very realistic yet ascertained in a much thought-provoking way. As we progress further, I realised these questions made me think quite a lot & I took an instant liking towards the book. And as it turns out, I feel that’s the most salient aspect regarding a novel – the fact that it can touch the very essence of our being. And that according to me is all which really matters!

What is the role of religion in your life today? Do you pray? How do you pray? Do you commune with the divine via rituals? Is it through chanting verses in Aramaic, Arabic or Sanskrit? Or is it a comforting routine – going to the mosque, church or temple once a week or month? Is religion part of your identity? Or is something that you seek to distance yourself from? Is it an occasional activity that you do out of habit or because your parents ask you to? Or is it simply a connection with your heritage, home & ancestors? Do you think religion is a private act or can it be part of the public discourse? Are these questions making you uncomfortable?

Aren’t these questions amazing!
This is the very fundamental core of the religion called Hinduism which isn’t even a religion to begin with as many people claim it go be, but rather it’s rightly defined as a way of life. It’s mystical & magical in it’s every way. Language is beautiful. Writing style is good accompanied by a nice narration. Flow is smooth. Loved reading it. A must read, worth recommending to all!

Book review 381 : Desserts for every mood by Shivesh Bhatia

Desserts for every mood

The cover has been designed so intricately that it looks gorgeous. Everytime I look at all those delectable delicious pastries whipped with cream, it swells my heart with joy.

It is indeed true that food makes all human beings happy, especially the delicious mouth-watering ones which satiates our taste buds to the core. Infact, every living being on this planet crave for good food let it be raw edible fruits or cooked with care & utmost precision. Infact, the rare & amazing delectable delicacies which are less accessible to us fills us with an indescribable hunger/lust/desire just enough to gobble/savour them. And one among such rare delicacies are ‘desserts’ which are final sweet courses taken at the end of a meal to make our appetite complete. It helps regulate our body by increasing the hormones which induces happiness.

This book has 100 crisp recipes of desserts for every mood to make us feel good. It begins with a conversion table of the quantities of ingredients to be used in the preparation of any item. Each recipe is accompanied by a high quality picture alongside it which looks really captivating, followed by the ingredients & the method of preparation. Hence, the book has been divided into various categories based on the different desserts available to us. The sweets being as follows:
1. Cakes.
2. Cookies.
3. Cupcakes & Muffins.
4. Frosting & Fillings.
5. Tarts & Pies.
6. More Sweet Treats.

I thoroughly enjoyed going through this book while at the same time, learning a lot through this short journey. Worth recommending to those who loves to try out different delectable food items. An excellent read!