Cover Reveal — Paradise Towers by Shweta Bachchan-Nanda

Shweta Bachchan-Nanda’s debut novel is all set to leap onto bookshelves come 2nd week of October 2018. The book already has a very mesmerizing trailer that you can watch on HarperCollins India’s Instagram page. Here’s what the cover looks like:

About Paradise Towers:
Dinesh opens the door to the Kapoor flat to find Lata, the enchantress who works at Mrs Aly Khan’s, carrying a hot case with freshly made gaajar ka halwa. On the first floor, the inquisitive Mrs Mody wipes the dust off her precious binoculars to spy on the building’s security guard. The Singhs open the doors of their SUV, their four boys creating a ruckus – they are the newcomers, the outsiders. Through the peephole, the ever-watchful Mrs Ranganekar observes their arrival. Welcome to Paradise Towers, an apartment building in central Mumbai. Everyone here has a story to tell. Or maybe they have stories to hide.
Shweta Bachchan-Nanda’s quirky, intimate debut explores the intertwined lives in this building – a
forbidden romance, an elopement, the undercurrents of tension in corridor interactions and an explosive
Diwali celebration. Shweta Bachchan-Nanda’s is a dazzling voice that will draw you into the intoxicating,
crazy world that is Paradise Towers.

Now you know what to pick up in October for a fun read. I can’t wait to snuggle up with this book and hopefully, I’ll have a review post live soon.


Book Review — Goodbye Freddie Mercury by Nadia Akbar

Image Courtesy – Goodreads

Nadia Akbar’s debut novel, set in Pakistan, narrates the stories of the youth, as they grow up in a society ripe with corruption, volatile politics and gender bias. Nida and Bugsy are two such teenagers whose lives get entangled when they meet at a party. After her brother’s death, Nida has grown estranged from her family and chooses to spend her days smoking one joint after another. Bugsy is an RJ trying to harmonize rock music into the music scene in Lahore, a place that is still clinging to the tunes from years gone by.

Other than its hypnotic cover, the title and the premise of Goodbye Freddie Mercury were what drew me to the book. As I kept reading, I began to realize that there wasn’t a specific plot governing the storytelling. There was no discernible start, mid and end to the narrative; no conflict or climax driving the novel forward. Instead, it flowed with the ease of a story gradually unraveling at the touch of a reader. The author’s writing style is very poised and at the same time, makes frequent use of Hindi and Punjabi slang; thus catering to the readers of our subcontinent. It is also observant in its descriptions and fills in necessary details of the surroundings during a scene.

On the surface, this is a typical youth drama fiction. There’s a whole lot of drug and alcohol use, sexual content, petty rivalry, stereotypical characters. The extent to which the characters in this book are shown to be inebriated is quite alarming, considering the fact that they are barely young adults. Nida is your quintessential new girl, who quickly gets assimilated into this group of friends when she starts dating Omer, the supposed leader of the pack. The impression I got from her character depiction is that she is often not mindful of her actions, she doesn’t really stop to think what’s good for her and make choices based on sound judgement. Omer is a rather distasteful spoilt character, objectifying others and paying no heed to consequences. I had placed all of my faith on Bugsy to be somewhat more mature than the others. He is a lot more approachable and considerate.

All throughout, I was wondering how the title connects to the novel. Towards the end, you begin to understand the deeper meaning and I was super impressed. I wished there weren’t as many stereotypes in the book. On the whole, I enjoyed reading this book and would recommend it to everyone solely on the basis of how different the style is. It is more realistic and raw than you’d expect it to be.

Ratings – 3.5 out of 5 stars

What do you get out of it? A novel about teenagers from the upper echelons of Lahori society, where insobriety and abuse of power are the norm of the day.

Thank you Penguin India for sending me a copy of this book in exchange of an honest review. 

Cover Reveal & Spotlight – Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

Every time I look at the cover of Tomi Adeyemi’s upcoming debut novel, I can’t help but squeal in joy! Some books, no matter the fact that you haven’t read them, have this innate tendency to capture your heart and mind so strongly that you can’t be at rest without having read them. Children of Blood and Bone is one such book. 6th March is not too far, but I have been itching to read this book since months of having heard about it.

LOOK AT THAT COVER! If that doesn’t shout fierce, glorious and absolutely compelling, I don’t know what does.

Five things you need to know about this book:

  1. A society that has Burners, Tiders and Reapers. (You may wonder what exactly those are. But let your imagination run wild!)
  2. The protagonist, Zélie’s mother is killed by the king.
  3. A rogue princess aids Zélie in restoring magic to their homeland.
  4. The novel draws its inspiration from West Africa.
  5. Possible fraternizing with the enemy.

Honestly, I didn’t even need to know all of that to realize that I HAD to read the book. The cover and the words “West African inspired fantasy” were enough to seal the deal, for me. But if the synopsis itself evokes such strong feelings from us readers, then I can’t imagine what the entirety of the book will do to us…

Are you going to be reading this book? What do you look forward to? Let me know 🙂

Book Review — Selfienomics by Revant

Thank you Bloomsbury India for sending me a copy of this book for review 🙂

Image courtesy – Goodreads

Revant’s debut novel, Selfienomics, is a guide that attempts to enhance our quality of life by broadening our mental horizons. Through the span of these eleven chapters, he pays close attention to the various facets of our lives, drawing our attention towards how we could be living a more positive and healthy life. Interspersed with quotes and pop-culture references that back the various points made, Selfienomics induces a retrospective sphere wherein one is compelled to look at their perspective on matters of importance. It presents us with the information needed to make our own well-informed opinions.

Since I don’t read a lot of non-fiction, I wasn’t sure to what extent I’d enjoy this one. Any initial hesitation on my part, was wiped clean soon after. Revant’s witticism and flair for writing shines through from the beginning. He makes use of colloquial language, generously adding tons of hashtags and Hindi words. Fear not, for those who aren’t familiar with these non-English words and references, there’s a glossary of sorts at the back. What I found to be unique and surprisingly, very likable is the fact that he uses several business theories & principles to explain human sensibilities. And they made total sense!

Humor is definitely one of the author’s major strengths. Almost every five minutes, I was laughing out loud. While a majority of the instances delineated in the book were relatable, there were some that weren’t. At one point, I thought the finance aspect got a little too much, but then out of nowhere he’d drop a little joke and I’d be clutching my stomach with tears of laughter. I love how this book employs a great deal of positive psychology elements such as good life, health, ambition etc. Moreover, its informative, so you glean a lot from it. There’s a Dialogues and Discussion section at the end of a topic, which helps you get a better understanding of what has been spoken about and what your values are.

Revant makes a lot of realistic points, encouraging the readers to rethink their POV. He prods you to question everything you’ve learnt – be it about God, nutrition, time, jobs, society and much more. Like Derrida’s theory of Deconstruction, he systematically breaks down our thought process, highlighting how we get accustomed to think the way we do. Even though there are some things I don’t agree with, I believe that was the point of the book – to bring you clarity about where you stand. Overall, I absolutely loved this book. I’d read it again and again from time to time. I’ve probably said this multiple times before, but this book is HILARIOUS and yet it doesn’t take away from the seriousness of certain issues! It is a must read for everyone, no matter your tastes in books. I urge you to pick it up right away.

Ratings – 5 stars on 5


Book Review — Equilibrium by Paras Joshi

Image courtesy of Goodreads

Equilibrium tells the story of 17 year old Arya, who is forced to fend for himself in a world that has turned a blind eye to the less fortunate. Living in the Northern Grid of Carbyn, Arya becomes a part of the corrupt and criminal society. When a robbery spirals out of control and his team members are arrested, Arya gets thrown into a world he didn’t know existed. Complete with elementalists, heroic responsibilities and a battle of good vs evil; Arya finds himself in the company of those who call themselves the Saatvika (essentially, the peace makers). It is upto him to deliver the Ring of Avaasya, that he stole unknowingly, to the Saatvikaalok , lest the balance between two polarized forces would be disrupted and wreck havoc on the human world.

This story had so much potential, particularly because it played with the theme of elemental magic. But somehow, it fell flat for me. Firstly, the characterization wasn’t very convincing or strong. The Elders who possessed so much power appeared to be very passive and mellow. They didn’t exude the kind of authority or power that one would expect. Similar was the case of the King Alexis. He appeared to be submissive and cowardly. Given the circumstances, maybe it’s a little justifiable. However, we don’t even get an inkling that he wanted to stay and fight. Secondly, there are entire chapters that seemed a little purposeless, as in they don’t contribute much to the story except for the fact that we are well assured that Arya is an inquisitive boy. The chapters don’t end with a cliffhanger, so the pace was more constant than not. I wouldn’t say that I hated the book, but I didn’t enjoy myself as much as I would have liked to. The author writes good action sequences. I enjoyed two such sections – one with the execution of the robbery and the other being Ayrof’s fight sequence. They were adequately thrilling and packed with a punch (no pun intended).

What I liked about Arya’s back story is that even though being a protagonist, he is negatively portrayed, we are made to understand what drove him to the extreme. His relations weren’t supportive or affectionate. I didn’t understand the purpose of introducing a new character, i.e Althoran, towards the end. Anyhow, the ending was very good, especially the last page. The author made sure that even those whose interest has been only minutely piqued would await the next book. I don’t know if I would want to read the next one. But the story is promising. And this being the author’s debut book, there’s only more progress that could be reflected in next one.

Ratings – 2 stars on 5.


Book Review — Because You’ll Never Meet Me by Leah Thomas

Thank you Bloomsbury India for sending a copy of this book for review. 

In this epistolary novel, Leah Thomas pens down a friendship so rare; a sense of optimism seldom seen through the characters of Oliver Paulot and Moritz Faber. Each a vital component of this touching narrative, teach us that sometimes youngsters can be a lot more mature than they are given credit for. Oliver is allergic to electricity and has epilepsy. He lives far from civilization, cocooned in a no-electricity zone with his mother. On the other hand, Moritz was born without eyes and uses a pacemaker to stabilize his heart. Through letters, they become the best of friends; becoming a sort of life jacket for each other. Except for one misfortune – neither can meet face to face for that would mean the end of one. Oliver and Moritz have always yearned for a shot at normalcy and to discover their apparently common history. With the help of loved ones, they strive to get there. But sometimes life gets too overwhelming when bullies, loneliness, love and suppression get the best of the two boys. Because You’ll Never Meet Me is not just the sun shining through the storm, it is a flag of strength and endurance.

Its been long since I enjoyed every page of a book from to start to finish. This novel is so captivating with its innocence and beautiful writing that it will for long be a standard of YA epistolary fiction for me. Oliver for most of the book is a very cheerful, buoyant character who urges Moritz to be strong and dauntless. Moritz initially is a very rigid, serious person who doesn’t appreciate Oliver’s forward nature. But slowly as they share their woes with each other and learn to be a “kickstand”, both of them grow to become more satisfied and happy. Dual narration is not an easy writing technique and Leah Thomas has done a commendable job of bringing out the perspectives of two very different individuals in her novel. I absolutely love her writing style, which is very fluid and simple. Not too many complexities and such.

There is also a mysterious air in the novel, as Oliver wishes to know about his father and similarly Moritz about his mother. This suspense, however, does not intervene in the process of creating a very contemporary setting for the novel. Liz, Oliver’s neighbour is a spirited girl who shows Oliver that not everyone sees him as a “freak” and ultimately he starts liking her. But I really didn’t like Liz’s character and many a times, she seemed shallow. Moritz too gets his heart set on someone and I definitely cheered them on. The plot, the characters, the writing all come together to give life to this wonderful story. BYNMM deserves more than a five star rating, it deserves to be read over again – because its just that amazing! Please please give this book a try, you most certainly won’t regret it.

Ratings – 5 stars on 5.


Book Review — Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch

Firstly, a big Thank You to HarperCollins Children and Edelweiss for this review ARC.

In this compelling novel, where The Selection meets Game of Thrones, debut author Sara Raasch has devised the ultimate attention-grabbing story of kingdoms so vast and warriors so fierce. But what’s above it all is the sheer brilliance with which, she manages to send every chapter sky-rocketing into levels of excitement, mind-boggle and absolute fantasy.

Meira was only an orphan when Sir William and his wife Alysson fled Kingdom Winter with her. Ruler of Kingdom Spring, Angra has taken over Winter, enslaving the remaining Winterians and spreading havoc everywhere. Sixteen years after, only eight Winterians who escaped live free, moving from place to place in order to avoid being caught. And amongst them is Mather, heir to the Winterian throne. Meira has had a crush on him for as long as she can remember but its always been grilled into her that Mather is born to be a king and so is meant to be with someone of greater stature. Any hope for their future dissipates when Sir and Mather sign an agreement with ruler Noam of Kingdom Spring to seek an alliance against Angra. A contract that thrusts Miera into the world of politics and sacrifice for one’s own kingdom.

Apart from Sir’s appreciation and Mather’s love, the one other thing Meira strives for is a sense of belonging to Winter. Her affection and inclination to Winter are spun from stories narrated by others and since the fall of Winter, she only longs to fight for her kingdom, for her people to lead a good life. Such a chance presents itself in surprising rapidity. But will Meira be able to decipher her role in this war before Angra’s wrath slams down on the rest of the Winterians?

In the beginning I found this book to be too overwhelming. There was so much of information to absorb, it got tedious at a point but I’m glad I continued reading. There’s the ever present element of magic in the story wherein each kingdom derives its magic from its Conduit. And each of the eight kingdom – four Rhythm and four Season – have their own objects of power (magic) which of the Winterians was destroyed by Angra. Meira (sounds like my name, doesn’t it?) is one of the best protagonist characters I have read this year. She is fierce, determined and very very mature. She does admit to being selfish in the book but I don’t think so. The way fate and others around her, play matters of serious importance, has a detrimental impact on her.
I understand why Sir was strict and guarded with her but I wish he had been more loving and affectionate. She totally deserved someone who is more than a guide and like a friend. That brings us to Mather who is kind yet challenges Meira, trying to motivate her into doing her best. He sort of shapes her personality to what she becomes towards the end. And hence is integral to the novel. Sara Raasch writes in such an incredible manner that I’ve instantly grown fond of her writing and am looking forward to her future books. There’s a lot more going on in this novel than can be summed up in a brief review. Its a wonderful journey that each of you should take up on your own. You will not be disappointed. Its a guarantee! And also it deserves a lot more than just 5/5 stars. So three cheers to Sara Raasch and Snow Like Ashes. Hurray!

Ratings – 5 stars on 5.