The World Outside My Window by Ruskin Bond

91YhxPDymbL.jpgI received the book, The World Outside My Window by Ruskin Bond as a review copy from Rupa Publications. I would like to thank the publisher for the book. This book was published to mark the 82nd birthday of the great writer. It is a collection of 38 short stories and poems. The book has been divided into three parts- the wonderful world of insects: birdsong in the mountains and the loveliness of ferns.

He has described the biology of insects, their importance and also that no two species of insects have the same form and colour and also the various reasons for the colour schemes of insects. He has written about dragonflies, fireflies, lady birds, honey bee and big and small insects. Being a science student all my life, I never heard of ichneumon fly and that there is a different caterpillar for nearly every kind of edible plant. He has also written about ants, scorpion, spiders, crickets, grasshoppers, mantis and wasps.

He has written about the birds he has seen in Delhi, Dehradun and Mussourie, the bulbuls, the sparrows, the parrots, the finches. He has written about the inhabitants of the semul tree, the night birds and the mountain birds.

He has written about the mystery of the coconut tree, the various trees in the Himalayan region and the ferns- those which grow near the streams and those  which grow in the areas of the forests- and the varieties and history of ferns.

The stories have been written in a simple language and are a nature lover’s delight. His vast experience and knowledge is reflected in the detailed information he has given. This book is a must read for all age groups and something that can be read overe and over again, in parts or as a whole.And the cover is beautiful.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of the book from the publisher in return for my honest review. I have NOT received any monetary compensation for the same.


My favourite nature stories by Ruskin Bond

ruskinbondI received the book, My favourite nature stories by Ruskin Bond as a review copy from Rupa Publications. I would like to thank the publisher for the book. This book is a collection of 21 short stories most of them between three to five pages long.

These stories are his experiences of living in Mussourie, he also talks about how he suddenly decided to quit his job and decided to start writing full time. He talks about various insects and birds and their sounds, his favourite things, his walk in Chandni Chowk in the heat in the month of May and his love for the Himalayas. He talks about the simple flower cosmos, and other flowers and ferns and his tolerance for snakes. He talks about the night being his friend, and also about owls. He then talks about Dehradun, the trees there especially, the banyan tree that grew behind the house. He talks about the other trees like oak and maple. There is a story in which he, as a small boy had to see the river on the other side of the mountain and how he sneaked out to get there, but, he has not mentioned how he got back.

I personally, would carry this book with me when I travel to Mussourie basically to see nature from the author’s point of view.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of the book from the publisher in return for my honest review. I have NOT received any monetary compensation for the same.


Myself Meena IAS by Dakshita Das

91NOniL6hLL.jpgI received the book, Myself Meena IAS by Dakshita Das as a review copy from Rupa Publications. I would like to thank the publisher for the book. This book is about a girl whose father aspires that she becomes an IAS Officer.

The Blurb:

Meena, a young, attractive, fun-loving girl from Bareilly, finds her life in a state of disarray. On the one hand, she is compelled to play the role of a dutiful daughter, living out the ambitions that her father had dreamt for her—being an IAS officer. On the other hand, she remains perpetually confused and bored. Worse, she falls out with her best friend, is unable to sustain long-term friendships and falls in love but struggles to make choices.

Meena is forced to confront a few loaded questions. In blindly following her father’s aspirations, has she missed out on living a life on her own terms? Will she grow to adjust to a new job, and equally, will she be able to work out her romance with her colleague and mentor? Most importantly, will she find herself? Find out in this story of self-discovery and resilience.

The story:

Meena, the only daughter of a government doctor and his homemaker wife, is born and brought up in Bareilly. The first words she utters are Myself, Meena IAS. Even though, she has an elder brother but her father has a lot many expectations from her. So, after completing school in Bareilly, she moves to Delhi for her graduation and preparation for the Indian Civil Services.

In Delhi, she meets different kind of people, some studious, some who are there to have fun. She makes friends with the latter only to realize her mistake. After her graduation, she moves in with her brother into his barsaati to prepare for the exams. She makes friends and also finds people who are experienced in appearing for the Civil Services exams and learns from them. During this time, she meets Venkat, an IAS officer who also frequents the canteen as the IAS aspirants and learns a lot from him.

Does she manage to fulfil her father’s dreams?

My take:

The story has been written in first person from the point of view of the main protagonist, Meena. The author has taken illustrated Meena’s life from her childhood till after she starts working. She has described Meena’s emotions and feelings very well and I felt that the characters are very realistic.

Most of such books that we read usually revolve around the presentation and the exam but in this book, the author has gone beyond that and also discussed the training and the difficulties faced when on the job.

The language is simple and the flow is good and the author has beautifully described certain scenes that I could actually visualize them. At times, I felt that the author has written about herself through Meena.

A well written book, must read for all IAS aspirants.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of the book from the publisher in return for my honest review. I have NOT received any monetary compensation for the same.

BOOK BLITZ TALES OF SUNSHINE (A collection of short stories) by Sundari Venkatraman


(A collection of short stories)
Sundari Venkatraman
TALES OF SUNSHINE is a collection of ten short
stories that bring hope.
“A Ray of Sunshine” is about young Raj who’s
terribly upset when many people in his team lose their jobs. But is he able to
do anything about it?
“A Promise Given” is about Sachin, the poor,
rich, young man; and the pregnant Aparna.
“Life Goes out of Control” is the story where Preeti, an
only child, is a bone of contention between her parents.
Nath has slogged throughout his life to become rich, to suffer a massive heart
attack at 57. Read “Rakesh Nath’s
to find out more…
“Exam Fever” is about Renu and her anxious mother,
Maya. Renu wants to play truant from studies while Maya is terribly worried
about her daughter’s exams.
“Until Death us do Part” is the story of Rekha, the 35-year-old
COO of an MNC. She finds love or does she?
adores his grandfather. But his mother Anu is scared of her son spending time
with the Alzheimer patient in “Is Grandpa
Daydreaming Mercenary” is Reema. She
blows up her sister Rita’s hard-earned money. But are things what they actually
“Breaking Free from the Mould” is the most difficult thing
as a human. With so much pressure from his Grandma, will Aarush pursue his


“The Elephant in the Room” is in the first person where the
poor Nandita talks about her friendship (?) with the rich Shruti.
Grab your copy @
About the author
Tales of
the seventh book authored by Sundari Venkatraman. This book is an anthology of
human interest stories. Other published novels by the author are The Malhotra Bride, Meghna, The Runaway
Bridegroom, The Madras Affair
and An
Autograph for Anjali
—all romances. She also has a collection of romantic
short stories called Matches Made in
. All of Sundari Venkatraman’s books have been on Amazon Top 100
Bestsellers in India, USA, UK & Australia many times over.
Stalk her @
Other books by the author
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We Promote So That You Can Write 



Six degrees: Game of Blogs by various authors

61FPPIueVOL._SX316_BO1,204,203,200_I received Six degrees: Game of Blogs by various authors as a review copy as a part of the BlogAdda Book Review Programme. The book is a collaborative effort of thirty blogger story tellers across India, who came together to weave these stories. It is a first of its kind effort in the country. This book is a collection of three short stories written by three teams.

The blurb:

As part of their #CelebrateBlogging initiative,, ran the first edition of Game of Blogs in September 2014. Five characters and their descriptions were provided. The objective was to write a fictional story revolving around these characters. Bloggers came together as teams and after three rounds filled with its own set of twists and turns, three stories made it to the end.

The three stories in this book are a fascinating example of how one set of characters can have interesting lives with completely different dimensions. Six Degrees is a result of how collaboration can truly breed creativity in the modern day world of connected living.

The characters:

Nine year old Roohi Dutta is the only child of Tara and Shekhar Dutta. Tara is a media professional and Shekhar is a freelance writer and a stay at home dad. Jennifer, is a photographer and Cyrus Daruwala, a law student from Delhi who comes to Mumbai. Aryan Ahuja is their neighbor.

The stories:

In the story, The Awakening by The Team By Lines, Shekhar pens his story secretively on his typewriter and keeps it in his safe only to realize the next day that the safe is empty and his manuscript has been burnt to ashes and this happens again. Tara receives a call from an old friend asking them to accommodate Cyrus in their guest room till he finds a suitable accommodation. Jennifer is Shekhar’s childhood friend and both of them share their common craze in aliens. Cyrus blogs about extraterrestrials and Aryan Ahuja, an exobiologist, follows his blog. Then there is someone in their garden trying to accomplish his mission without delay. What is the mission and who is destroying the manuscripts? The authors have woven the story around Gray Aliens, Peacekeepers and Kundalini meditation. The sci-fi knowledge and the details seem well researched but I, for one, am scared of ETs and aliens, so I am not going to check. The characters and descriptions are very detailed.

In the second story, Entangled Lives, by Team Potliwale Baba, Shekhar and Tara are constantly fighting which is affecting Roohi and Shekhar is still looking for a good break. Tara tells Shekhar to write about his teenage years and Shekhar is not ready to do so. Meanwhile, Cyrus is in Mumbai with an agenda and Jennifer is looking for a job. One day, Cyrus takes an injured takes Roohi to the Dutta residence and Tara comes home hearing the news followed by Jennifer. Then there is a power failure followed by a scream  and they reach Roohi’s room to find her standing in a pool of blood and their maid, Naina, dead. Inspector Java is incharge of the case and Aryan Ahuja, their next door neighbour says that he may have seen it. Who dunnit?? The descriptions are excellent, it was very easy for me to picturise the scenes. I loved the way the way the authors have presented the murder mystery, everytime I thought that the case has been solved, the story would take a twist.

In the story, Missing- A Journey Within by The Team Tete-a-Ten, the story is set in Mumbai. Shekhar goes to school one day to pick up Roohi, two hours after the school gets over and realizes that Roohi is missing. He calls Tara and she posts about missing Roohi on Facebook. Jennifer sees it and realizes that she had taken a photograph of the little girl having an ice-cream with a man. And that man turns out to be Cyrus, who is in Mumbai from Delhi for an important reason- Mission Roohi. Cyrus blogs about movies and Dr Aryan Ahuja follows his blog. How did Roohi meet him and why was she so happy eating the ice-cream with him? More importantly where are they now?? The first chapter of the story is divided into eleven parts giving a brief of what the story is about and this entire scenario is between 1430 hours to 3.45 hours and then the story moves into the preceding and succeeding events. The authors have woven the story in such a way that all the characters have a role to play in the story.

My take:

Same characters and three different stories. This is how we think, given the same set of people. Each team of bloggers has made an effort to portray the same set of characters in their own story. All the stories are set in Mumbai and Delhi. The language of all the stories is simple and each of them has worked around a unique plot.

I have great appreciation for the jury for selecting the three stories, but I know the other seven would be as good. What is missing in the book is the list which BlogAdda had shared at the beginning of the exercise. If that would have been given at the beginning of the book, it would have made reading the book more interesting. And also, as the three stories have the same characters, in between, I would get confused while moving from one story to the next.


This review is a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!

‘Passenger’ by Alexandra Bracken

20983362.jpgI received the book ‘Passenger’ by Alexandra Bracken as a review copy from Hachette and I woyld like to thank Poorti from Hachette India for the same. The book is a young-adult fantasy.


In one devastating night, violin prodigy Etta Spencer loses everything she knows and loves. Thrust into an unfamiliar world by a stranger with a dangerous agenda, Etta is certain of only one thing: she has traveled not just miles, but years from home. And she’s inherited a legacy she knows nothing about from a family whose existence she’s never heard of. Until now.

Captain Nicholas Carter is tasked with delivering Etta to the dangerous Ironwood family. They are searching for something – a stolen object they believe only she can reclaim. But Nicholas is drawn to his mysterious passenger, and the closer he gets to her, the further he is from freedom.

Together, Etta and Nicholas embark on a perilous journey across centuries and continents, piecing together clues left behind by the traveler who will do anything to keep the object out of the Ironwoods’ grasp. But as they get closer to the truth of their search, and the deadly game the Ironwoods are playing, treacherous forces threaten to separate Etta not only from Nicholas but from her path home forever.

The story:

Henrietta Spencer, Etta, a 17 year old violinist lives with her mother, Rose in New York. She is dedicated. Her mentor, Alice, who is like her grandmother, helps them. On the night of her musical debut, she hears something, flees the stage and runs into Sophia Ironwood, who has also heard it. But no one else has.

And then, she is sailing on the Atlantic Ocean in a ship and the year is 1776, that is many, many years ago. Nicholas Carter, the captain of the ship, has to do his last deed as a slave to the Ironwoods. The deed is to deliver a special passenger to the head of the family. And Etta is that passenger.

What do they want Etta to do????

My take:

This is the first young adult fantasy that I have read in the last one year or so which I was glued to. It took me some time to get a hang of the book but once the initial teething period was over, I started to devour it. The author has put in a lot of research into the book. The descriptions are detailed and in tune with the setting and the time period described. The author has maintained the time setting in such a way that there is no cross over confusion. There are pirates too.

The language used is easily understandable and the plot is good. The characters have been beautifully developed and the story has been written from both their points of view.

There is only one thing I felt that editing could have helped reduce 75 to 100 pages.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of the book from the publisher in return for my honest review. I have NOT received any monetary compensation for the same.


Shashi Kapoor- The Householder, The Star by Aseem Chhabra

7Shashi-Kapoor-2.jpgWhenever I think of old films, Shashi Kapoor is the first hero that comes to my mind and that too, leading a horse in Jab Jab Phool Khile and the song, Ek the gul aur ek thi bulbul. The face of the heroine is vague and I think I shall have to ask her name when I meet my father next. And the next image that comes is of a suave Shashi Kapoor in Silsila, of how we had many heartflips over him. So when I got this opportunity to review this book, I said yes.

Thank you Rupa Publications and Rizwan Khan for providing me a review copy of the book, Shashi Kapoor- The Householder, The Star by Aseem Chhabra.

The Blurb:

India’s first biography of Shashi Kapoor sheds light on one of the country’s most enigmatic personalities—an actor who straddles the worlds of commercial Hindi cinema, theatre and small-budget art movies; who is, at once, an earnest householder and a committed star.

In this rare book, we are offered glimpses of Shashi Kapoor, the family man—son of Prithviraj Kapoor, husband of Jennifer Kendal, and father to Kunal, Karan and Sanjna. We are led through Shashi Kapoor’s film career—his debut as a bright-eyed child-actor in Awara; his emergence, in the hectic 1970s, as India’s busiest performer—with a slew of hits including Deewaar and Trishul; and his rise to international prominence with Merchant–Ivory’s The Householder and a ‘trilogy’ of films on older men with fading pasts. Equally, we are provided with an astute analysis of Shashi Kapoor, the businessman—the proprietor of Film-Valas; the producer of Shyam Benegal films; and the distributor of Bobby.

With luminous and thus-far undisclosed stories by the actor’s family (Neetu Singh, Rishi, Sanjna and Kunal Kapoor), co-stars (Shabana Azmi, Simi Garewal, Sharmila Tagore), colleagues (Shyam Benegal, Govind Nihalani, James Ivory, Hanif Kureishi, Aparna Sen), and friends; a compelling foreword by Karan Johar; and stunning photographs from Merchant–Ivory’s archives, Shashi Kapoor, the biography—by one of India’s best-known film journalists—is as captivating as Shashi Kapoor, the star.

My take:

The book is a biography of Shashi Kapoor, the romantic hero of yesteryears, with a foreword by Karan Johar, today’s director/ producer of romantic films.

The book has portrayed Shashi Kapoor right from when he was born to the migration of the family to Bombay from Calcutta and then his interest in theatre and how he met Jennifer. The accounts are as a result of various interviews and also the author has done an extensive research on the subject. The bibliography at the end of each chapter is a proof of that.

He has portrayed the actor as a son, a brother, a husband and a father. He has interviewed his family, co-stars, friends and colleagues to give us a glimpse of what Shashi Kapoor, the person is. I loved the part when he would quote his rate for a movie and give an example of, ‘so and so is paying me this for this role’. And his wife, loved the way she had kept the children away from the media glare.

This book will be liked by old and not so old alike especially because of the way it has been brought together and also the pictures used.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of the book from the publisher in return for my honest review. I have NOT received any monetary compensation for the same.