Ahimsa by Supriya Kelkar

Ahimsa_cover_hires.jpgI received the book Ahimsa by Supriya Kelkar as a review copy from the publisher, Scholastic. This book is the story of 10-year-old Anjali whose mother leaves the family to become a freedom fighter.

The blurb:

Can one girl make a difference in the destiny of a nation? It is 1942 and 10-year-old Anjali’s mother has joined India’s freedom struggle. Anjali gets unwillingly involved in the turmoil. She has to give up her biases against the Dalit community, or the so-called untouchables, and sacrifice her foreign-made clothes for khadi. When her world turns upside down, will Anjali be able to overcome her internal struggles and summon the courage needed to complete her mother’s social reform work? Inspired by her great-grandmother’s experience working with Gandhi, Supriya Kelkar brings to life the stories of the unsung heroes of India’s War of Independence.

The story:

Ten year old Anjali lives in pre partition India. The British are ruling India and their official treat Indians as inferior to them. This is also the time when Gandhiji is leading the non-violent protests all over the country.

Anjali lives in a society that is divided on the basis of caste system. She belongs to the higher caste, the Brahmins, and this entitles her to a beautiful house and beautiful clothes. Her mother works for a British Official, Captain Brent in the British Army and when she stops going for work, the feisty young girl presumes that he has hurt her. Anjali decides to avenge her. This leads to an act of vandalism for which she is caught.

Anjali has a great love for her lehenga cholis and when her mother tells her that she is joining the freedom struggle, Anjali is horrified. She cannot bear to think of her mother risking her life and she, herself, does not want to give up her expensive lehenga cholis for the homespun khadi.

But along the way, as Indians fight for their freedom, Anjali comes to realise that khadi isn’t so bad after all. And maybe, just maybe, sacrificing her privilege is worth it to be a part of the revolution.

My take:

The cover is beautiful. The plot is the freedom struggle from the perspective of Anjali, the ten year old girl. The scenes have been described in detail.

The author has woven a beautiful tale, combining Indian history with the story of a feisty young girl determined to prove her point. Anjali is a likable girl, and I loved her throughout the book. Hats off to the author on such a marvellous, well crafted middle grade book.

This book is recommended for young and old alike. A beautifully written debut. Will look forward to more books from the author.

DISCLAIMER: I received the book as a review copy from the publisher, SCHOLASTIC, in exchange for an honest review. I have not received any monetary compensation for the same.

 

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RSVP by Ruchira Khanna

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I received the book RSVP by Ruchira Khanna as a review copy from the author. This book is not about the romantic love but about things that we take for granted in life. And when things change, we look for a scapegoat. The author has beautifully narrated the tale of Jay Sethi and how life changes for him twice. It is one book that made me realise a lot of things.

The blurb:

Jay Sethi, an Indian-born American, has lived with the consequences of a torn family since a teenager. After facing the effects of unrequited love and unpaid credit card bills, he settles in a small town in California from where he embarks on a cruise with his canine best friend, Yogi. He is shipwrecked and washed ashore on an island that would be nothing short of fantasy to others. There he realizes the impact of love and a lack of attachment, and through the work of a local, he is given the opportunity to visit his past.

Will Jay be able to relieve his hiccup of years?

Will the broken bridges and the seemingly permanent goodbyes remain that way?

RSVP: A novel explores the lines between reality and illusion and the significance of family.

The story:

Jay Sethi lived in India with his parents and grandparents. He was ten when his parents adopted his cousin, eleven year old Gina, who had lost her parents to a fatal car accident. And Jay and Gina have practically grown up as siblings, been each other’s best pals, had seen adversities but refuse to pour their heart out. He was very close to his dad and his dad deserted them, had given up everything, gone to the mountains and lives in solitude.

Now at 27, Jay is running his café, Got T in California, for three years having quit his corporate job, taken a loan and going back to his grass roots to get his stability because his legs were trembling due to his breakup with his fiancée Sasha  and the credit pile-up. He was bruised wickedly and all he wanted was stability and love. Jay is uncomfortable in close relationships and does not have friends except his dog and his customers.

His dog Yogi, a two year old beagle, is his best friend and for him Jay is his dad, his caretaker and Yogi is obliged to take care of him whenever the opportunity arises.

Gina Mehra, Jay’s cousin had left the town two years ago to pursue her studies in Kingston City, Jamaica despite constant no’s from his mother and their grandparents. Now she is back and her study subject for her masters is Jay. And now that she is here, Jay wants to tick off another item on his bucket list and go for a week long cruise on the Pacific. And he wants to take Yogi with him.

And he and Yogi are shipwrecked and reach and island of 30 inhabitants where nobody speaks English except Mack, and he becomes his saviour.

My take:

The cover reminded me of The Life of Pi but I loved this book more.

A beautifully written story of things we take for granted and once we do not get them we look for scapegoats.

The characters are relatable and the relationships between them is realistic. Be that between Jay and Yogi, Jay and Gina, Jay and his customers, Jay and the mysterious woman who comes for her routine food at a fixed time and even that between Jay and his mother (sometimes I felt for his mother and sometimes for him). I loved his café and could imagine myself sitting there with a cup of jay’s special tea.

The quotes at the beginning of each chapter were very apt for the particular chapter.

This book got me thinking and also thanking. One line in chapter eight kept me on the edge of the seat. You will have to read the book to see which.

A book that is a definite must read for all ages above 14 (because the little ones would not understand the depth of the book, but they would also love Yogi and his antics).

My question: will there be a sequel??

DISCLAIMER: I received the book as a review copy from the author in exchange for an honest review. I have not received any monetary compensation for the same.

Ashima’s Dilemma by Sudha Nair

41TAoeeMSiL._SY346_Ashima’s Dilemma is a short story by Sudha Nair. Her latest book, this story talks about a couple and their relationship. I received the book as a free copy from the author.

The blurb:

A fateful, stormy night that changes everything…

Once the lead singer of a band with a promising career ahead of her, twenty-two-year-old Ashima settles into a contented married life with the band’s lead guitarist, Gautam, who sweeps her off her feet.

Until, Irfan, a young musician, bursts into their life unexpectedly, injecting a fresh spark of excitement.

What will Ashima do as an inexplicable yearning grips her, stirring feelings and emotions that wreak upheaval?

Will she choose contentment or passion, conscience or abandon, lust or love?

Will her life ever be the same again?

The story:

Thirty two year old Ashima is happily married to Gautam, ten years her senior, and they run a music event company in Bangalore. Having been the lead singer in the group, she does not sing at shows anymore and is the show manager and administrator taking care of accounts and administrative tasks of the company.

Twenty five year old Irfan, a budding musician from a far-away remote town, who has no family of his own, had come to Bangalore six months and has been living with them in a room upstairs, till he gets on his feet and saves enough to live and survive in Mumbai for 6-8 months. He also performs with their troupe. He looks up to them.

But one day, Irfan puts forward a plan to her, something that is not acceptable to har and he leaves without even a goodbye.

My take:

A beautifully written book. The cover is beautiful. The characters are relatable and realistic and the author has portrayed the emotions of the characters beautifully.

The language is simple and the story just flows. It can be easily read in one sitting, but be prepared, you would be left thinking for long after that.

DISCLAIMER: I received the book as a free copy from the author. This is my honest review. I have not received any monetary compensation for the same.

 

 

Punjab, Punjabis & Punjabiyat: Reflections on a Land and its People by Khushwant Singh & edited by Mala Dayal

image006.jpgI received the book Punjab, Punjabis & Punjabiyat: Reflections on a Land and its People by Khushwant Singh & edited by Mala Dayal as a review copy from the publisher Aleph Book Company and am thankful to them for the same.

The blurb:

Punjab, Punjabis & Punjabiyat brings together Khushwant Singh’s best writings on Punjab, Punjabis and the Sikhs. Divided into three parts, the book deals with various aspects of the region—its geography, climate, history, culture, religion, politics, language and literature. Part I of the book delves into Punjab’s history, culture, language and Sikhism. Part II covers the burning issues that affected the state during Khushwant Singh’s lifetime, including the pains of Partition, the Khalistan movement, Operation Blue Star, the anti-Sikh riots, and more. Part III is a collection of profiles of well-known Punjabis—poets, politicians, activists, friends and family.

The pieces in the book celebrate the culture, determination and spirit of the people of Khushwant Singh’s native land, a place he identified deeply with. Taken together, they give us a peerless portrait of Punjab and its people.

My take:

This book is an interesting account of people and religion about which so much was not known to me. The author has divided the book into three parts and seventeen chapters. He has used a simple, flowing language making the facts sound like a story and pulling the reader in.

The book talks about how the land of seven rivers (yes, seven) gets its name as Pentopotamia or Panj-ab. He also talks about the geography of the state, the shape, the boundaries, the rivers and the mountains. The author has also talked about the landscape, the climate, the seasons and the flora- fauna of the state. The book then talks about the various, people and the how the language was developed and then about Chandigarh and Panipat.

The author goes on to tell about the Sikhs- who they are and also the reasons why Sikhism is a unique religion and why the Sikhs are a special community. The author talks about Guru Nanak and his ‘Shish’ disciplines which became Sikhs and the roots of Sikhism. Then there is the relationship between the Hindus and the Sikhs. The author goes on to talk about how the Sikh order changed from peaceful one to a militant organization under the last Guru and then about the Nirankaris.

The author talks about the partition, Sikh politics, the riots of 1984 and the aftermath. And then he talks about the well known Punjabis.

I liked the book and felt that it was an eye opener.

DISCLAIMER: I received the book as a review copy from the publisher, Aleph Book Company, in exchange for an honest review. I have not received any monetary compensation for the same.

 

Spotlight: Killer Moves by Varsha Dixit

 
Killer Moves
by
Varsha Dixit
 
 
 
Blurb
Everyone has a secret. Aisha Khatri has many! 

Aisha’s life is seemingly mundane on the surface-she writes for television and takes care of her niece Kiara and her retired father. But when Kiara’s life is threatened during a modeling assignment for the famous Kabir Rana, once a suspect for his wife’s murder, the only way Aisha can save Kiara is by accepting the unique ability she has aggressively resisted all her life. 

But Aisha is not the only one with secrets. There are others who have secrets and will kill to keep them. Aisha is determined to protect Kiara even if it means placing herself in the crosshairs of a depraved killer who butchers beautiful girls and leaves them as grotesque displays. 

Is Kiara a target of a serial killer or is the killer closer to home-and Aisha’s heart? 

Who is Kabir Rana? An elusive and moody fashion photographer burdened with a dark past or a murderer who got away? 

How will Aisha save Kiara from a killer who is several steps ahead of an entire city’s police force? When the dead come calling, will Aisha answer? 

From the bustling streets of Goa to the beautiful palaces of Sirsa, Killer Moves is a fast-paced, gripping, romantic suspense tale with strong thriller and supernatural elements. 
 
Grab your copy @
 
 
About the author
 
 
Varsha Dixit, the best selling author of six successful contemporary romance books. Her debut book, Right Fit Wrong Shoe was a national bestseller for the year 2010. Varsha was a part of the Indian Television Industry and worked as an assistant director and online editor. She considers herself a dreamer who thinks deep but writes light. Even though creativity is gender free,Varsha feels blessed and enriched to be a woman.Currently, with her family, Varsha resides in CA, USA.
You can stalk her @
 
          
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Call me Saaya by Zoe M

Call me Saaya.jpgI received Call me Saaya by Zoe M as a review copy from Keemiya Creatives on behalf of the author and would like to thank them for the same. The book is the author’s debut novel and the story of Sayana (Saaya) and Shamsher.

The Blurb:

Shamsher Singh Rathore has it all. A job he loves and a life he lives every moment. Until an untimely call from home embroils him with a woman called Saaya who proceeds to turn his orderly world upside down!

The only interest Sayana Singh Rajput had in him was the prized Sheesh Haveli. She had never believed in love until destiny threw her this impossible challenge.

What do you do when all that you believed in turns out to be a lie?

Will Shamsher be able to save his world?

Will Sayana believe in love or will she allow avarice ruin it all?

What about Saaya?

What happens when desire meets destiny?

Set in idyllic Rajasthan, Call me Saaya is the story of two souls in pursuit for true love while destiny has other plans for them.

The story:

Thirty year old Shamsher Singh Rathore is a professional photographer who preferred the mountains and had spent the last five years of his life globe-trotting. An only child, he had spent five years in England after his graduation, studying photography and apprenticing with world class photographers. Six months ago, he had given up his dream of being a world known photographer and turned into a modern, organic farmer following the sudden death of his mother, who was transforming their family farm that was being transformed into an agro ecological farm,  which left both him and his father devastated.

And on the way to his mother’s village, Jhalra Patan in Rajasthan, Shamsher boards a rickety bus, after taking a train from Bombay to Bhawani Mandi  from where he boarded the bus, to go to his final destination. And he did this to experience the rustic beauty of Rajasthan. Maan Singh is his trusted confidante since childhood.and Shamsher shares a special bond with him. And he is in Rajasthan to meet his lawyer and also to locate someone, a ‘girl’, in Rajasthan.

And then he meets Saaya, who car has a burst tyre. Twenty five year old Saaya, was driving on her own, even though her father had told her not to. And he helps her change the tyre and she gives him a lift home and they become friends. She takes him sightseeing in and around.

And then he realizes that her friendship with him was done on purpose to take the possession of his mother’s haveli from him, the same haveli for which he was in the village to meet with his lawyer.

My take:

The author has set the story in Rajasthan. She has described the locations in detail and it was very easy to picturise them. The characters are relatable and realistic and have been developed well.

The language is simple and the narration flows. The story has friendship, romance, suspense, family values. The story is fast paced, and the plot has a lot of twists and turns. It is unputdownable and a page turner.  But the end was a bit abrupt.

DISCLAIMER: I received the book as a review copy in exchange for an honest review. I have not received any monetary compensation for the same.

Writing is fun by Jeanne Perrett

unnamedI received the book Writing is Fun a delightfully interactive writing activity book by Jeanne Perret as a review copy from the publisher Puffin. This book has been illustrated by Sayan Mukherjee. Thank you for the beautiful book Piya.

The Blurb:

Master the art of writing a diary, letter, advertisement, script, novel-just about anything-with this fun activity book, featuring handy tips and expert advice to make you a pro. With the help of some zany characters and whimsical artwork, explore the power of the written word, get equipped with the basic tools that’ll help you sharpen your craft and wield the pen like never before!

My take:

This is how the author starts the book with the author’s note. This note will make everyone feel that they could write.

You can write with a pencil, a stick or a pen,

You can cross it all out and write it again.

You can write about good things or funny or bad,

You can write when you’re happy or puzzled or sad.

You can write in a bus or a train or a car,

You can write on a beach or wherever you are.

You can write with a smile or a tear or a frown,

You can write standing up, you can write lying down.

You can write as day breaks or as owls hoot at night,

You can get it all wrong, you can get it half-right.

But, however you feel, you can write!

You can write, you can write, you can write!

 The cover of the book is beautiful. The book has twenty chapters in which the has talked about pen names, writing, editing, creating characters and writing various types of stories, even a fairy tale. The language used is simple and easy to follow. Though it is mentioned that the book is for kids, but I think this book is for everyone and will bring out the writer in them. It is not just an instruction book, it like a workbook, where the reader can work on his or her thoughts and jot them down at the same time.

The illustrations are beautiful. There are characters like the Grammar mouse and Sauras, who helps with the vocabulary.  Then there is Harry Patel and Yasmin Lee.

This book would make a wonderful gift for all those who love to read, love to write or even those who aspire to write one day.

DISCLAIMER: I received the book as a review copy from the publisher, Puffin, in exchange for an honest review. I have not received any monetary compensation for the same.