Friday, December 30, 2011

A Bowlful of butterflies by Ritu Lalit

Synopsis : This is the heartwarming story of an inseperable threesome, Chandni, Amrit and Soma. The girls are an exciting bunch but have a rather uneventful life in the sleepy town of Majhi Nagar. They are completely focused on their impending Class XII boards, until Chandni’s handsome cousin Jogi comes to live with her family. His presence brings to the surface many hidden truths that the girls must deal with.

The story spans a period of four months, in which Chandni and her family deal with many complex modern day relationship issues. A Bowlful of Butterflies deals with serious issues but is written in a light hearted vein. It is an engrossing tale dealing with the transition of Chandni and her friends from school girls to womanhood.

Nimue Says : Teenage.You remember the first crush ? The first time you wanted to know more about love and if its true ? the first kiss or when you imagined about it ? Being jealous with your best friend ? reading this book was a trip into those memory lanes. The way Ritu defines all characters  - the mother who left singing yet gave the knowledge to her kids , the content and experienced father and his brother , the ambitious and rebellious eldest son , the younger son bearing the effects of other's actions , Chandni the central character , Jogi - her cousin who silently bears allthat happens around him and at times being the reason behind it too ; her friends and other characters that connect all these people as family and friends. the story is predictable abit but that does not spoil the pleasure of reading this book. The family drama as you can term it, is both real and interesting to read.The emotions are spontaneous and well expressed. I literally smiled and felt sad at the events that were incorporated in the book.

A total heartfelt book !

Rating: 4/5

Also check the book trailer here :

Other Details :
Number of pages: 220
ISBN_PB: 9788129118455
Price :  156 @ flipkart

Ritu Lalit is one of my fav blogger.Check her amazing fun posts here

Image source

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Dork by Sidin Vadukut

ISBN: 978-0143067115
Pages: 242
Genre: humor, fiction

Robin Einstein Varghese, a typical engineering student, enters a top MBA institute and is about to start his professional life as a 'management consultant'. The book takes you through his goof ups and miraculous make ups. 

Okay, now let me describe everything that happened after I updated you last week and told you I’d been shortlisted for interviews by Goldman Sachs, McKinsey & Co., JP Morgan and Dufresne Partners. I know I haven’t written entries since then, but you know how it is with placements and the pressure to get a job on Day Zero.
Oh! My fingertips tingle with earnestness.
At the time, I may have told everyone that I was all set to join Goldman Sachs, the greatest bank in the world. I may also have suggested that Dufresne Partners was my ‘safety application’ and I had no intention of joining a ‘second-grade consulting firm of questionable pedigree’.
Diary, I was deeply mistaken. Little did I know that Dufresne Partners, despite the lower revenues, lower profile, and near global bankruptcy in 2001, stood shoulders and head above the others when you considered the job in a holistic fashion. Especially with that exciting and sensible ‘performance and global marketplace dependent variable bonus payout scheme’ that was introduced earlier this year.

Nightflier Speaks:
It is always a pleasure to read an author whom you have followed through their blogging days to twitter glory! And Sidin is a seriously funny guy. So having seen him grow, rather his sense of humor grow, I picked up the book for a light read. Also I wanted to end the year on a laughing note. So.

Needless to say, the book is not a literary genius or something which will make you stop dead in your path and ponder over your life. But it surely is a funny book. Evokes some genuine laughs and is full of naive idealism, young graduates from college have.

So our protagonist, the over optimistic and self aggrandizing, Robin Varghese, joins a reputed management consulting firm with stars in his eyes. From pre-joining mess to post joining silly mistakes, Robin's life is full of adventures. Some moronic enough and some ethical enough with a dark side to them. But our hero prevails. And the story is about his triumph. Sidin who was a management consultant himself, seems to have picked up a lot of his personal experiences and weaved them quite nicely to mirror the 'consultant' way of life. Moreover his language is fresh and palatable.
The book provides a really good insight into 'what consulting is', in case any of you are looking to move over to the darker side. So the MBA types can really relate with it.

Nonetheless a breezy read. Finished it in 3 hours. Always a feel good!

Rating: 3/5
Price: 199 INR (Penguin India)

Mortal Fear- Robin Cook

BEST SELLERS: Coma, Chromosome 6, Abduction, Sphinx, Brain



GENRE: Medical Thriller


Jason Howard used his career as a doctor to escape a private tragedy; until his own patients started dying from massive heart attacks. When his colleague becomes the next victim, Jason is finally forced to act. A decision that could cost him his life…

Before his death, Doctor Alvin Hayes had been on the verge of a secret medical breakthrough. What was one more murder to the conspirators who had inherited his crown?


A moan escaped from his lips; then both hands shot out and gripped the tablecloth, clawing it toward him. The wine glasses fell over. He started to get to his feet but he never made it. With a violent choking cough, he spewed a stream of blood across the table, drenching the cloth and spraying Jason, who jumped backward, knocking over his chair. The blood didn’t stop. It came in successive waves, splattering everything as nearby diners began to scream….There was nothing Jason could do but hold the man as his life flowed out of him.


When world class molecular biologist Doctor Alvin Hayes died in the arms of Jason Howard, declaring that someone wanted him killed, our protagonist thought that Hayes was perhaps suffering from stress and a nervous breakdown. But with his growing worry about patients dying merely weeks after their physicals and being declared reasonably healthy, as well as signs that seemed to corroborate Hayes’ belief that someone was misusing his discovery, Jason got wondering if Hayes really had been telling the truth about the medical breakthrough he was convinced he had been on the brink of.

The novel focuses on Jason’s attempt to unearth Hayes’ secret in order to bring to light a discovery that could possibly benefit mankind. It reveals how this profession can be a gift- and a burden. It makes one aware of the astounding power of science that can destroy as well as it can heal.

Jason is a protagonist that one cannot help but like from the word go. The touch of innocence in his nature only adds to his charm. The most impressive character is, believe it or not, a cabaret dancer by the name of Carol Donner. Jason’s interaction with her, in certain parts of the story, actually made me giggle! She is, perhaps, the one who makes the read all the more worthwhile.

Although the plot is a little predictable at times, at others it’s pleasantly surprising- or gruesomely horrifying. This might not be one of the best thrillers I have read so far, but it most definitely is enjoyable.


PRICE: Rs.225/-


Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

ISBN: 0060557818
Pages: 372
Publisher: William  Morrow and Company
Genre: Fantasy fiction

Bestsellers: stardust, American gods

To those living on the world 'above' there is a London 'below' full of interesting, shocking, magical and cruel secrets. And on a fine evening just like that Richard Mayhew's life changes, for better or for worse, when he stops existing in the world 'above' and gets exposed to the world 'below'

She had been running for days now, a harum-scarum tumbling flight through passages and tunnels. She was hungry, and exhausted, and more tired than a body could stand, and each successive door was proving harder to open. After four days of flight, she had found a hiding place, a tiny stone burrow, under the world, where she would be safe, or so she prayed, and at last she slept.
Mr. Croup had hired Ross at the last Floating Market, which had been held in Westminster Abbey. "Think of him," he told Mr. Vandemar, "as a canary."
"Sings?" asked Mr. Vandemar.
"I doubt it; I sincerely and utterly doubt it." Mr. Croup ran a hand through his lank orange hair. "No, my fine friend, I was thinking metaphoncally -- more along the lines of the birds they take down mines." Mr. Vandemar nodded, comprehension dawning slowly: yes, a canary. Mr. Ross had no other resemblance to a canary. He was huge-almost as big as Mr. Vandemar -- and extremely grubby, and quite hairless, and he said very little, although he had made a point of telling each of them that he liked to kill things, and he was good at it; and this amused Mr. Croup and Mr. Vandemar. But he was a canary, and he never knew it. So Mr. Ross went first, in his filthy T-shirt and his crusted blue-jeans, and Croup and Vandemar walked behind him, in their elegant black suits.

Nightflier Speaks:
Neverwhere started as a fantasy fiction series on BBC. And during the show's transmission the creator Neil Gaiman, not too happy with its perception, started writing the novel. After re-writing it twice and making it suitable for non-londoners we have a book  whose cover aptly reads 'Author's preferred text'. I was recommending the animation movie Coraline to a friend when I looked up Wikipedia and read that its based on a Neil Gaiman story. I was hooked. Googled some more and that's how I ended up ordering Neverwhere.

The tale starts perfectly normally for Richard Mayhew, who is leading the most normal life in London 'above'. When one fine evening he encounters lady door and is sucked into the life in London 'below' eventually. Now they must venture on a journey together to solve some mystery and get Richard's normal life back! With exciting characters like, the Carabas, the hunter, cruel people like Mr. Croup and Mr. Vandemar , magical beings like the Angelus and rat speakers, the book is full of vivid imagination.

Moreover if you have ever been to London or are a Londoner, London will never feel the same to you. With all the allegories for places in London 'below' the book hits the creepy button inside your head. The author uses his rich imagination and weaves the plot around the place beautifully. And the book has magic. So there! The characters feel very real and the book is full of 'British sense of humor'. Thus the book keeps you engaged on several levels apart from very good storytelling.

A must read for fantasy fanatics!

Rating: 4/5
Price: Rs. 599 (Crossword)

Monday, December 26, 2011

Love Story- Erich Segal

“For someone who is in love, or was in love, or hopes to be in love.”

AUTHOR: Erich Segal

OTHER WORKS: Oliver’s Story; Roman Laughter: The Comedy of Plautus.

1st PUBLISHED: Love Story is a 1970 romance novel by American writer Erich Segal. The book's origins were in that of a screenplay Segal wrote and was subsequently approved for production by Paramount Pictures. Paramount requested that Segal adapt the story into novel form as a preview of sorts for the film. The novel was released on February 14, 1970, Valentine's Day.

ISBN- 13: 978-0-380-01760-7

ISBN-10: -380-01760-1

GENRE: Romance


He is Oliver, a rich jock from a stuffy WASP family on his way to a Harvard degree and a career in law.

She is Jenny, a wisecracking beauty studying music at Radcliffe.

Opposites in every way, Oliver and Jenny immediately attract, sharing a love that defies everything…yet will end soon.


We spoke in whispers.

‘‘Hey, Jen…’’


“Jen…what would you say if I told you…”

I hesitated. She waited.

“I think I’m in love with you.”

There was a pause. Then she answered very softly.

“I would say…you were full of shit.”


It’s a story that will make you smile, that will make you cry. It isn’t perfect, but it sure can move the sky.

Oliver Barrett IV, who belongs to a rich, honorable and uptight family, and Jennifer Cavalleri, an intelligent, working class student of music meet at the Radcliffe library, and gradually fall in love. After passing out from college, the two lovebirds decide to marry against the wishes of Oliver's father, who consequently disowns his son.

Financially unstable, the couple strives to make ends meet. However, Oliver soon graduates from Harvard and he takes a position at a respectable New York law firm. With the improvement in their living conditions, Jennifer and Oliver decide to have a child. When they fail, the two of them decide to consult a doctor- and when they learn the truth about Jennifer, things fall apart.

While it’s a novel that has come to epitomize love, it might or might not trigger the usual reaction in every reader. I, for one, feel that it is very touching, yet I found the kind of problems that the young couple had to endure even before the tragedy, and the sad ending, somewhat upsetting. Nevertheless, it is a beautiful story… about true love, and the imprint it leaves on our hearts for ever.


PRICE: Rs.170/- (Harper Collins)


Ranthambore Adventure

AUTHOR: Deepak Dalal

OTHER WORKS: Ladakh Adventure, Lakshadweep Adventure, The Snow Leopard Adventure.


ISBN: 81-243-0716-4

GENRE: Adventure; Teen Fiction


When schoolboy Aditya attempts to lay his hands on the diary of a ruthless tiger poacher, little does he know the sequence of events his actions will trigger. His ill-fated endeavour plunges Vikram and their school friend Aarti into a thrilling adventure that climaxes at the magnificent game park of Ranthambore.

Ranthambore Adventure also narrates the story of the tiger Genghis. Brimming with tiger lore, it traces the moments of Genghis’ life from his birth as a fluffy, helpless ball of fur to his emergence as a proud and powerful predator. But vicious, greedy humans infiltrate his kingdom, seeking his skin and bones.

Alternating between the adventures of school children and the enthralling tale of a tiger family, Ranthambore Adventure is a story that focuses on the Indian tiger and its grim struggle for survival.


The tiger dropped his screaming victim to the ground. On three legs the animal jumped forward. The man’s gun fell from his nerveless hands. He turned and ran. His feet tore across the forest floor. The tiger halted, making no effort to follow the fleeing human. Whimpering sounds from behind reminded the tiger that another human remained.

He turned. The renewed attention of the tiger silenced the man with the spear. The tiger’s flaming eyes locked with his. The man frothed at the mouth. His body shook violently. He saw the pain and the anger in the tiger’s eyes. He had destroyed its leg. Now…he was at the animal’s mercy. The man shut his eyes, unable to stand the animal’s accusing glare.

With tightly screwed eyes he prayed, he begged the tiger to forgive him, he promised never to lay a trap ever again. The man babbled hysterically, refusing to open his eyes. Time passed. A gentle shower of rain fell on his upturned face. The man blinked. He looked fearfully about him. He searched for the tiger. There was no sign of the wounded animal.


Ranthambore Adventure by Dalal is the extraordinary tale of a tiger, Genghis, who was born in the game park and has grown to be an awesome, majestic predator. The most incredible element of the story is the depiction of life as seen through the eyes of a tiger. The writer has nearly humanized Genghis, such that one cannot help but relate to the emotions of the animal. This aspect of the story is just as interesting as the escapades of Vikram, Aditya and Aarti.

Although it is ultimately a VikramAditya story, Aarti is the one who steals the limelight. Aditya’s heroics, which sometimes border on the foolish, land him in grave danger; he somehow manages to get hold of the diary of a poacher who is the head of an organized gang and accounts for seventy per cent of tiger killings in the country. When Aarti arrives at his house the next day, she finds the house in a mess, with obvious signs of struggle- and Aditya missing.

As she gradually finds out that her friend has been kidnapped, Aarti embarks on a dangerous journey to rescue him, which leads her all the way to Rajasthan. The best part is, all the characters have their own flaws and make mistakes- which is one of the many things that make the story so authentic. Everything that happens in the novel is not just lifelike, but completely possible- nothing in the story seems melodramatic. The climax is delightful, with the stories that ran simultaneously finally amalgamating and Vikram emerging as a hero without doing anything ridiculously filmy. Dalal has penned down a story that is as entertaining as it is didactic; it’s an adventure like no other.


PRICE: Rs.70/- (Navneet Publications)


Sunday, December 25, 2011

Secret of the Nagas - Amish

                                                     Side profile of a man standing in water and holding a snake in his left hand, which has its head raised towards the front. The man’s face is in shadow, but his throat appears bright blue in color. He wears a tiger skin and on his shoulder, scars are visible.
Author- Amish
Best sellers- Immortals of Meluha

Synopsis (from book cover)

The hunt is on. The sinister Naga warrior has killed his friend Brahaspati and now stalks his wife Sati. Shiva, the Tibetan immigrant who is prophesied destroyer of evil, will not rest till he finds his demonic adversary. His vengeance will not rest till he finds his demonic adversary. His vengeance and the ppath to evil will lead him to he door of the Nagas, the serpent people. Of that he is certain.
The evidence of the malevolent rise of evil is everywhere. A crown prince is murdered. The Vasudevs- Shiva's philosopher guides- betray his unquestioning faith as they take the aid of the dark side. Even the perfect empire, Meluha is riddled with a terrible secret in Maika, the city of births. Unknown to Shiva, a master puppeteer is playing a grand game.
In a journey that will take him across the length and breadth of ancient India, Shiva searches for the truth in a land of deadly mysteries- only to find that nothing is what it seems.
Fierce battles will be fought. Surprising alliances will be forged. Unbelievable secrets will be revealed in this second book of the Shiva triology, the sequel to the Immortals of Meluha

"Ugly, aren't I?" whispered the Naga, his eyes wet, teeth gritted.
"What? No!" cried Sati, controlling her shock at seeing a Naga. How could she insult the man who had saved her life. "I'm sorry. It's just that I.."
"Is that why you abandoned me?" whispered the Naga, ignoring what Sati had said. His body was shaking, his fists clenched tight.
"Is that why you abandoned me?" Soft tears were rolling down the Naga's cheeks. "Because you couldn't even bare to look at me?
Sati stared at the Naga, confused. "Who are you?"
"Stop playing innocent, you daddy's spoilt little girl!" shrieked a strong feminine voice from behind.
Sati turned and gasped.

Maithili Speak:
The second book of Shiva Triology begins from where the first one ended. Shiva is seeking revenge for the cruel death of his friend Brahaspati. He wants to kill the Naga who is now stalking his wife Sati.
After making the blunder of entering the war with Chandravanshis, Shiva is more careful this time. He doesn't want to get into war with the Nagas without checking the facts. Could it be that Nagas are not the bad people as they have been potrayed?  Shiva leaves behind his wife Sati and young son, for his search of the truth.
Meanwhile Sati is in Kashi, where is discovers the truth of the Nagas. She is shocked to know that her twin sister is the Queen of Nagas and her first child ,which she thought was dead, is alive!
Unknown to Shiva, a game is being plotted. Daksha is bringing large amounts of Somras which he insists should be given to Kartik- Shiv and Sati's son.
Lot of subplots are going around. Kritika and Ayurvati are keeping a secret. The oath of Vayuputras is to be revealed.
The book ends with Shiva entering the Dandak forest with the help of Nagas. Their retinue is attacked with Daivi astra, the weapons of Rudra which had been banned. Who is behind the attacks?
The book reveals only what the title is about- Secret of the Nagas.
The book leaves you wanting for more. Too sad that the wait will be long. The third book is still being written. Can't wait for the ultimate!
Once again intelligent building of story and amazing weaving of fiction into the mythology.

Rating : 3.8 on 5.. I wish a few more plots were unveiled.

Price: Rs 295/-

The Christmas and New Year's Giveaway

First of all, Feliz Navidad everyone.

Its time for giveaways again.

Forgive us for being late. But we, the admins, had decided on a late giveaway to coincide with Christmas and New Year's Eve and wanted to host a mega giveaway.

So, as usual dig in! Oh the sweet part is, keeping in touch with the holiday spirit, there will be 3 winners this time.

Pssst... Quick guidelines

1. Click on 'Do it'. After you did the part, click on 'I did this' till it shows as 'done'. Most of you skipped it.

2. And when it says, "leave a blog post comment", it means on a review!

3. Tweeting is optional. What you have to know is that, if you complete all the given tasks, you have a better chance of winning. Every entry counts people.

4. Results will be out as soon as the contest ends; within 24 hours

5. Open worldwide. You might want to check this LIST to make sure The Book Depository ships to your country.

Time to feast your eyes :D

And Then There Were None - Agatha Christie
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo - Stieg Larsson
Norwegian Wood - Haruki Murakami
Tai-Pan - James Clavell
City of Bones - Cassandra Clare
Sister - Rosamund Lupton
Assassin's Creed | Renaissance - Oliver Bowden
The Mark - Jen Nadol
The Hades Factor - Robert Ludlum and Gayle Lynds
Finger Lickin' Fifteen - Janet Evanovich
The Rivered Earth - Vickram Seth
Shock Point - April Henry
Too Asian, not Asian enough - edited by Kavita Bhanat
Cheaper by the Dozen - Frank B. Gilbreth, Jr. and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey
We Were Here - Matt De La Pena
A is for Alibi - Sue Grafton
The Sly Company of People who Care - Rahul Bhattacharya
Ilustrado - Miguel Syjuco

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Phew! Best of Luck everyone and Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Wings of Fire- An Autobiography

WRITTEN BY: Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, and Arun Tiwari


ISBN 13: 978-81-7371-146-6

ISBN 10: 81-7371-146-6


Dr. A.P.J Abdul Kalam has come to personally represent to many of his countrymen the best aspects of Indian life. In his autobiography, he ascribes, with characteristic modesty, the greatness of his achievements to the influence of his teachers and mentors. He describes the struggles of his boyhood and youth, bringing alive everyday life in a small town in South India and the inspirational role of educators.

He describes the role of visionary Indian scientists, such as Dr. Vikram Sarabhai, and of the creation of a coordinated network of research institutions. This is also the saga of independent India’s struggle for technological self sufficiency and defensive autonomy- a story as much about politics, domestic and international, as it is about science.


Each individual creature on this beautiful planet is created by God to fulfill a particular role. Whatever I have achieved in life is through His help, and an expression of His will. He showered His grace on me through some outstanding teachers and colleagues, and when I pay my tributes to these fine persons, I am merely praising His glory. All these rockets and missiles are His work through a small person called Kalam, in order to tell the several million mass of India to never feel small or helpless. We are all born with a divine fire in us. Our efforts should be to give wings to this fire and fill the world with the glow of its goodness.


It’s a book that needs no introduction. I had been thinking of reading this one ever since I went to a painting exhibition inaugurated by Dr. Kalam some time ago, at the art gallery of the Triveni Kala Sangam, in New Delhi. And I am really glad that I finally got down to reading it- thanks to the reading challenge, and a dear friend of mine who has lent it to me. However, I am actually thinking of getting my own copy now.

It was quite tough choosing the excerpt- I would quote nearly everything if I could! I finally decided on the one above, for what I love most about Dr. Kalam is his love for God as well as his interest in, and regard for, all religions. The autobiography, co-written with Arun Tiwari, who worked under Dr. Kalam for over a decade in the Defense Research and Development Laboratory (DRDL), is not just a book about science and politics, but also a collection of anecdotes, recollections, and pictures from the former President’s life.

Dr. Kalam recounts incidents from his childhood, and emphasizes on the profound impact that his family, friends, teachers and relatives had on him. He reminisces about his relative Ahmed Jallaluddin’s “special connection to God” that he used to wonder about as a child; he thinks back on his interaction with his best friends Ramanadha Sastry, Aravindan, and Sivaprakasan.

There’s his love for English literature, Philosophy, and of course, Physics that he shares with us. What’s extraordinary, and remarkable, is his firm belief that there’s an intimate connection between science and spirituality. He refers to his childhood dreams, his love for aeronautics and his passion for science and, indeed, for life. What touches the heart is the humility and honesty that is ever so evident in every word. Enjoyable and, more importantly, truly inspirational- it’s an autobiography I feel proud to have read.

RATING: 4 on 5

PRICE: Rs.250/- (Universities Press)


Thursday, December 22, 2011

Kalika the Calyx by B M C Nayar

Synopsis :
Defined as the first and the best fantasy novel in the highly competitive language of Kerala – Malayalam – Kalika makes her debut in English to enthral. Opening up a new world of intriguing human relationships and mysterious locales, The Calyx is personified by Kalika, her fragrance appealing, petals unfolding, and yet . . . .”

Nimue Says :
Bought on an impulse, this book caught my fancy for two things - fantasy by an Indian author , translated from Malyalam. And I was not disappointed at all.

The story, set in a scenic village in remote corner of Kerala, begins with outlining the present state of an old Kali temple and the area around it. Any one who ventures into the area after dark meets a certain death. Plagued by the mysterious death of the master and mistress of the old house in the area, the fear is heavy in the air around it. This is the story of that old house, its occupants - the old ones who died and the efforts of four friends trying to make it safe for the future generations. This is a story of friends who stood by each other even as they faced an unknown enemy whom they did not even assume to exist for long time. This is a book full of indian shalokas and sacrificial practices , the good and the evil forces that are at a constant play around us , a plot of  supressed desires and misplaced loyalties. This is the story of Goddess Kali and her opponents , her boons and limitations, and her devotees.

A slow one for about one third, this book really catches pace in the last 50+ pages. And the only trouble with the book would perhaps be the mistakes in printing at few places. The dialogues run into paragraphs that make the reading a little tough. But nothing will make you keep this book before you finish. The way the enemy's identity is not revealed till the middle, yet you know things are not normal , and how the story traces the growth and life of each character are some of the strong point in narration. Each character is so much real and beleivable. The writing is lyrical at places which makes you wonder how much good the original would have been. Totally wow book.

Ratings: 5/5

Other details :
Language: English
ISBN: 9788122311754
Code: 9574H
Pages: 271
Price: Rs. 175.00

The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle


BEST SELLERS: His book Crispin: The Cross of Lead won the 2003 Newbery Medal. He has also written Nothing But the Truth, and Beyond the Western Sea, among other books.

ISBN: 0-439-54252-9

1ST PUBLISHED: 1990; this novel has won several awards, including as a Newbery Honor Book

GENRE: Adventure/ Young Adult Historical Fiction


In 1832, thirteen year old Charlotte Doyle is returning from her school in England to her family in America. Charlotte’s voyage takes place on the Seahawk, a seedy ship headed by a murderously cruel captain and sailed by a mutinous crew. When Charlotte gets caught up in the bitter feud between captain and crew, she winds up on trail for murder…and is found guilty!


Not every thirteen year old girl is accused of murder, brought to trail and found guilty. But I was just such a girl, and my story is worth relating even if it did happen years ago. Be warned, however…If strong ideas and action offend you, read no more. Find another companion to share your idle hours. For my part I intend to tell the truth as I lived it.


The unique story of a unique girl, this is one unlike any I have read before. Groomed to be a “lady”, young Charlotte always knew that it was her destiny to be one. American by birth, she was sent to Barrington School for Better Girls, in England, when she was a six year old. At the age of thirteen, however, it was decided that she return home to her family. Therefore, on June the 16th , 1832, Charlotte found herself on the Seahawk, a ship owned and operated by her father’s firm- but without the two families known to her parents who were meant to chaperone her.

Terrified at having to travel alone with no woman on board to look after her, Charlotte quite understandably gravitates towards the captain- the only man with “unimpeachable refinement.’’ Charmed by his manners, delighted by his praise, and eager to please him, Charlotte agrees to be his eyes and ears whenever she interacts with the sailors in order to “civilize’’ them, by reading passages out of books or by discussing religion with them.

Stoutly ignoring the dire warnings of a few members of the crew, including an old black man by the name of Zachariah who ‘‘presumptuously’’ offers her a hand of friendship, Charlotte herself walks into a death trap. In her desire to do what is ‘right’, Charlotte becomes the cause of brutal violence that a child should never be witness to. Undergoing a complete and astounding transformation, this little girl takes unbelievable measures for her atonement.

Despite the astonishing events that follow, the entire account sounds like it really has been inspired from real life experience; and not just because of the first person narration. The author keeps you wondering what would happen next, and the unanticipated conclusion adds charm to this dark tale. As Zachariah put it, it really is a voyage to remember.

RATING: 4 on 5

PRICE: Rs.281/- (Flipkart)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Iliad- Homer

ISBN: 978-0-14-044794-1

1st PUBLISHED: this revised translation was first published in 2003

GENRE: Classic


‘Look at me. I am the son of a great man. A goddess was my mother. Yet death and inexorable destiny are waiting for me.’

One of the foremost achievements in Western literature, Homer’s Iliad tells the story of the darkest episode of the Trojan War. At its centre is Achilles, the greatest warrior-champion of the Greeks, his refusal to fight after being humiliated by his leader Agamemnon, and the disastrous consequences of this decision.

Interwoven with this tragic sequence of events are powerfully moving descriptions of the ebb and flow of battle, of the domestic world inside Troy’s besieged city of Ilium and of the conflicts between the gods on Olympus as they argue over the fate of the mortals.


Andromache came to meet him, and her waiting-woman carried the little boy in her arms, their baby son and Hector’s darling, lovely as a star, whom Hector called Scamandrius, but everyone else Astyanax, ‘Town-lord,’ because his father was the one defense of Ilium.

Hector looked at his son and smiled, but said nothing. Andromache, bursting into tears, went up to him, put her hand in his and said:
‘Hector, you are possessed! This determination of yours will be the death of you. You have no pity on your little boy or your luckless wife who will soon be your widow, when the Greeks kill you in a massed attack. And when I lose you, I might as well be dead. There will be no comfort left when you have met your end; nothing but grief.’

‘…I beg you, don’t distress yourself too much. No one is going to send me down to Hades before my time, though death itself, I think, is something no man, coward or hero, can escape, once he has come into this world.’


An epic poem that will leave you awestruck, The Iliad deals with diverse facets of human existence within the scope of a few days out of a ten year war. The poem glorifies the life of a warrior, and yet makes vivid the destruction that war wrecks on warrior brotherhoods and households.

The wrath of the swift footed, God-like Achilles drives the action of the epic. Agamemnon, the leader of the Greek force, has been given as booty the daughter of a local priest of Apollo. When he is compelled to return her as a consequence of Apollo’s plague, he becomes infuriated and demands repayment. After an awful quarrel with Achilles, he decides to take Briseis, Achilles’ prize, stimulating Achilles and his dearest friend Patroclus to walk out of the war.

When the Greeks begin to lose, however, Agamemnon relents and agrees to offer compensation. But Achilles, by then, feels that no compensation in the world can equal the worth of a man’s life and desires Agamemnon to ‘pay back the whole heart rending insult.’ While the consequences of his refusal to rejoin the war are terrible for the Greeks, they are catastrophic for Achilles. When the Trojan Hector kills Patroclus, he storms back into the battle to take revenge- despite knowing that this will ensure his own untimely death. Achilles is a man whose life is now committed to the death of one man and the mourning of another.

With a stunningly picturesque use of the simile, Homer introduces the element of peace into this martial saga. The interaction between Achilles and Hector’s father Priam is heart rending; it shows that there is really is more to life than vengeance and more to manhood than the massacre of men.

RATING: 4.5 on 5


PRICE: Rs.250/- (Penguin Classics)

Molly Moon’s Incredible Book of Hypnotism

AUTHOR: Georgia Byng

ISBN: 0-330-39985-3

1st PUBLISHED: 2002 by MacMillan Children’s Books

GENRE: Under 18/ Kids’ Stuff


Orphan Molly Moon was found as a baby in a box marked ‘Moon’s Marshmallows.’ For ten miserable years she’s lived under the cruel rule of Miss Adderstone in grim Hardwick House. But her life changes overnight when she finds a mysterious book on hypnotism and discovers an amazing talent- the power to make people do anything she wants them to. Escaping from the orphanage, Molly flies to New York in search of fame and fortune. But her adventures in hypnotism lead her into the clutches of a dangerous enemy…


Sometimes, when bad luck comes your way, you think it will never end. Molly Moon often felt this way about her luck, which wasn’t surprising since she was so often in trouble. If only she’d known that her luck was about to change, she might have enjoyed the following day, for at the end of it Molly would feel that all sorts of wonderful things were going to happen to her. But that morning, from the moment she opened her eyes after a sound sleep on her lumpy orphanage mattress, Molly’s day started to go wrong…


With Christmas just round the corner, this is the book that matches perfectly the spirit of the season. Very subtly, such that you might not even notice it initially, Georgia Byng brings to light the miracle of kindness in the story of a little girl who hated her life, and dared to change it.

Molly Moon’s life at the orphanage is as pathetic as one can imagine, with Miss Adderstone’s pet Hazel and her gang bullying her at every possible opportunity. Of course, things are not always so bad when kind Mrs. Trinklebury comes to visit, or when Molly and her best friend Rocky find a few stolen moments of joy with the adorable younger children. It is when Rocky gets adopted by an American family that Molly decides to break her ties with the inhabitants of Hardwick House, for the only person she could call family left her forever.

Molly’s emotions, not just at this point but throughout the novel, are wonderfully easy to relate to; her search for an identity, her craving for a family, her sense of insecurity and bouts of jealousy, her dreams of making it big and the delight at actually making it big, as well as the impact that fame and fortune have on little Molly are incredibly realistic. The twist in the story comes with the entry of the formidable Professor Nockman:

He smiled. Perhaps it was a good thing that this girl had found the hypnotism book. Maybe she was better at it than he could ever hope to be. So when he found this M. Moon, all he need do was control her. After all, she was only a child. She could give him a ride to the top…

The narrative of this book- originally meant for children- is elementary, but the storyline is engaging enough to interest readers from all age groups. The novel is full of unexpected surprises and the little nuggets of humor make it three hundred and thirty pages of pure pleasure.

RATING: 4 on 5

PRICE: Rs.238/- (Flipkart)

Monday, December 19, 2011

Never Let Me Go - Kazuo Ishiguro


AUTHOR: Kazuo Ishiguro

GENRE: Science-Fiction


In one of the most acclaimed novels of recent years, Kazuo Ishigaro imagines the lives of a group of students growing up in a darkly skewed version of contemporary England. Narrated by Kathy, now thirty-one, Never Let Me Go dramatizes her attempts to come to terms with her childhood at the seemingly idyllic Halisham School and with the fate that has always awaited her and her closest friends in the wider world. A story of love, friendship and memory, Never Let Me Go is charged throughout with a sense of the fragility of life.

"What I think", said Tommy slowly, "is this. Suppose its true what the veterans were saying. Suppose some special arrangement has been made for Halisham students. Suppose two people say they are truly in love and they want extra time together. Then you see Kath, there has to be a way to judge, and see if they are telling the truth. That they aren't just saying they are in love, just to defer their donations. Or they think its love but its really just a sex thing. Or a crush. But the point is whoever decides they need something to go on"

I nodded slowly. "So that's why they took away our art…"

"It could be.. Suppose two people come to Madame saying they are in love, she could find the art they have done over the years. She can see if they match. She said our art reveals our soul. She could decide what's a really good match and what's just a stupid crush"

Chandana says: 
The children of Hailsham House are afraid of the woods. In the days when their guardians were much stricter, the school myth goes, a boy's body was found there with its hands and feet removed. Despite the incessant rumors, Hailsham children seem to have a nice life. The school places considerable emphasis on self-expression through art and, especially, on staying healthy. There are frequent, exhaustive medical check-ups. Smoking is a real crime, because of the way it can damage your body. 

Yet despite the care lavished on them, their world has a puzzlingly second-hand feel. Everything they own is junk. Sometimes you get the feeling they're being taken care of on the cheap. In fact, they are; and their fear of the woods reflects, in a distorted but pretty accurate way, their fate. They're organ donors, cloned to be broken up piece by piece and used as spares. The purpose of Hailsham is to prepare them for their future - to help instill in them feelings of self-repression and denial that will keep them steady and dependable from one donation to the next.

Never Let Me Go is the story of Kathy and Tommy and Ruth, and of the love-triangle they begin at Hailsham. Ruth is the controlling one, Tommy is the one who used to find it hard to keep his temper: they hope that love will save them. They've heard that love or art, or both - will get you a deferral (Couples who are deeply in love will be allowed to live together for a while like a "normal couple" before they begin their donations). Kathy - well, Kathy is a carer by nature as well as profession: she watches her friends break themselves against the inevitable, but never lets them go. After Hailsham, they grow from puzzled children to confused young adults. They live in a prolonged limbo, waiting for the call to donate. They're free to wander. They learn to drive, roam Britain looking for their "possibles" - the real human beings they might have been cloned from.

Although this is science-fiction the actual 'science of cloning' is no where discussed. How exactly are the clones created? How are they kept alive after they start donating? How do they survive their third, fourth and fifth donations? The author is more interested in the emotional world of the clones. This extraordinary and, in the end, rather frighteningly clever novel isn't about cloning, or being a clone, at all. Its about three friends and the simple hopes that they have. The title of Never Let Me Go is taken from Kathy's favorite song, by make-believe folk singer Judy Bridgewater.  Kathy listens to the song while dancing and holding a pillow that she imagines to be a baby.  It presents a very sad image, for she can never have a real baby.  Moreover, she has never been held as a child, never had a mother she could ask not to let her go.  Though she soldiers on, tending to her dying fellows without complaint, Kathy's silent dance betrays how greatly she is in need of tenderness.  Aren't we all?

PRICE: INR 523/- (Flipkart Price)
OTHER INFO : Turned into a movie in 2010
PAGES: 282
RATING: 3.5/5

Friday, December 16, 2011

The Pregnant King by Devdutta Pattanaik

ISBN: 0143063472
First published: 2008
Binding: Paperback
Genre: Fiction/ mythology
Price: INR 299
Author: Devdutt Pattanaik

Other works: 7 secrets of Shiva, 7 secrets of Vishnu, Myth=Mithya, Jaya, Hanuman's Ramayan, The Book of Ram

UCV says: He wept for his father, the pregnant king, for the imperfection of the human condition, and our stubborn refusal to make room for all those in between.

This last line of the book, The Pregnant King by Devdutt Pattanaik, succinctly sums up its message. And what a powerful message! The book is less about the 'aberrations in nature' and more about society disowning them. Whether in Dwapara Yuga or the Kali, human beings have remained the same in their non-acceptance of the non-normal. Through the story of many major and minor (as we call it these days) LGBT mythological characters, Pattanaik reminds us of the humanity we often forget to show to humans who are a little different. In his first work of fiction, he writes with the same signature elegance, that make all his books so readable. His merit is in presenting the universal aspects of ancient stories that make them relevant to the modern reader.

Pattanaik mentions right in the beginning of the book how he has neither adhered to chronology nor to geographical boundaries. He has pulled out many popular characters from across mythology, uniting them in this work of fiction to demonstrate the agony of persons whose minds and bodies are divided on the aspect of sexuality. So apart from the story of Yuvanashva - man and mother, there are stories about Shikhandi - woman and prince of Panchal, Ila - man and wife, Somvat- boy and wife, and even Arjuna - warrior and eunuch among others. Not just human characters, the author tells us stories of gods and demons also plagued by mixed sexualities. There is, for instance, Sthunakarna - a yaksha and yakshini and Ileshwara - god and goddess.When he needed to introduce similar queer characters into the story, who could not in any way be connected to the plot, the author made clever use of bards, who tell stories about them.

Coming back to the prime character of Yuvanashva, Pattanaik etches a well-defined character of the king who became a mother. Unable to bear a child for many years, the king seeks desperate measures. A magical potion churned by two Sidhhas promise him children, but not quite in the way he imagines. Instead of his wives, the king accidentally drinks it and begets a child. Though the truth of the child is kept a secret from the subjects and even the child himself, it manifests itself in the king's maternal feelings. Then comes a moment of truth, which threatens to destroy all order. When the truth is rejected, as it is done to this day, Yuvanashva leaves the world in search of a truth that transcends all human definitions.

The book tackles the questions of gender roles and discrimination very well. It explores the many relationships that define our lives. Parent-child, husband-wife, friendship, veneration and rejection. It draws richly from the many lessons in our ancient scriptures and presents a posy of wisdom. Though the plot was a little slow to start up, once it did there was no going back. Read it because it will impregnate you will some very worthy thoughts.

Rating: 4/5
Published by: Penguin India

Deja Dead by Kathy Reichs

Other works : Bones to Ashes

Synopsis: In the year since Dr. Temperance Brennan left behind a shaky marriage in North Carolina, work has often preempted her weekend plans to explore Quebec. But when an unidentified female corpse is discovered meticulously dismembered and stashed in garbage bags, Tempe detects an alarming pattern within the grisly handiwork -- and her professional detachment gives way to a harrowing search for a killer in the city's winding streets. With little help from the police, Tempe calls on her expertise, honed in the isolated intensity of the autopsy suite, to investigate on her own. But her determined chase is about to place those closest to her -- her best friend and her daughter -- in mortal danger....

Excerpt :

With a stab of pain, I’d noticed that her toenails were painted a soft pink. The intimacy of that simple act had caused me such an ache that I wanted to cover her, to scream at all of them to leave her alone. Instead, I’d stood and watched, waiting for my turn to trespass.

I could still close my eyes and see the jagged edges of the lacerations on her scalp, evidence of repeated blows with a blunt object. I could recall in minute detail the bruises on her neck. I could visualize the petechial hemorrhages in her eyes, tiny spots left by the bursting of small blood vessels. Caused by tremendous pressure on the jugular vessels, they are the classic sign of strangulation.

My gut had recoiled as I’d wondered what else had happened to her, this woman-child so carefully composed and nurtured by peanut butter, Scout leaders, summer camps, and Sunday schools. I’d grieved for the years she wouldn’t be allowed to live, for the proms she’d never attend, and the beers she’d never sneak. We think we are a civilized tribe, we North Americans in the last decade of the second millennium. We’d promised her three score years and ten. We’d allowed her but sixteen.

Nimue Says: This is the first book in the Brennan series. I read "bones to Ashes" last month and I liked it enough to search for another Brennan book. but something inside me told me to start with the first one. and I am glad I did that. This is the book that defines Tempe. Even if the narration gets a bit long , or you get troubled with the French added to the dialogues. you still can not stop turning pages. Brennan as described in the book is much different personally from the one portrayed in the TV series "bones" and frankly, I like this one more. This Tempe is as focussed and a tough nut at work as much she is emotional about people around her. She isn't too clinically accurate as the TV one but as vocal about her ideas.

This book starts with discovery of a pile of bones in a sack. The head and limbs are separated and that is not the only gruesome thing about it. As Tempe works on the bones , trying to help with identification , she can not help notice similarities with anoher case of the past. Initially no one wants toa dmit the connection and that leads her to go on with the investigation all alone - not a wise thing but surely brave on her part. The meticulous way Kathy ties each of the cases together - all in past , the first one discovered and the future one is a pleasure to read. The book keeps getting better and better with each day , so does Brennan's life as the guy behimd all the killings begins stalking her and reaches to her best friend for sending out his message.Also the end is worth all the pages you read before the final showdown ! The complete picture surely amazes you as much impresses you, considering this was Kathy's first Brennan book.
A totally must read fr all fans  of Bones !

Brennan  and Ryan do not share much chemistry in this one but sure there are glimpses of theeir professional bond and the desire for justice.

Rating: 4.5/5

Other details:
ISBN:  0671011367
ISBN-13:  9780671011369, 978-0671011369
Publishing Date:  Jun 1998
Number of Pages:  560
Price : 350/-

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Secret Circle - Initiation (Book 1) by L.J.Smith

Image Source:
THE INITIATION AND THE CAPTIVE PART I: Book One of The Secret Circle Trilogy.

AUTHOR: Lisa Jane Smith.

BEST SELLERS: Dark Visions Trilogy, The Night World, The Vampire Diaries and many more. 

SYNOPSIS:                            THE CIRCLE'S POWER HAS LURED HER HOME...

Forced to move from sunny California to gloomy New England, Cassie longs for her old life. 
Even so, she feels a strange kinship to a terrifying group of teens who seem to rule her school. Initiated into the coven  of witches that's controlled New Salem for hundred years, she's drawn into the Secret Circle, a thrill that's both intoxicating and deadly. 
But when she falls for the mysterious and intriguing Adam, Cassie must choose...
Whether to resist temptation or resist dark forces to get what she wants - 
even if it means that one wrong move could destroy her.

EXCERPT: "It wasn't supposed to be this hot and humid on Cape Cod. Cassie had seen it in the guidebook; everything was supposed to be perfect here, like Camelot. Except, the guidebook added absently, for the poison ivy, and ticks, and green flies, and toxic shellfish, and undercurrents in seemingly peaceful water. The book had also warned against hiking out on narrow peninsulas because high tide could come along and strand you. But just at this moment Cassie would have given anything to be stranded on some peninsula jutting far out into the Atlantic Ocean—as long as Portia Bainbridge was on the other side. Cassie had never been so miserable in her life.......[T]he boy's voice startled her, "Life isn't fair," he said. Shocked, her eyes flew up to his face. His own eyes were as dark as the sea in a storm. She saw that clearly, and for a moment she was almost frightened, as if she had glimpsed something forbidden, something beyond her comprehension. But powerful. Something powerful and strange..."

MSM SPEAKS: Lisa Jane Smith, the Female Author who talks sense when she moves into the topic of Witches, Werewolves or Vampires. I had read The Night World Series of her's before and had absolutely loved it! Yes, I think she is one of the BEST YA writers' of all time. Coming to The Secret Circle, how is this any different from other Witch stories. First, there's no moping depressed teen, Cassie Blake takes life as it comes, yes, she is sad that she had to leave California, but she comes to terms slowly, not pining like certain Bella. Second, there is clarity and mystery in the plot, which makes the Reader think that he knows what's happening, but surprises spring up, breaking the predictable plot.

New Salem, old and dingy, just opposite to California...and Cassie knows deep down, there's something different about the town and her old, rusty Grandmother - who looks like an Old Witch. But she is kind and Cassie tries to be polite to her. Cassie's mother falls sick and Cassie has to make new friends in the new school. However, she is nearly run over by the Club Member on a bike. A girl. And yet another, who is almost Feline when she moves. Almost ten such weird teens who seem to have control over the entire school and also how everyone treats Cassie. The Club. Cassie knows she wouldn't be caught dead in there. But, reality is far away from it.

Caught up in a serious conflict, Cassie wishes she could find peace when she sees Diana. The Girl with sunlight and moonlight woven hair. The Girl who protects Cassie and loves her like an elder sister. The Girl, whom Cassie swears never to hurt. But then, fate has something else in store. A Magical memory born in California stirs up the forbidden temptation, which Cassie had never thought, she would have to fight. Will she cherish the memory and give up on the Girl she loves or forget whatever happened back in California, to save the Girl she loves more than herself? Apart from this, Cassie now knows that she could be a witch too...and that means, fighting the Dark Powers which the Club seeks to invoke, to redeem the wrong done to the witches for ages.

The plot moves at a balanced pace, keeping the Reader intrigued. Initially I had thought this would be almost like the other such books, of the Genre, but no, it wasn't. The story picks up pace and has twists and turns which keep you coming back for more. Lisa writes in a manner, that you can finish the entire series in two days! I would recommend other works of L.J.Smith too, if you like YA Fiction. And no, she does not portray teens as dumb juvenile creatures, but people who think. Her Protagonists always appear weak but have very strong  characters - their spirit to fight, love, hope and live are laced with underlying passion. MSM Recommends this.

My rating: 4.5/5 (Every initiation cannot be perfect. :D)

The Secret Circle - Initiation and Captive Part I (Book 1) (Paperback) @ Harper Teen (August 2008)
ISBN-13: 978-0061670855
Pages: 396
flipkart Price: 381/- INR
e-book link -------->Here<--------

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

News Flash

A new page is up under Browse By section. "Its called Books Reviewed So Far"..
With so many of you finding it hard to check on a book whether if its reviewed or not and not knowing which genre to search for, hopefully, this page will make things much easier.

Though I admit, it was one pain in the ass to gather every page into one.

Also, I won't be getting rid of the genre pages. I love them too much..but i did delete a few pages so that it doesn't confuse you lot. I removed the western/drama/humour/adventure/espionage/classic pages. Adventure and Espionage novels will now go into the Thriller section. The rest goes to "everything else" page.

I want you all to link your review in the "Books Reviewed So Far" page as soon as you post a review. The admins really can't do everything. Please please please look how I made that page. I don't want you to link it in such a way that i have to come and correct it again.

For eg, if the book is "The Notebook", it will be placed as "Notebook, The" under the alphabet N.

And again when you place it under a particular alphabet, just don't add it in the bottom. Its alphabetical wise.

Nimue, you are in charge of updating the Author pages, while I will handle the Genre pages.

Again one more request, Please tag your reviews with your name, genre and series if available.

For eg. if the series is "House of Night", tag it as Series - House of Night. If the novel has a character that you know is common in other novels from the same author, make it a series too. Eg. There is no series for Kathy Reichs novels. But Temperance Brennan is the recurring character. So tag any Reichs' novels as Series - Temperance Brennan.

Its news time !!! (updated)

It doesn't harm to know a bit about the latest books right ?? so here's some of the links I thought you would like to check !!


Click Here is the amazon list of 100 best books of 2011


Shakti Bhatt First Book Prize as the name suggests is the annual award fr first time authors. The nominations this year were  :

The Collaborator, Mirza Waheed
The Wandering Falcon, Jamail Ahmad
The Truth About Me, A Revathi
Chinaman, Shehan Karunatilaka
A Free Man, Aman Sethi
RD Burman: The Man, The Music, Anirudha Bhattacharjee & Balaji Vittal

Read more about the books here
And the winner of this prestigious award for 2011 is "The Wandering Falcon"
On another note , goodreads had readers around the world vote for best of what all was published in 2011. Here is the winner list . you can even see all the shortlisted books if you click on the individual tabs.
hope you have got lot on your wishlist now .. 


#BookReview: Utrecht Rain by Jonathan Wilkins

My rating: 3.75 of 5 stars Maaike Meijer is attacked in a senseless outbreak of violence at the Dom Tower in Utrecht. Her broth...