Friday 19 January 2024

Kabir – An Inward Journey by Smita Tiwari: Book Review

Kabir book cover

As the title suggests, the book centers around the character Kabir, seamlessly integrating the teachings of the great poet-saint Kabir Das into the storyline. 

The narrative takes the form of a first-person account of Kabir's life events - twists and turns involving incidents, people, and places - revealing significant philosophical truths that are typically hidden from ordinary eyes.

Kabir's life serves as a wake-up call for individuals entangled in the pride and luxury of materialism on Earth. The narrative powerfully illustrates the impermanence of comfort and love throughout the plot.

Kabir - An Inward Journey is author Smita Tiwari's first book. As a debut author, her adept creation of characters and the flawless execution of the plot are truly commendable.

Sunday 10 July 2022

Happy Endings by Suchita Agarwal: Book Review

Happy Endings is a compilation of five mini tales, each revolving around a character who was lost but finds themselves up again, mostly through simple yet profound conversations - the kind of conversations that happens within a mind but gets transcribed into a script through a eBook. If you are kind of a reader like me who likes to deeply delve into thought processes, you would find Happy Endings amazing! 

Friday 17 June 2022

A Potpourri of Drabble by Harshita Nanda: Book Review


You like stories. You like to read stories and get into the emotions of the characters. However, sometimes reading is not your priority or time doesn't permit you to. Grab a copy of this book then. You get to read stories, not one or two, but 100. And all it takes to read a story is less than 30 seconds. 

Sounds like a magical reading experience? It is!

Tuesday 1 February 2022

George's Secret Key to the Universe (Book 1) by Lucy & Stephen Hawking: Book Review by Vihaan (8 years)


Vihaan's review of 
George's secret key to the universe by Lucy and Stephen hawking. 

I love this book. It is very very interesting. It is a science fiction and has facts about the universe. There are a lot of books by Lucy and Stephen Hawking. I got this book from my father who wanted to get me something interesting. Usually I only read a sentence or two but now I can read a lot. I want to read a lot of books in this series. 

My dad got me the book for the New Year. I got it on the New Year day and now I finished reading it in just one month though it has 300 pages. I learned a lot. I'll tell you a little about it. 

"Pigs don't just vanish," thought George to himself looking into an empty pigsty. After a few days he went to his neighbour's house and saw Freddy, the name of his pig. 

Then a girl came and said, "This is my house and you have come here. So you should tell me who you are first." 

"I am George and what are you doing to my poor pig?" he asked. The girl said, "I'm giving it juice." George asked surprisingly, "Juice? I thought it is poison" 

"It's Ribena," said the girl. Then a voice came, "Annie, where are you?"

After a few pages in the book, a few things happen and then George and Annie space travel. They make two space travels and in both of them they learn about black holes, planets, comets, and stars and so much more. 

For more info on the story, read the book. It's amazing!

My favorite part in the book is when he goes to bed, he sees a shooting star and then he sleeps and then the story is over. Even though the pictures that come here and there in a few pages are only drawn with a pencil, they are masterpieces. It's amazing art. 

I have read only around ten pages in one book so far but this one has 300 pages. The other books in this series are George's cosmic treasure hunt, George and the big bang, George and the unbreakable code, George and the blue moon, George and the ship of time. So read it, it's amazing.

Reviewed by Vihaan, 8 years

Title: George's Secret Key to the Universe (Book 1)
Author: Lucy & Stephen Hawking
Publisher: Penguin Random House UK
Pages: 297
Format: Paperback

Buy Online

Saturday 4 May 2019

‘The Happy Place’ & ‘Ramya’s Bat’ – Children’s Books by Ms. Moochie Books

Book Title #1: The Happy Place – A Ramya Story by Samantha K
Book Title #2: Ramya’s Bat by Ritika Subhash
Illustrated by: Chetan Sharma
Publisher: Ms. Moochie Books
Book Genre: Children’s Books – Fiction – Picture Books
Reading Level: Emergent Readers (Ages 2 and up)
Book Format: Paperback
No. of Pages: 41 to 43 story pages, 3 activity pages
Amazon Buying Links: The Happy Place , Ramya’s Bat
Year of Publication: 2019
This post was first published in my personal blog Pages from Serendipity
About the Ramya Stories
The Ramya stories is a series of individual stories centered around a little girl, Ramya. The stories happen in an Indian set up and each talk about an interesting episode of Ramya’s little adventures.
The books are quite big (vertical books of 23 cm x 16 cm) with words of big font size. Each page includes one or two sentences with rich illustrations of Indian environments. The sentences are short, simple and appear in rhyming verses. At the end of each story, there are activities for kids from the story, like sequencing the pictures in the order of narration, colouring, finding the odd ones out, to name a few.
The Happy Place 
In this delightful story, Ramya goes to the backyard to find weeds everywhere which used to be her Dadi’s garden. So, she plunges to mend the garden. Despite the little difficulties and hard work it demands, Ramya with will and determination turns the place to a beautiful garden, just in time when her Dadi returns back from the hospital.
backyard illustration
Image Courtesy: Amazon
  • In a simple style, the story can introduce gardening steps to children – weeding, digging, sowing and names of some beautiful flowers.
  • The book, of course, can instill the love of gardening in little children. If you have a garden at home or if you plan to create one with your little ones, you will find this book inspiring.
  • Together with your children, you can cherish the feeling of giving a heart-warming surprise to our loved ones.
The Happy Place is indeed a happy read for children!
Ramya’s Bat
Ramya sees her friends play cricket. She at once wants to hold a bat and hit the ball. But, she finds no help from her family and friends initially. Soon, she proves her interest and talent in the game that everybody begins to adores her cricket skills.
children playing cricket illustration
Image Courtesy: Amazon
  • Who said cricket is only for boys? Read Ramya’s story and how she makes the ball fly with her bat. The book can definitely inspire young girls to dream of sports that are stereotyped for boys.
  • It can also educate parents to support girl children in their interests to pursue boyish games, letting go of the age-old gender stereotypes.
Enriching Illustrations
flower vendor illustration
The illustrations need a special mention. Illustrator Chetan Sharma has done an excellent work. In fact, most part of the story is highlighted by the pictures rather than by the text. The meticulous details covered in the illustrations like a crow drinking water from a tap and Ramya’s cupboard of toys and books are a visual delight. Homes and neighbourhood of Indian scenario are well-picturized.
More books from the Ramya stories
Check more children’s stories on the blog
Have you read a Ramya story to your little ones? Do share your experience in the comments below, I would love to hear from you.

Monday 4 February 2019

No Apologies (A Women’s Web Collection): Book Review

How often as women we feel apologetic more so to please people around us?! We will have to patch up for a ten-minute late dinner which got late because of our period woes. We will have to hurry up home after an outing with friends because we have a bunch of people angrily waiting for us. And every single time, there’s a guilt that tugs at us and more often than not, we feel apologetic - we are made to feel apologetic - because as women, we are responsible for a whole lot of what happens around us, and to us!

In No Apologies, we get to read realistic stories that put forth to readers how women in our Indian society are expected to feel apologetic for situations they might not actually be accountable, and also we get to see with warmth why and how they need not do so. I say with warmth because the writers carry a sense of maturity in their words that’s devoid of arrogance, ego or pride. 

The stories are not about feminism, men vs. women or patriarchy as one would guess in this context. Rather, they are more about the underlying emotions of womanhood which are subjected to the ‘ideal standards of living’ imposed upon women for centuries, and even more about those moments in each character’s life when they come to confront the 'norms' face-to-face.

Sunday 13 January 2019

My Short Story, ‘An Ex Ordeal’, is available for Free Reading on Amazon Kindle

An ‘Ex’ Ordeal: A Short Story is my first eBook that is based on the emotional reflections of an ex-relationship. In ten pages, we get to read a short account of a woman in her sixties, addressing the scars her ex-marriage had left on her.
The book can come under contemporary literary fiction, for it is more of a contemplative self-conversation she has with herself than a narration of events. Separation being one of the most difficult personal life experiences, readers can feel a realistic connect to the protagonist’s complex thoughts.
Quick details of the book
Format: Kindle Edition
Genre: Contemporary Literary Fiction
No. of Pages: 10
Maximum Reading Time: 30 minutes
Price: Book is on a free promotion, that is, it is available for free reading for all currently, (Jan 10th – 15th 1.30 pm IST). At other times, it is free for Kindle Unlimited Subscribers, Rs. 49 for others.
Amazon Link to the Book: An ‘Ex’ Ordeal: A Short Story
Book Description & Book Cover: At the end of the post
Just another small step in my writing pursuit!
I didn’t plan to publish a short story in the eBook format; neither was it something like a long-time dream. It just happened. There came a swift flash of an idea and it got manifested in no time.
I consider this as a small step in my writing pursuits. The few days of my involvement in this work has brought important learnings for me – from getting to understand how self-publishing works to understanding the real pillars of my life. It is a beginning, and I am glad this happened for it has added to my interest to grow as a writer.
Request to readers
I know I am yet to evolve a lot more as a writer and a thinker to claim an authorship tag. I am at a point where sincere feedback is critical for my growth. To everyone who got to land on this page, this is my humble request to please have a read of An Ex Ordeal and give me your opinions.
Amazon Link to the Book: An ‘Ex’ Ordeal: A Short Story
I’ve made the eBook available for free from Jan 10th 1.30 pm IST to Jan 15th 1.30 pm IST. For kindle unlimited subscribers, it is free anytime.
It will be a great help if I can get a feedback by any or all of the options below:
  • As a comment to this post
  • To my email,
  • As an Amazon review
  • A review on Goodreads
  • A blog post on your blog/social media.
Book Description
Neeraja’s recurrent dream was a perfect reflection of her subconscious angst. In her dream, she would see Ravi, her ex-husband, from far and desperately wait for him to eye on her diamond wedding ring. There would be a compelling need in her to make him feel jealous of her precious possession.

The fact that she was once unsuccessful in her role as a wife defeated her self-pride. Her dreams echoed her longing need to prove Ravi her stance as a valuable partner. Witnessing him feel guilty for what he did in the past can only perhaps bring her subconscious anxiety to peace.

Strangely, when Neeraja and Ravi meet after thirty years, their chance encounter makes her to see through the layers of her buried emotions which leaves her baffled with the important insights she discovers in the process.

An ‘Ex’ Ordeal is a reflective short story on separation and the trajectory of its scars over time. D
Book Cover

Tuesday 23 October 2018

Randomly Ordered by Karthik Pasupathy: Book Review

What if there was a means to record our thought process and we get to replay it in the form of a novella? Randomly Ordered is one such recording of one person's thought process that happens on one ordinary day. 

As Karthik wakes up and goes around through his daily routine, he narrates what goes around within his mind. His day covers the morning hours of getting ready to office, a small glitch while traveling to his office, his observations at the office, another discrepancy that he needs to attend to back at home, his travel back home and his late evening hours with his mom at home. Pretty much, an ordinary day, as it sounds! 

One can imagine the story line to be a mundane journal of one person. But, I would rather look at this work a step beyond a journal writing. Randomly ordered isn't about what happened on that one day in Karthik's life. It is more about how Karthik perceived the situations that every big and small turns of that one day had brought with it. It is about a process that happens within you, me and everyone in this world. It is about the thousands of unspoken words that go hidden behind a handful of words which we would use if we were to describe a day's routine. 

Sunday 7 August 2016

The Story of A Suicide by Sriram Ayer: Book Review

"Adida avala, vetra avala...." (Translation: Beat her, kill her) is a popular Tamil movie number starring Dhanush. Recently, I heard a 5-year old boy singing this song to his play mates at our children's park against a little girl because she wouldn't give way for them to play in the sand.

Imagine these little children growing up imbibing such attitudes from films and observing other male relations in their families. 'When a woman doesn't comply to his wish, hurt her' is what is seeded in their minds which becomes the reason behind several acid attacks, rape, murder cases and stalking. 

And this is in fact happened in the Swathi murder case recently in Chennai!

Tuesday 19 July 2016

The Tantric Curse by Anupama Garg: Book Review

This review is also published at my Personal Blog, Pages from Serendipity.

I could not have written this review on a better day for it's Gurupurnima tonight!

As the cover image and book title reveals, the tantric curse is about tantra, one of the spiritual  practices originating from India. The word 'Tantra' is most often associated with the fear of an unknown realm of mysticism. Another common mis-association with tantric rituals is sex. 

Author Anupama, a tantric herself, writes with deliberate sincerity the reality behind the concept, practices and rituals of tantra, in her debut fiction, the tantric curse. At the end of the book, one can certainly attain a clarity on the subject, not by enforcement or judgement but by acceptance of the truthfulness in the author's words.

Irrespective of whether a reader has an inclination towards tantra or not, this book can offer profound knowledge about the basics of spirituality. 

Sunday 5 June 2016

‘After the Floods’ – An Anthology of Short Stories by The Chennai Bloggers Club available @Chennai Book Fair (7th – 13th June)

Image Credit: Crazy Studios

The much-awaited anthology of short stories by the Chennai Bloggers Club (details below) will be available at the Chennai Book Fair from the 7th – 13th June, 2016.
Please visit stall by Sixth Sense Publications (Nos. 350, 351, 442, 443) to buy your copy.
Contact: Mr. V. Pandian - 7200050073/ Mr. R. Murugan - 7200073076
Venue: Island Grounds, Chennai

Saturday 21 May 2016

300 Days by Bragadeesh Prasanna

300 Days is a simple love story of Jai and Sravani. While Sravani is struggling within a confined relationship with Sai, Jai hopes to win Sravani's love. In contrary to the usual, complicated triangular love stories, 300 days sets off  with a smooth sail between the two main characters. Following cycles of love and separation, whether Jai finally wins her love is the rest of the story. 

The book stands out in realistically depicting the emotions beneath seven gradual stages of love as enumerated in Arabic literature, namely,
Hub - Attraction
Uns - Infatuation
Ishq - Love
Aqeedat - Reverence
Ibaadat - Worship
Junoon - Obsession
Maut - Death

(Though the course of the novel is subtitled according to the seven stages, one cannot find a brief explanation about the same in the book. However, the author, in his blog, shares his inspiration behind adapting the concept). 

300 Days is author Bragadeesh Prasanna's first book. As a debut author, he has proved his stand as a writer and as an earnest narrator. 

Saturday 23 April 2016

A Tribute to my Memorable Classical Authors on World Book Day

I must have been eleven years old when I read a full-length novel, for the first time. I remember it was on of those Secret Seven series by Enid Blyton. Though others of my age had a craze on Famous Five, Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys, I regarded Secret Seven closer to my heart. In the years that followed, Agatha Christie's were my second memorable collection of fiction. 

I wonder how rich my dad should have been to have taken me to Nungambakam Landmark and Mount Road Higginbothams every weekend in the 1980s! Ages eleven to seventeen were when I have skipped food, remained awake through nights and talked insanely about the crush I had for a few of the characters. However, until recently, I didn't know Enid Blyton and Agatha Christie were women. Yes, I assumed them to be male authors all along. 

For all the memorable moments of imagination, such authors have blessed me in my formative years, I dedicate this post on World Book Day, by bringing up their faces for readers like me who often overlooked the person who held the pen behind our childhood reads.

Friday 22 April 2016

Releasing on 1st May, 2016: The Wedding Photographer By Sakshama Puri Dhariwal

Do you love Bollywood? 

Do you love romantic comedies? 

Do you love books? 

Then this one's for you! 

Presenting Sakshama Puri Dhariwal's debut novel
'The Wedding Photographer', releasing this May.

A delicious, Breezy novel full of Fun, Sass, Heart and Wit

Penguin Books India presents

Sakshama Puri Dhariwal

A fantastic debut with wedding, love, photography, scandal and cricket – a perfect summer read!

Sunday 14 February 2016

Songs of the Mist: Volume 1 (The Monk Key Series) by Shashi

How often do we hear people fret about stressful life situations! So were the characters of the Songs of the Mist, to begin with. However, how often do we hear such people making a journey towards the Himalayas, the abode of self-realization? That's where our characters make a difference.

If you are in the process of finding  a book written with practical wisdom to aid your spiritual quests, be sure you've already reached the first step in your quest. Songs of the mist shall clear the initial mental anxieties that a seeker faces, shall make one feel consoled that after all, there are several others who are struggling with similar uncertainties of life. 

Songs of the Mist: Volume I is the first of the three-part Monk Key series. 

Wednesday 10 February 2016

Just You, Me and a Secret by Ganga Bharani Vasudevan: Book Review

Just You, Me and a Secret marks a history in my book reading experience for two reasons: This is the first complete book I've read in the digital format through Amazon Kindle Unlimited. And the first book I've read without taking a break because I just couldn't. 
Just You, Me and a Secret is a psychological romantic thriller in which the protagonist, after losing her memory in an accident, tries to regain her lost identity. Shuttling in between whether to trust or not the stories told by people around her, she finally arrives at a point where she understands what has been done to her while she remained unconscious. 

Author Ganga Bharani, as a debutante, has proved to the literary world, "Man, I have a great plot and I can write in flawless English. That was all it required to write a fantastic book."

Wednesday 3 February 2016

Ramayana: The Game of Life - Book 3 - Stolen Hope by Shubha Vilas: Book Review

As the reading continues, the deer on the footnote on the page continues to move as well, walking, running, leaping and finally gets attacked by an arrow on the last page. Sometimes, I could relate the state of the deer to the intensity of my absorption into the book. And on the last page, I felt disappointed, like the wounded deer, that the book and mostly, my learning had to come to an end. 

Re-telling Ramayana was a part of the author's intention. Yes, only a part! And the rest was imparting wisdom to the readers about significant nuances of our everyday lives. As a spiritual seeker, it has come naturally to Author Shubha Vilas.

Ramayana: The Game of Life - Stolen Hope is the third of the six Ramayana series by the author. 

Monday 25 January 2016

KLASS by Prita Yadav: Book Review

KLASS is a sports school in Pune where our protagonist, Jolene Jordan, is forced to join, by her father. Jo is determined to behave as bad as she could at her new school, hoping she will be soon expelled by the school authorities. However, the events that follow bring unexpected turns in her life and the book temporarily ends at the end of the first year of her schooling, making the readers curious for the next in the KLASS series. 

Halfway through the book, without the reader’s realization, she/he would be watching a vivid movie about KLASS. The narration is so full of life that the reading experience surpasses beyond words to render an in-depth visualization of the scenes. Friendship, rivalry, hatred, love, passion – human emotions have been well-placed throughout the plot. 

Most part of the book is in the form of conversation between the n number of characters of students and teachers at KLASS. Yet, each character is marked as a unique personality. And that’s where author Prita stands out as an extraordinary debut author. 

Thursday 14 January 2016

Nandhini's Book Reviews: 2015

Nandhini's Book Reviews completes 2 years. Amidst running behind a toddler, I am surprised that could review 25 books this year. When I look back, I don't even remember a day when I sat for more than an hour at one place with a book :) 

My heart-felt thanks to all the authors and publishers who reached out to me for reviewing this year. Every time I receive a book for review, I admire the perseverance and efforts that the authors must have poured in for their work to get published. As always, I cherished receiving free books and connecting with authors about their writing experiences. And as always, it was fascinating to realize how modest many were in re-telling their mighty tales. 

Here's a quick look into Nandhini's Book Reviews in 2015:

Book Genres of 2015

Mythological fiction has been creating a revolution among book genres in India, in the last few years. Though it demands time, I love getting deeply involved in a different period of time. I reviewed three from this genre in 2015:

I am grateful to these authors because many of us could get enlightened about a rich and fascinating past. The Curse of Brahma was a well-written and captivating fiction about the happenings before Lord Krishna's birth. The Rigveda Code was a fast-paced and interesting read about what happens years after Lord Krishna's demise. The Guardians of the Halahala surpassed all of the books I've read in this genre. 

Apart from Santosh Avvanavar books, other reviewed books that were based on societal themes and social causes were: 

Both were touchingly written and true eye openers. The Bride of Amman was a realistic fiction of how women and homosexuals are treated in the orthodox society of Jordan. The Silent Scream had my heart sink with a child sex abuse tale that keeps happening all around us but hardly gets a rescue. 

The women-centric books reviewed in 2015 were:

There's Something About You is not exactly women-centric but of a bold girls's story. The Other End of the Corridor is a story of an ordinary housewife who faces domestic abuse by her husband but finally manages to prove her self-worth. Unravelling Anjali is an interesting fiction of a new NRI bride, of she adapts to an unloving married life in Australia. Finding Ecstasy is discussed below under Memoirs.

A new genre I tried in 2015 was poetry collection. I wasn't a great fan of poetry earlier but Night Sky Between The Stars by Usha Kishore impressed me enough to become one. It speaks of Indian womanhood and how masculine supremacy has written the fate of Indian society.  
The Inscrutable Mulla Nasrudin Episodes by Jyothirllata Girija was another I reviewed in the same genre. It was a nice and witty poetry collection.

Another sort of new genre was text collection. I was in awe for Our Heritage Revisited by Anju Saha for her brief compilation of huge volumes of ancient Hindu texts.

Memoirs was yet another new genre in 2015. Finding Ecstasy by Rebecca Pillsbury  was about a woman who grows up with guilt and fear of sexuality and gradually wins her negativity and emotions. Grey & White Day Scholar by Raj Sekar was a good memoir of a middle-age man who goes back to his school to reconnect with his childhood friends.
The Prism of Life by Ansh Das was the only self-help/Spirituality book I reviewed in 2015. It was worth spending time in this short and quick read.

Favourite Book and Author of 2015

My favourite book of 2015 was Blame it on Destiny by Soorina Desai and of course, author Soorina Desai becomes my favourite author as well, not only for her stunning narrating style but also for her personal touch in connecting with a reviewer of her book. Blame it on Destiny was a breath-taking fiction with an intricately-woven plot. It shall forever stand out apart in my book shelf!

Most-reviewed Author of 2015

I need to make a special mention of author Santosh Avvanavar for I reviewed 8 of his books in 2015:

Most were simple short stories that addressed a social problem in the country. Though light and quick reads, I respect the meaning and depth of the subjects in all his books.

What was unique about book reviewing in 2015?

I am not much of a book tour participant. For the first time, I signed up with b00k r3vi3w Tours and Indi Book Reviews in 2015. 

I am glad that my review of Night Sky Between The Stars by Usha Kishore could make to the December 2015 edition of Tajmahal Book Review Journal.

And book editing opportunities from two publishers were memorable of 2015!

Tuesday 5 January 2016

Autobiography of a Yogi by Sri Sri Paramahansa Yogananda: A Tribute

We keep hearing about spirituality, yoga, meditation, kundalini awakening and salvation. For those of you who are vaguely knowledged about such terms but seeking a reliable source of sensible and practical information, Autobiography of a Yogi is a great choice. If you expect a yogi's autobiography to be a boring account of how he found God, this shall be a different kind of an autobiography for you. 

To clear any prejudice you might be having towards picking up this book:

  • You need not be a follower of Paramahansa Yogananda 
  • You don't have to have an opinion about how good a spiritual master he is. 
  • You really don't have to know a word on spirituality.
  • The book is not about Hinduism. In fact, more Biblical references than Hindu scriptures can be found throughout the book.

The book doesn't teach you to become a yogi. Rather, Paramahansa Yogananda discusses his spiritual affiliation since childhood, scientific and logical explanations about meditation, breathing techniques, past lives, reincarnation, astrology and his experiences of meeting other revered masters of India and elsewhere.