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.

Saturday, 2 January 2016

I don't wear sunscreen by Kavipriya Moorthy: Book Review

Two girls being friends since childhood is a unique relationship. They would hold hands while walking on the road; they would feel jealous when the other gets closer to a new acquaintance and they can't blurt their hearts out better to anybody else.

There hasn't been a formal proposal yet between the boy and the girl. But their relationship is apparently heading a romantic way. They know that it's only a matter of time before the ice gets broken and they are relishing the best phase of their love story. 

All of a sudden, after a train journey, the would-be boyfriend becomes a question mark, the job that she's been dedicated to, slips away and eventually, the best friend walks away from her life. To add to her misery, she is confused without the missing links which she suspects to be connecting the circumstances. And she ends up in a neurotic state. 

I don't wear Sunscreen is a fast-paced tale of Lakshya which carries, till its last page, emotions and suspense of  a myriad of things that could happen to a young Indian girl.