The Forest of Enchantments by Divakaruni Chitra Banerjee

Book #1 of 2019

In a glance:

The Ramayana, one of the world’s greatest epics, is also a tragic love
story. In this brilliant retelling, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni places
Sita at the centre of the novel: this is Sita’s version. The Forest of
Enchantments is also a very human story of some of the other women in
the epic, often misunderstood and relegated to the margins: Kaikeyi,
Surpanakha, Mandodari. A powerful comment on duty, betrayal,
infidelity and honour, it is also about women’s struggle to retain
autonomy in a world that privileges men, as Chitra transforms an
ancient story into a gripping, contemporary battle of wills. While the
Ramayana resonates even today, she makes it more relevant than ever,
in the underlying questions in the novel: How should women be treated
by their loved ones? What are their rights in a relationship? When
does a woman need to stand up and say, ‘Enough!’

‘What occurred when I was alone in the darkness, under the sorrowtree, you don’t know. You don’t know my despair. You don’t even knowmy exhilaration, how it felt – first in the forest and then in Ayodhya– when I was the most beloved woman in creation.

I had already decided to pick women-centric books for this year and
The Forest of Enchantments happened to be my first read of 2019.

How deep impacts this book has left on me I cannot describe. As my name is one of the names by which Sita was dearly addressed, hence I have
always been eager to read more about her.

I have gone through some of
the originals of Ramayana’s translations and of some other retellings but this one remains the best I have come across.
If you want to stand up against wrongdoing, if you want to bring about change, do it in a way that doesn’t bruise a man’s pride. You’ll have a better chance of success.

The book as we all know is a retelling of the great epic by Sita –
Sitayan. It’s been heavily embedded by some powerful quotes and a
narrative so powerful that it can give you shivers as it talks of
heroism and nobilities.

I will conclude it here with one of the quotes from the book which speaks about love and resentment:
The more love we distribute, the more it grows, coming back to us from unexpected sources and it’s corollary: when we demand love, believing it to be our right, it shrivels, leaving only resentment behind.

This is one of the books which will stay with me for a long time!

Book Review| Tarikshir by Khayaal Patel

Blurb:

A small princely state in Rajasthan is the last bastion of resistance against the might of the British Empire. While unrest surrounding the sudden death of the king of Devangarh grows, young prince Rudra Pratap Chauhan prepares to ascend the throne.

But the kingdom is in turmoil. The Devangarh army is outnumbered and the British forces are closing in. To make matters worse, Rudra discovers the king’s death may not have been accidental after all. The strange appearance and disappearance of a mysterious hooded stranger and a series of ritualistic murders in which the bodies have been drained of blood, spread panic across the realm.

As Rudra struggles to manage his new responsibilities and investigate his father’s death, dark secrets will be uncovered that will disrupt life as he knows it.

Publisher:

Westland

Review:

This book can be said to be a work of well researched facts of history and mythology and reveals the pen power of the author to create more of such intriguing works.
The prologue itself is captivating enough to demand immediate attention and thereafter I devoured this book in a single night. The book opens with a brief account of life of valikesh (a monkey warrior from Lord Hanuman’s army) and his confrontation with an invisible enemy in the remains of Ravana’s palace after the war.

The story further processed up and gained pace as the chapters opened up in Rajputs of Devangarh. The quest of crowned prince Rudra, to find the reason behind the mysterious death of his father added up to the unfolded mysteries that he was yet to discover.

You should pick this one up if you have a vibe for fantasy and mythology.

Thank you writersmelon for the review copy. All the opinions are my own and unbiased.

Ratings:
🌟🌟🌟🌟/5

Book Review| Cricketchya Aishwarya| Neeta Nitin Chaple

Blurb:

Through this book, “Cricketchya Aishwarya,” author Neeta Nitin Chaple has put in her sincere efforts by compiling the journeys of different people and women cricketers who have helped Women’s Cricket gain a strong foothold in our country. Putting aside and overcoming her own personal grief of losing her daughter, she has come up with this book about women’s cricket which shows her devotion towards the game.

Review:

It is really difficult to cope up with life after being stabbed by the loss of a dear one, we all have been in that difficult phase and we all had our own ways out of it. Neeta Chaple is sharing her’s in this book. After losing her daughter this sportswoman found solace in sports and literature, and hence decided to create a melange of both– the result of which is the book Cricketchya Aishwarya.

The book isn’t entirely a work of fiction nor is it non-fictional completely, it’s a balanced farrago of both. Opening up to a list of female cricketers and followed by an emotional author’s note this book also offers an elaborated guidance for the budding cricketers along with a brief insight of the history f game and it’s rise in India specifically in Maharashtra.

Overall we can draw a conclusion that this book is a read-worthy amagamlation of sportsmanship embroidered with the feelings of a mother along with the spirit of laws of nature.

Ratings:

3/5

Book Review| When the Chief fell in Love| Tuhin A. Sinha

Blurb:

Vihaan Shastri, India’s young and dynamic Defence Minister, comes under attack when 20 soldiers are killed during a terrorist strike at an army camp in Kashmir.

With the whole country seething with rage and thirsting for revenge, and the government depending on him to resolve the crisis, Vihaan finds himself battling a strange distraction: Zaira Bhat, the only woman he has truly loved, is back in his life, after 12 long years. In a chequered relationship which began with a love affair in 1990, and which had the two love and lose each other twice at different stages of life, Vihaan and Zaira now find themselves in an extraordinary situation.

While Vihaan is the defence minister of the country, Zaira is the daughter of Kashmir’s leading, and most wanted, pro-Pakistan separatist leader, Bilal Mohammad Bhat. Is Vihaan capable of pulling off a double coup? Can he win back the love of his life and also save an on-the edge Kashmir? Come, be a part of Vihaan and Zaira’s crazy journey as they make their way through learning what it is to love someone eternally . . .

Disclaimer:

I received a copy from writersmelon in exchange of an honest review.

Review:

Ever felt torn in between what you want to do and what you should do? That feeling of tearing apart in two halves is described by the author in a way that it drills your heart and let you bleed until you read it till end. The Blurb has enough to say about the story though Vihaan being a character to whom my heart goes out.

Tuhin Sinha is known for making youth aware about politics and related issues with his interactive narration and catchy storylines. I got a chance to have my hands on one of his non fictions – daddy. It was a parent’s guide from a father’s perspective. I made sure that I will definitely read more of his works and trust me I don’t regret doing so!

When Chief fell in Love is a beautiful amagamlation of what heart wants and what it can allow. From bleeding Kashmir to bleeding feelings of Zaira and Vihaan, from the hindu college to the political insights everything has it’s own soul in this story.

Ratings:

4/5

Buy your copy from here.

Book Review| Woman with many faces| Arpan Banerjee

About the author:

Arpan Banerjee was born in the year 1964, in Kolkata, formerly known as Calcutta. He holds a Bachelor’s degree from Calcutta University, and is presently working in a private manufacturing unit in Jamshedpur. He is an ardent reader and lover of literature and art. A newcomer in this path he tries to evoke the complexity and simplicity in the life of a ‘Woman’, as a mother, wife, secretary, student, friend, and girlfriend. Through the three short stories in this book, he has made an attempt to portray the various faces of a woman. There are sentimental, passionate, tender, un-ethical, and loving moments in every woman’s life which this fiction evolves into. WOMAN with MANY FACES Read, you shall discover!

In a glance:

The book appears to me like a female oriented novel in the first look, but as one flips through the pages- 3 beautiful short stories unfold. The stories picture different shades of women.

My verdict:

Strong firm and fragile- A woman being a melange of all the qualities mentioned above. The author has taken a step to project women in all the scenarios and they turn out best in all of them.

This book being a combination of three stories present different faces of women and hence the title stands apt for the book. The book cover and the narration style of author, pictures a melodious tuning of his thoughts. This being a debut book has a potential to attract readers (specifically females and males who want to understand females better).

I will conclude it on a note that this is a fictional representation of author’s observations which seeps into the reader.

Ratings:

4/5 (Pick it now!)

Book Review| Nice Men Finish Last| Pravesh Vir Siddhu

Blurb

Bad ones get into the pants, whereas the good ones get friend-zoned.Bad ones have a blast and the good ones suffer.Bad boys take it all, while Nice Men Finish Last.Nandu pays an unfair price for being nice; he is dumped by his girlfriend.Depressed by the brutal break-up, he follows in the footsteps of his womanizer friend Sattu, who firmly believes that nothing good ever happens to a nice man.Duly brainwashed to shed his lovelorn avatar, along with the skin of the nice man, Nandu gets a character reboot. Things change rapidly, as he uses lies and all the unfair means to score girls. It works wonders for him till he realizes how powerful karma is. That makes him come out of this transitional filthy state, choosing to become a nice man again.That’s when he falls in love with Tanishq – a beautiful dentistry student.Will he be able to win her heart being a nice man or do nice men really always finish last?

In a glance

The book will create a shady image in your mind with the title and the mist will be cleared with the climax! A well narrated tale of the good turning bad and a circle of karma to be followed!

Narration: 

The narration and storyline is unique and makes this book stand apart from the rest. The narration being lucid with reader friendly vocab and easy terms. This makes this book a good one time read as it connects with the reader easily.

Characterization:

Nandu and Noor being a regular normal young couple who is dating. Noor goes off from his life and Nandu is left heartbroken. The story is woven tightly with the character of Nandu who is very naive and innocent. On the other hand Sattu is just opposite, and influential who influenced Nandu and converted him into a womaniser. Then Tanishq entered and justified the law of karma. All these characters are woven and plotted in the story in a very unique manner. 

My Verdict:

This book is a lifesaver for the ones who are bored with normal romance and love stuff. This book justifies the circle of karma in a very interesting manner. This book would be a good one time read and you would not regret picking up this one! 

Book Review- Rafflesia: The banished Princess by Gautam

Paperback: 397 pages

Publisher: Leadstart Publishing Private Limited; First edition (20 March 2017)

Language: English

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Blurb:

“Rafflesia: The Banished Princess”
The curtains draw up. Lights are dimmed. The musical is about to begin. As the beautiful princess descends on stage, the mythical creatures from her kingdom come alive. Flickers of brilliant colours
blaze across as mesmerising music pulsates from one corner of the theatre to the other. A fairy tale is about to unfold…

As young children, we often come across things that stay in our hearts forever. For Appu, it is a fairy tale about a beautiful princess. He lives with her in a world filled with the magical creatures from her kingdom until the real world beckons. A reluctant Appu steps into it as a striking young man and struggles to find his place.

What follows is an evocative tale of love and loss, friendship and betrayal, as the story travels through the snow-peaked mountains of Arunachal to the golden deserts of Jaisalmer, the tulip gardens of
Holland to the lush greens of Kerala. Does Appu find what he had set out for? The answer lies in Rafflesia — The Banished Princess because in her story, lay his!”

In A Glance:

Rafflesia can be said to be a fairy tale which starts dwelling in the real world. A story of Appu (Apurva Sharma) who had received a gift of two books and they had left a great impression on his sprouting thoughts. Appu grows up to a Silent, timid and depressed man. He finds his escape in a world which was not existing anywhere else but in his mind.

Narration:

As a debut author Gautam has done appreciable efforts as the storyline is unique and can keep the reader enraptured with the uniform pace. The way he has managed to switch between the past and present of the scenarios is really rare to be found in young authors. The life journey of Appu is described in a very descriptive manner which made this book a lengthy one.

Characterization:

Appu and Rahul’s friendship and their bond have been so realistic that one could see it all happening in front of them. Besides that, the way of portraying the emotions is very interesting and covers the lengthy paragraphs which actually added to the length of the book.

Book Cover and Title:

The outer appearance of the book can make one think it to be a fantasy fiction which is not exactly what it is. The book cover and title do not go hand in hand with the story and can mislead the reader.

My verdict:

Overall this can be said to be an interesting and out of the box read which can make you think several things at the same time and can leave you dwelling in the space of imagination for a while. At a few places, the book and story become monotonous and boring due to overstretched paragraphs. With a few editing mistakes but comparatively reader friendly language – Rafflesia can be a good one time read.

Ratings:

4/5.

Book Review- The Crossroads by Sudipta Mukherjee

Blurb:

“The Crossroads is a story of Aparajita Basu, a girl from a humble household of Kolkata, who tears away from her family to settle her roots in America, with her childhood friend, Aniruddha. To Aparajita, he is everything she ever wanted. Love dwindles slowly. Fate turns in a blink. Dishearten, she returns, not to her hometown but to a different city, where she finds herself a stranger. Haunted by her disturbed thoughts, obsessed by that one name, she finds no escape… until she discovers herself standing on a new crossroads. An ordinary girl, who loses herself to love. A lover, who turns out to be a betrayer. A friendship born on a stormy night. Wisdom bred out of miseries. A homecoming that completes one full cycle. Three Cities… Two Friends… One Girl… One Story. ”

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In A Glance:

As the blurb specifies, this book is about a girl who flies off to fulfil her dreams and get settled in America. This is a story of being rooted and returning back to the soil in which you grow. A story of its own kind.

Narration:

 The narration and storyline is intact — which goes well with the characters and the book. Falling in love — budding dreams — ambitions — and all of it crashed suddenly with a thud — how life is transformed with the series of such events. This book offers a captivating account of that. 

Characterization:

 The characters go well with the storyline but the story creates a bit boredom in first half but the characters never felt falling apart from the storyline. 

My Verdict:

The genre is unique yet alluring to the readers. I would like to congratulate the author for making a brave choice for her debut book. The book showcases the life transforming journey of Aparajita Basu. The story and narration being appreciable for a debut author and the storyline has been kept intact; which can hook the reader till the end. 

Ratings:

3/5 ( a good read for people who love to travel a lot!) 

Book Review- Empire of the Gods by Rajendra Kher

Paperback: 168 pages

Publisher: Leadstart Publishing Private Limited 

Language: English

Blurb:

Who were the Gods? Were they super-humans who came to Earth from outside our solar system? Were these aliens considered Gods by early Man because they arrived in illuminated spacecraft and possessed advanced knowledge?
Were these ‘Gods’ responsible for establishing religion on Earth?
What do the Inca, Maya, Sumer and Indian civilisations tell us of the existence of Gods?
Are the Seven Worlds (likes), the territory of the Gods? What happened to them? Where did they vanish?
Empire of the Gods delves with defining insight into the proofs that exist in scientific research, the writings of eminent thinkers, as well as India’s ancient scriptures and epics, about the presence, activities and characters of the Gods.
It also looks at how to attain the bliss promised by the Gods, the existence of an afterlife, and ways of meditation free from ritual.
This deeply researched and riveting narrative casts the clear light of logical reason on areas and concepts we have perhaps only imagined or thought of as science fiction.

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In a Glance:

This is a non-fictional read and belongs to a very unusual genre — Our existence. This book throws questions at you and helps you dwell in the answers as well. The story is divided into three parts. In the first part, the author talks about the Devas as the super humans. He tries to link the flying chariots with the outer space objects and presents Devas as the Superhumans. The second part dwells on the formation of the world and the creators. The third and conclusive part preaches about the theories of karma.

Narration:

The narration of this book is very intriguing and enchanting. It can be understood from the fact that I devoured this one in one sitting as it quizzes the reader and keeps dwelling on the answers at the same time. I cannot say that this book is solving the mysteries of human existence but this surely is going to make a few things clear. The theory of karma and the rise of virtuousness being my favourite chapters. We cannot talk about the characters of this book because there aren’t any precise characters to be described.

My Verdict:

This book gives a light to your intellectual sight and clears out the vision which is quite necessary to be done for the youth in the current scenario. I think this book is a must read for everyone as it introduces a very intense topic in a very light and cosy manner. The book doesn’t create boredom and keeps going with the flow that remains uninterrupted with the flowing narration.

Ratings:

4/5 (Pick this one if you like to read spiritual stuff!)

Book Review- The Youngster Who Became a Spy by Sanjay B. Tari

Paperback: 196 pages

Publisher: Frog Books 

Language: English

Blurb:

“The book is a thriller, set in the 3rd and 4th Century AD, about a youngster who navigates his way through to the upper echelons of the state’s administration through determination. The newly acquired territory of Kaunse, in the ancient kingdom is at the crossroads of conspiracy. Deepo, a dynamic youngster, who is a typical citizen, rises to the occasion of spying for his beloved kingdom. His effort, skill, dedication, and an uncanny ability to survive and thrive in the utmost inhospitable conditions, save the kingdom from disaster on more than two occasions. The visionary emperor alters the way of thinking of the common man and in the process enriches the entire administrative machinery. The spy, the emperor, or his advisors are unaware about the threats to their kingdom. A certain turn of events over a period causes uneasiness within the empire. A thrilling training of spies, their tests, a meticulously planned intelligence operation, and chase, and finally the search of the unknown follows.”

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In a glance:

The story has been set up in the 3rd century. It’s a story of courage and patriotism that has been carried by Deepo — A youngster who saved his kingdom by his dedication, skill and uncanny ability to survive.It is a thriller cradled in the lap of history…

Narration:

Sanjay has done a commendable job in his debut book as he opted for an unusual genre and his well-researched narration is reflected in the narration. Though the story loses its track in first-half but gets a gripping comeback in the second half. Overall we can say that the narration is average but I appreciate the level of research done for the text.

Characterization:

Characters are lively and play their respective roles in such a way that it leaves you to spell bound at times. Deepo being the main lead has all the charms and qualities to get all your attention throughout the read.

My Verdict:

The youngster who became a spy is a book which would be enjoyed by teenagers and can be read for a weekend getaway. Being set up in an early era the book is a good work of fiction and has a grasping narration which can bind the readers. Deepo being a face of change and courage has a story that should be read and enjoyed thoroughly.

Ratings:

3/5 ( Grab it if You want to read historical-thrillers)