My Treasury

Poetic pen

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

The Secret Garden By Frances Hodgson Burnett


Have you ever read a book that is predictable with every chapter and eventually you can predict it page by page, but still – you want to go on an on with it? You never ever want it to finish?

Well, the very famous children classic - “THE SECRET GARDEN BY FRANCES HODGSON BURNETT” is one such book, or at least I found it like that.

It is the story of two 10-year-old children Mary Lennox and Colin Craven living in two opposite parts of world. Both are spoiled to the highest level a child could be raised to. The story begins with Mary and how she finds her way to another part of world, makes friends and eventually, her journey to find Colin. The plot then revolves around these children discovering themselves with life and experiences and the mother nature.


I could go on and on writing more about the novel and it’s blurb, but then I honestly feel that one should really go and read it. I think, anything more written here might serve as a spoiler.


Coming to my reaction to the novel. I have already admitted that it’s one of the most beautiful books I have ever read. The book has so much simple lessons of life in store. The lessons, we all know all through but somehow tend to not acknowledge them. Also, it’s a perfect example of what a child can do to other child and why they must have a company to grow with.


Magic of mother nature, positive attitude, determination and optimism flows all through the book.


Imagine a ten-year-old making another child of same age and same level of tantrum, sleep by singing and talking softly!!!


After reading it, whenever I am asked about a book I found lovable and flawless, my answer would be “The Secret Garden’ by Frances Hodgson Burnett until I find another one like it.

Then, there is a chapter which talks about how a bird called robin feels about humans around him. He talks to his wife and it was just hilarious and true at the same time!


I cannot believe myself when I am talking with such positive attitude about a book. I think, I should just stop and leave you with that It’s a gorgeous piece of simple writing where the message, the emotions, the surroundings, everything is described just perfectly.


There were of course many lines and phrases I read and re-read. A few of them, I have put up in the post also. There are total 27 chapters and my personal favorites are "I SHALL LIVE FOREVER—AND EVER—AND EVER!" and “The Curtain”.


Would I recommend it to anyone else? Did you read the whole post? Because if you did, I need not answer it now! Go get it reader! In case you have a kindle unlimited subscription or own a kindle or use the kindle app on any device, guess what? It’s free on Amazon Classics.




If you like my review and plan to give it a shot, you may try that by above link. They point to my Amazon Affiliate and when purchased from, I get a tiny commission with no extra charge to you.

Friday, July 5, 2019

Narasimha (The Mahaavatar Trilogy #1) by Kevin Missal


The Blurb Says:
Narasimha, once a brave soldier, has left the war and lies low as a physician in a village. But a familiar face from his past seeks his help to stop the tyranny of the blind usurper Andhaka. If Narasimha refuses, the world might just end. What will he do? And why did he leave the war in the first place? Prahlad, the interim king of Kashyapuri, is torn between the ideals of his unrighteous father and his love for Lord Vishnu. Whom will he choose? Hiranyakashyap, the ruler of the Asura Empire, wants to avenge the death of his wife. To do that, he must go through the Trials and get the ultimate weapon - the Brahmastra. But the Trials have sent so many others to their death. Can Hiranyakashyap survive?

How Did I Like The Book
"Narasimha (The Mahaavatar Trilogy #1)" was my first read from the author Kevin Missal. I have read many great reviews about his previous writing and has really high expectations since the book had been doing rounds since some time on it's promotions etc.

Now that I have the book in my hands and have read it, did it meet my expectations? I would say yes and no at the same time.
First of all, I really liked the book and can recommend it for a light read to mythology lover.

What I Liked:
1. The chapters: I really liked the way the chapters were named on lead characters instead of trying to give a title to them. This also enabled me to be ready and get back to the story of another character from where I left it. Yes, if looked upon carefully, it's basically a collection of multiple stories interrelated with each other.

2. The Good and The Evil: The author has not depicted any character as a hero or a villain. It's all up to the reader what they interpret out of them and how they perceive their actions. All characters has their own positive traits along with a dark/grey side.

3. The Avatar: Of course the book is about the ultimate avatar but then we have always seen the god or the demon from various popular mythological tales where the God has this illuminating aura around it and flawless, fearless an unbeatable right from the beginning and the reverse when it comes to a demon. As the popular IndianBookTuber said, that the avatar discovers itself rather than just being there and doing his/her job.

What I Did not like:
1. The End: I know I am attracting a lot of raised eyebrows with this, but then  for me if a book suddenly leaves me in the middle of the road waiting for next bus to board until it comes out without a proper conclusion, I don't like it.
The next book might not require the earlier part to be read in order to understand and enjoy it, but then what about the people who did spend their time and energy on the first or the earlier one.

So, yes I liked the book and would have loved it even more if it had that conclusion. Apart from that, I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.

If you like my review and plan to give it a shot, you may try that by following links. They point to my Amazon Affiliate and when purchased from, I get a tiny commission with no extra charge to you.


    

Monday, July 1, 2019

"The Mind Game" by Devika Das


About The Author:
Devika Das has three books and one anthology under her writing umbrella. When not writing, Devika pursues her passion for Acting and is an active theatre artiste in Hyderabad and has featured in several short films. Read more about her at – Devika Das


The Blurb Says:
“Happiness, stress, ecstasy or depression, it’s all a mind game. As long as our mind is under our control, everything else is. That’s what The Mind Game is all about. It is not an average self-help book that preaches life-enhancing methodologies based on complex science or long philosophical verses. The book’s genius lies in its simplicity. It offers quick, actionable and instantly applicable tips that will help readers lead better lives, instantly.”


How did I find the book:
Generally, self-help books very clearly focus on either Formal or In-formal aspects. "The Mind Game" talked about less talked about topics when it comes to soft skills and managed to touch upon their effects on formal or professional lives as-well.

As the title of book mentions, it’s all about what goes in a human mind – biologically or straight from the heart. I liked the book when I started it, then I felt a little bored and had to push a little further. Then, I realized that it’s not a book to be sit down, read and finish. The reader needs a little me time and lot of thought gathering in order to get it through successfully.

What I Liked:
1. Structured: Well  yes, the book is clearly divided in six sections which goes as below and each section is further explained with multiple chapters. Another remarkable thing with this point is that that I found all sections an independent read. So tomorrow if I want to read about any particular area, I might just go back and pick it up.
            SECTION A - Mastering your emotions
            SECTION B - Simple living High Thinking
            SECTION C - Analyzing People
            SECTION D - Secret of true happiness
            SECTION E - Manage your anger creatively
            SECTION F - A happy workplace the secret to a long, successful career.

2. Less Preaching: Whatever less number of self-help books I have read, preaching is one I get to put it down very quickly. The author did a balanced nob while taking up the topics by trying to get to the point from the beginning ang not just give the try this and do that points back to back. Thus, if read with devoted time, the reader would get the psychological and medical reasons which lay at the back of common issues.

What I did not like:
1. Stories: There were a few little examples here and there, but I missed reading more. I had a major missing feeling of real-life stories and experiences all through the book. It would have been an all-together different and more refreshing read with them. The one's which did came along, unfortunately, there is none I had not read about or seen a video about.

To wrap up my thoughts, I would say that it was an average one time read which could have been much better If i had a few examples to talk about in my daily conversations like- "You know, I read a story about this in a book which said....".

Please do share your views on the book, review or anything by commenting below. I absolutely love each and every comment I receive.

If you like my review and plan to give it a shot, you may try that by following links. They point to my Amazon Affiliate and when purchased from, I get a tiny commission with no extra charge to you.





Friday, June 14, 2019

Tarikshir: The Awakening by Khayaal Patel


The 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.


The Book:
The moment my kiddo looked at the cover, he asked me if I was reading a ghost story. I smiled and told him that yes it's kind of that. He innocently told me not to read it before bed or I would have nightmares. Believe me, I gave it a thought as I read the first few pages.

The book along with mysterious creatures has a little of British rulers and the Rajput’s. There is one section where the characters discuss about Bharat being ruled by individual kings in different regions and the Englishmen being just British. I honestly think that this was the major reason of our country - despite being filled with brave and smart rulers, was ruled by someone else. They got it right - divide and rule. And they did it for over a century. So, there are a few learning here and there in the book about Good VS evil and a little history of India.

I Liked:
1. The Beginning: The prologue is so well written and truly sets the mood of reader. The very first pages was the reason I built up high expectations from the book.
2. Fantasy told simple: The language and flow of writing is very simple and can be easily understood by new readers as well.

I did not like:
1. Slow Pace: While the prologue set high expectations, I was disappointed from the first half of the book. Initially I kept my patience and waited for the actual plot to take shape, but then, half of the book had passed!
2. Confusing: While nothing much happened in the first half, the second half had too many revelations and back to back unfolding of various mysteries. For me, at many times, there was too much to divulge into and I lost track or to say it better, not able to grasp it all a few times - specially the end.

I enjoyed reading about the mythological era - and I do not care to find out if its perfection or true as per mythology. The last chapter was icing on cake - I was laughing and I am not sure if I found it funny or amusing, but yes, I liked that part.

At the end, I had mixed feelings towards the book. I liked it and at the same time, I did not like it enough. So, for me, it was an average read.


The book is available at amazon from below links:

           

Monday, June 3, 2019

Weapons of Kalki: The Book of Love - Book 1 by Ritika Kochhar

The Blurb Says:
Circa 1969, Uttar Pradesh, India

When Vishnu Vyas Thakur, who belongs to a politician's family from the Shambhala village in UP, insists on marrying Princess Parvati Devi Singh Sahib of Arjungarh, they are both aware that their child will be Kalki - the tenth avatar of Vishnu. What they are not prepared for is the viciousness with which their family will be ripped apart by the Daughters of Mara, as the evil creatures start the descent of humankind towards a kind of evil that can cause the end of the world.

It’s not just the supernatural Kalki has to contend with. Both sides of his family want to use Kalki’s fame as an Avatar for their own political and personal ends.

But even before he is born, Kalki has protectors – the most powerful of them being Parvati’s older daughter, Chandika. And then his twin sister – Kali. She’s so powerful that, even as a baby, she becomes a target for humans and immortals alike who are scared of what she’s capable of?

As Kalki gets caught in human and superhuman power struggles, Kali must survive. And to do so, like her mother and sister before her, she will have to start making choices that weigh survival against humanity and life against love.

Ritika Kochhar delivers an epic magic-realist series that is equal parts suspense and philosophy, adventure and fantasy, in this unsettling novel set in the near present.

How I Felt About The Book:

The Cover:
The image of the remains of a palace gives little justice to the book and could have been much more creative and expressive.

The Book:
It is an absolute treat for the Hindu mythology lovers. For those who follow Lord Vishnu, it's an icing on cake. It would be unfair to state here that the author clearly states in the very beginning that it's a work of fiction based on her imagination as well as versions of mythology and all characters are fictional. She also clarifies that there are many versions of each mythological story although the overall directions more or less the same. All characters are fictional.


Honestly, I do not like mythological books much and was bit confused as I started with this. To my pleasant surprise, it turned out to be an interesting fictional story engraved with a few stories I have already listened all through my childhood. There were of-course a few pages, I turned over. All off them were the lengthy descriptions of the story of the creator - it reminded me of the "Mein Samay hoon..." saga from the epic Mahabharata all Indians of my age have witnessed on the television. The fictional aspect is the one which kept me glued.


Talking about the plot and story line, I found it gripping enough to immediately head on to the next chapter. At the same time, there were section, it felt little slow. Bu then, the moment I got bored, there came a twist or a thrill to take the story to other world.

The author takes the reader back and forth to two different time periods which are centuries apart and introduces the characters which are ever debatable. All the characters have their significance in the story and were sketched quite well.


There were times, when I absolutely hated some character and then, felt so sad about some. Have a look at the below ...

"Her own family had sent her away because she was different. And her name had been changed without her consent – she no longer existed."


I actually had tears in my eyes on the fate of little girl - "Kali". Whatever the future had in store or the stars predicted, she was just a little girl who longed for nothing but love... :(

Then, below story of Rama reminded me of story my grandma used to tell us when we insisted and she was not in mood:

The story of Ram:
Once there was a Ram, and there was a Ravana. Ravana stole Ram’s wife, so Ram burnt down the village of Ravana

The story goes:
"Ek tha Raja, ek thi Rani. Dono mar gaye, khatam kahai".


To wind up my thoughts, I liked the book and am a little disappointed as I would have to read the book two whenever it comes out to complete the story. Even still, I can recommend to any lover of mythology books.

Wait, there is more. I am sure you must have noticed the little quotes/one-liners I noted in the book. There are a few more. Here is the link to them -   My Favorite lines from "Weapons of Kalki: The Book of Love - Book 1" byRitika Kochhar

The book can be brought from amazon at following links:

   

Friday, May 31, 2019

Knotty Affairs by Chirag Bagadia

The Blurb:
A land of countless customs, few things in India get bigger than a big fat wedding. A marriage is a celebration which brings families and friends together. And the ceremony ends with the tradition of the bride leaving her parents' home and moving in with her husband. The groom always has a choice-he can either stay with his parents or stay separately. However, for the bride her 'home' is now a strange place.
Meet Aakash, a young dental intern, who falls in love with Kashish. However, what he doesn't know is that winning her heart was never going to be easy. Kashish is resolute-nothing, not even their budding romance, will come in the way of her devotion to her parents.
Cut to four years later. Akash has fallen in love with Aneri, the only daughter of her parents. However, his father is clearly miffed by this development, and enlists the help of a psychologist friend to help Aakash. Furthermore, his father is also not surprised at the couple's request of entering into a live-in relationship before the marriage. But is Aakash ready to challenge the existing customs for his love? Is he prepared to go to any lengths to see that his love does not shed another tear?
Take this tradition-defying journey with Aakash, Kashish and Aneri as they dare to delve deeper into the web of love and relationships. Warm up to their crazy antics which will leave you wondering-why can't this be my story?!

The Cover:
The title of book goes well with the cover. Anyone with the first glace would easily predict that the book revolves around marriage(s). But as they say - "Never judge a book by it's cover", there is more in store.

How Did I Like The Book:
"A daily soap opera" is the phrase which comes to my mind when I try to describe this book in words less than a sentence. In no way I want to take it to negative direction. Daily soaps are addictive at the end - arn't they. Yes, The story is actually apt for the base of some new TV series which could be enjoyed by all generations.

It's not a love story but a true family drama in all senses.. The writing and narration is smooth and writer was successful in gaining the interest just when I felt bored. There is a good mix of short twists and turns right till the very last page. The plot felt very much relatable and strike the right chord of current generation when it comes to align with their parents.

Being a girl whose own only brother is living abroad could relate to the whirlpool of various emotions portrayed in the story. I must mention that I and my husband have had the discussion of very much live-in relationship the novel is set around many times. Obviously, we expect the same amount or may be even more intense opposition from our parents if we ever need to get it in action.

Picture below extract:
"‘Dad just asked me yesterday why I am not ready to settle down with a family in Pune or Ahmedabad? What is wrong with settling abroad if the proposal is really good?"...

I was smiling while reading it as I have had similar discussion with my grandfather many years ago when I turned down the co called dream marriage proposals stating that I do not want to go and settle abroad forever away from my parents.

What I Did Not Like:
1. The two halves: I know it seems strange, but I had issues with both halves of the book. The first half seemed exactly similar to "Two States by Chetan Bhagat" while the second half felt a bit dragged along.
2. Character of Kinjal: Since it was a family drama, I would have love to read more about Kinjal and her bonding with Akash - her brother.

Guess what, I managed to sneak two one-lines among all the melodrama - a thing which is quite difficult to find in new Indian writings and when it is there, it's too much to take a note! Hope you noticed them in between my talks about the book. Here they go:



The book can be brought from amazon at below link:

  

Monday, May 27, 2019

Lady in Red: A Collection of Love poems by Shankar Kashyap



Blurb:

A collection of love poetry like no other. There are forty five poems composed in different formats to suit the mood of the poem - Sonnet, ballad, Ode, Villanelle and Tanka. or those interested in Persian poetry, there are many in the form of Ghazals and Rubaiyat too.



The cover:
The cover page I found a little average and could have been much more attractive and romantic.

About The Book:
As mentioned on the cover page, it is a collection of love poems. There are 45 short poems which includes sonnet, Tanka, Acrostics, Ode, Rubaiyat, Rondeau, Triolet, Minute poem, Ghazal and a few more. The title - “Lady In Red”, is based on one of the poems from the book.

The very fact that these are love poems attracted me to the book. The poems are mostly love struck and depict the feelings of man towards his lady love. The language and choice of words is very simple and that makes the rhyming lines easy to interpret.

Although I am all ears and eyes for love stories, at a certain point, I felt too much of it! The author did added a few poems about betrayal and lost love - but that came towards the end of book. Also, I could very easily spot repetition of thought process, phrases and comparisons all throughout the poems.

Apart from these small hiccups, I feel that it’s a one time light read and definitely a great source to add those little sticky notes to your loved one!

Grab the book from amazon at below link:

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Scepters of Empyrea: A Journey to the Andromeda Galaxy by Vignesh Ravichandran

The Blurb Says:
Empyrea, an island in the Andromeda galaxy belonging to planet Vathura is serene. Everywhere your eyes turn, you will feast on the lovely birds singing their heart out in the lush green vegetation. Osiris Mysterio ruled the regions of Empyrea with his brother Tyrant Seth and with their children Pitheceus Babi, Kraity Wadjet, and Horus Mysterio.

5000 years ago, the ancient Egyptians were the only humans to receive the invitation to enter Empyrea. They gladly on-boarded into a Pegasus chariot and took their journey to Empyrea. Their journey is indescribable. Empyrea by itself was like a fairy-tale garden, an ocean of flowers and exotic trees.

As the Egyptians went further inside Empyrea, they saw its netherworld. They had mixed feelings when they saw the triangle shaped tombs and the bizarre headhunting people. Empyrea also had the blood-curdling creatures like the deadly dinosaurs, gigantic snakes, furious apes, ruthless rhino’s, massive mastodons and many other creepy creatures. This showed the power of the Empyrean Army and that no other army could survive their wrath.

The Emperor Osiris and the kings ruled Empyrea with powerful Scepters. With those powers, they were not only considered as kings but also worshipped as Lords. The Lords with the help of their scepter had the crucial power to transform themselves into giant creatures.

Egyptians while departing from Empyrea was gifted with a shortcut portal to earth and also with some people and creatures of Empyrea to build the Empramids in Egypt. Overwhelmed with happiness they took the shortcut door and returned to Egypt.

However, the happiness was short-lived in Empyrea. The Empire of Empyrea was betrayed for ruling earth avariciously. Somehow the Emperor of Empyrea locked the shortcut portal and asked the Egyptians to safeguard it. The Egyptians, on the other hand, failed to safeguard the portal. And some gangsters accidentally opened the shortcut door in 2017 A.D, entered Empyrea, and inadvertently got access to the Lord scepters.

So, now the Earthians were left with no choice but to battle against the merciless predators and headhunting people in their heroic journey. Their ultimate fate lied in an empire beyond imagination. They would take their stand against the powerful lords, who brutally led their people to war against planet Earth.

Did the gangsters protect the earth from danger, or left the other world to accomplish their tyrant rule on Earth? Explore the world of Empyrea to unravel the truth behind this mystery.



The Cover: A white ape humongous in size and a small but equally confident looking green man facing it with calm... To be honest, I did not pay attention to the cover until I entered the fantasy world and then obviously went back to it to refer and verify what I read and imagined. So yes, I do like the cover page. It does not spill any beans and is relevant with the theme.

How did I like the book:

In the minimum words possible, I would call this book as an absolute page turner. Treasure hunt, pyramids, life beyond pyramids, puzzles, Serpents, Dinosaurs, Gorillas, Mammoths, White magic, Dark Magic, modern day action, laughter, tears... Name an element of Hollywood movie and it's there.

I would not say that it was a perfect read - I noticed some typo's here and there mostly related to tenses (The author moved to and fro in present and past tenses a lot) which did break down the enthusiasm. Although a parts were a little predictable, but yet, there was a smooth blend of two worlds!!!

I could not stop laughing at the mention of Thunder god - Thor!!! Seriously, there was no need of taking a cue from Avengers! Then, who would ever imagine a call from bank for a credit card when you are fighting for your life!!!

The language of the book felt simple and easy to go along. I also liked the narration style - the fantasy world was all alive right in front of my eyes while reading it. Yes, It's a thick book and I did skimmed through a few pages - specially the war part, But I am still impressed and really liked it. The little illustrations also helped me relate to the imagination as a reader. Only if they were as in number as portrayed in the trailer! But then, I did admire the ones which were there.

Truly I am pleasantly surprised at the fact that it's Mr. Vignesh Ravichandran's debut novel. Would I recommend it to anyone? Definite yes to any fantasy lover.

PS: I wanted to give 3.5 stars (0.5 stars minus for the typos, grammatical errors), but then since I did enjoy it, I preferred to get the author an upper hand... :)

Buy the book at amazon:
          

Monday, April 29, 2019

Golden Goose & Other Stories

The school my elder son goes to allows birthday gifts to be distributed in schools but only story books or small useful educational materials. This hardcover is among the gifts he received from his friends on their birthday.


“Fairy Tales for Early Readers – ‘Golden Goose & Other Stories’” is a collection of three fairytales. I would not lie and say that the kiddos love it. Actually, they have only read the first story yet (the book stays with us for almost an year I think!), but yes he did like it. The stories in the same order are:

The Golden Goose
Peter and the Wolf
The Red Shoes


As mentioned on the back page, the book has one big picture on each page along with short sentences written in required big enough font. There are also few phonic/sight words on the picture to help kids learn and understand – pictures speak better than words. Also, each story is followed by a small activity wherein the child needs to match the words with their pictures – surprisingly, children learn them very fast.


Similar sets of books are always available with almost all publishers dealing in children books. The best idea I think is to go over a counter, have a look around, turn a few pages and get one or two.


Fireman Sam: The Famous Fireman




There would be hardly any child – boy or girl who is not fascinated by firemen and fire-engines. All children have a fireman and a fire engine in their toy collection at least once in their childhood. Thus, I knew this is going to be a gem in my kiddo’s collection the moment I saw it.



Here is the blurb I made:
Fireman Sam: The Famous Fireman is the story of a fireman Sam who aspires to be a popular celebrity. But there is one hurdle in his way. What’s the hurdle and what would he do?



What I like the most about this book is the ability to read in two ways as mentioned on the cover as “read aloud, read along, read alone”. Yes, one page has a little detailed story while the adjacent page has its summary in maximum two to three lines. This amazing feature is missing from the kindle edition – from what I saw in the preview.



This book was among the 4-5 books kiddo remembered by heart. He would tell the story with lights turned off when I did not read  owing to the fact we got late for sleep and had to get up on time next morning. 

Now, the fun part: Lifelines have learned that the back cover of the books have list of other books in same series. Every time they like a book, they look at the back cover, find out which one’s they have and have thus made a huge wish list from the rest.

While it’s a great book, there is another story the kids love to read, listen and watch – “Mater the Fireman”. It’s one of Mater’s tall tales based on the episode where Mater the firefighter rescues Lightening from fire. I am going to share more on this in another post. Stay tuned.