Book, Book Review, review

Book Review: The Cockatiel Confessions and Other Collected Works by Lavanya Srinivasan

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Book Title: The Cockatiel Confessions and Other Collected Works

Author: Lavanya Srinivasan

Genre: Short stories

About the Author: Lavanya is a chartered accountant by profession. I find her as adept with words as she would be with numbers. She is passionate about world mythology and fantasy tales. She has authored two fantasy thrillers: “Maya & the Mind Mystics” and “The God, The Girl & The Gem”. You can read more about her and her work here- http://thelavmuse.com

Review: For me, there were two reasons to pick this book for review. Firstly, I love to read Lavanya’s work. Secondly, I enjoy short stories- as these are ‘chota packet, bada dhamaka’.

Blue Moon- Sci-fi! It takes us to a future realm, full of possibilities. It’s especially exciting to read about a new technology. It shows us a new world while portraying our current world as an ancient one. We indeed sometimes look back at the pre-computer era as an archaic one. The author subtly warns about the environmental damage being done to the planet. The story deals with the powerful yet benevolent artificial intelligence (AI). Don’t miss Wribulizer– a dream for every writer.

Sunrise & Shadows- Lavanya tells a futuristic emotional story of a woman who sacrifices her life for her mother. This story not only warns us about the overpopulation on earth but also shows a grim reality of how we humans are consuming all the resources.

Confessions of a Cockatiel- an interesting fun story told by a cockatiel. The gobblefunk words used throughout the story remind of Roald Dahl. Lavanya has imagined how it is like to be a cockatiel and how does it think. It’s good to see the world through its perspective.

The switch– There have been movies and stories written about this, nothing new in the plot. Yet, I much enjoyed this tale for the interesting style in which it was written. It comes with a message- ‘you don’t need to be in other’s shoe to understand the shoe bite.’

The gods are crazy– The story starts with a conversation, without any introduction to the characters or the plot. I feel this style loses the reader’s attention. The opening of a story needs to grab the reader’s interest. The choice- is a story which I could relate well as a mother. A mother teaches a life lesson to her son, something we mothers constantly try to do. (*Any conversation with our kids must lead to impart a valuable life-lesson 😊)

What works: I enjoy how Lavanya steps inside the mind of a mute bird or a celestial object and narrates the story through their eyes. Few stories are left for readers to draw their own conclusions. This is what a gripping short story does to you. It draws the readers in; the readers are engaged and become one with the story.

What needs improvement: I love the cover, however, the illustration matching with the title could have been more effective and appropriate. In a couple of stories, words and phrases are repetitive. Few sentences can be shortened or split into two for a breezy read.

The author has a unique voice and style, which resonates with me. I thoroughly enjoyed reading and reviewing her stories. The style is elegant with carefully crafted sentences and precision in vocabulary. All the stories are a pleasure to read.

Do read her ebook here- https://www.theblogchatter.com/download/the-cockatiel-confessions-and-other-collected-works-by-lavanya-srinivasan/

You can read my previous review of Bhumi & The Last Seychelles Flame

 

Book Review

Book Review: The Last Seychelles Flame by Medha Nagur

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Book title: The Last Seychelles Flame

Author: Medha Nagur

Genre: Romance

About the author: Medha Nagur is a blogger and a writer. You can read her blogs on http://medhanagur.com

About the book: The romantic story is about Adrija Agte, 32 years old who sets off to Mumbai to chase her dream to become “the best fashion photographer of the country”.

Review: The die-hard romantic in me was happy to review this love story. The story takes off with a dramatic beginning, we find Adrija living with her parents. Soon we learn that her parents haven’t been very supportive of her and now that she wants to make it big in a metro city, she is told by her parents “You leave the house today and you leave us forever. I am not taking you back ever again”.

Adrija does not let her parents marry her off like rest of her friends. Her parents are unsupportive yet she doesn’t let it be detrimental in following her dreams. She leaves her town in the prospect of a photography job in Mumbai. Adrija reaches Seychelles after just 2 days in the job. She lands in the beautiful place, yet her demons of the past have a way to follow her to any corner of the world. Adrija meets Om aka Jabber Jackson and soon finds herself head over heels in love.

At the start of it, you predict it to be another run off the mill damsel in distress being saved by the knight in shining armor sort of story. Yes, she is petite, delicate and she gets rescued a few times by her man. But there is more to her than that.

Characterization of Adrija’s is believable. She faces her fear, her demons. She chooses to fight in the flight-or-fight situation. She dreams of having a happy ending but she wants to earn it with dignity. Though Roonie’s insurmountable deceit and cunningness are not substantiated with any genuine reason. The readers, however, will be taken in with Om’s mannerisms crafted well by the writer.

What I liked about the book-

1- Adrija is shaken by her past, yet she doesn’t succumb. She doesn’t go running into her prince charming’s arms to be rescued. For once, she has a plan and she succeeds.

2- The romantic scene where Om proposes, is my favorite scene from the story. Though, I won’t spoil it for you.

What can be worked on-

1- The book requires editing. Some paragraphs are too small which breaks the rhythm and momentum of reading. The grammatical and spelling errors distract the reader from enjoying an interesting plot.

2-There are moments when the writer tells how brilliant Adrija’s photography skills were. However, as a reader, I needed to see it in order to believe it. More research could have helped to make the protagonist’s profession more credible and enjoyable for the readers.

It is a fun romantic story with plenty of drama which keeps the plot engaging and moving at a rapid pace. The characters develop and mature beautifully. With the romanticism hidden subtly between the lead characters, they try to resolve the issues together.

You can download the ebook free here- https://www.theblogchatter.com/download/the-last-seychelles-flame-medha-nagur/

Book Review, review

Book Review- ‘Bhumi’ by Tina Sequeria

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Book: Bhumi

Author: Tina Sequeria

Genre: Short Stories

 

Cover: Whoever said ‘never judge a book by its cover’ has not come across this book yet. For the longest time, I kept admiring the cover, it took me a while to get over it.

About the Author: Tina Sequeira is an award-winning author and blogger. Bhumi is her second book, her first book is ´Soul Sojourn‘. To read more about her, you can hop on to her blog here- http://thetinaedit.com

About the book: The book celebrates the spirits of womanhood. Tina has curated 26 short stories in the book. She portrays women’s struggle, survival, and hope. An eclectic collection of stories of real women who have desires, dreams, and means to make their dreams come true. These women are brave, independent and strong. You applaud when they overcome their struggle with dignity and grace. You laugh and cry with them because you know and understand them.

Review: (I strongly urge you to read the book first and then read the review as there are a few spoilers).

The word Bhumi means ‘mother earth’ and as Tina explains in the second story of the book –

I draw parallels
between the two Bhumis – our universal
nurturer and biological mother. Our planet
faces grave environment threat in the form of
climate change, endangered species, waste disposal
and more owing to our sheer negligence
and abuse.

The first story ‘Amma’ would surprise you. You may question what a father’s story is doing amidst the tales of women. Well, I asked the same question. Tina beautifully reveals the secret why the father rightfully deserves to be the protagonist of this story titled ‘Amma’. It stands out as one of my favorite stories of the collection.

Crazy Courage- Saira realizes her own strength and refuses to allow her daughter to be raised in a family and society with regressive mentality. My favorite quote from the story is – “my streak of craziness has saved me from extinction”.

Fat chance– You root for Ira when she deals with depression, weight issues, body shaming, lack of self-confidence. I went “Waah’ when she deletes her profile from shadi.com and joins tinder &  “Ahh” when she throws the weighing scale out of her window from her 13th floor” (I imagined it falling on somebody’s head.. :D)

Naked Illusions– The story starts with a girl in the trash. A woman named ‘Munni’ picks up the girl, takes her home and names her Rosie. You are happy to read ‘one man’s trash is another’s treasure’. But then Munni breaks Rosie’s heart (and yours too) by selling her to a brothel. It’s one thing to be betrayed by a man, it’s another to be betrayed by a woman and especially the one you call your mother. I root for Rosie and I am happy that she finds some moments of happiness towards the end.

Unbridled: Tina portrays a Feminist character with Ramona or Lady Ra Ra. Some funny wordplay, along with strong feminist views make it one of my favorite stories of this anthology.

Hush: This story makes a strong statement with “hold your head high as you bleed power… you bleed life… you bleed love”. Grey- Some wisdom nuggets we get from Ammamma – YOLO gyaan & “Be wild but also wise”. Ending- the tale of a forbidden fruit and my favorite quote of the story is “love is a myth”.

Tina in ‘Bhumi’ talks about several issues that women face e.g. body shaming, eve-teasing, being judged, late marriage, menstrual taboos, gender discrimination, blackmailing, physical- assault, rape, slut-shaming, infanticide etc. Each issue is dealt with the sensitivity that it demands and deserves. I believe, the sensitivity comes from an inner place of the author who respects women around her and the woman inside her.

I recommend Bhumi- You can download the book free- here

https://www.theblogchatter.com/download/bhumi-by-tina-sequeira/