Hello there! Been a while. It is great to be back after a mini-hiatus of sorts. And I am all raring to go, sharing what I have been reading lately.
It has been one hectic Spring/Summer season with fashion weeks returning to in-person format, new launches, and lots happening on the personal front too.
I might have been away from the blog but have been reading regularly. Can’t call it a day until I read a couple of pages.
After a fairly good start to the reading year, March and April saw some great and some not-so-great books. And my first DNF of the year. I consider myself a lenient reader but cannot tolerate a book that talks of genocide in such a frivolous manner. Anyway, that’s a discussion for another day.
Here is the list of books I read these the past two months. As always, I plan to increase your TBR list a few notches.
Books I read:
The Ogress and the Orphans by Kelly Barnhill
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐, Genre: Middle Grade, Format: ARC Ebook
“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted”. That is the underlying theme of The Ogress and the Orphans by Kelly Barnhill. A charming middle-grade fairy tale from the author of The Girl Who Drank the Moon.
I highly recommend you pick it up. As a gift for a young reader or for yourself.
One For All by Lillie Lainoff
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐, Genre: YA Historical Fantasy , Format: ARC ebook
A gender-bent retelling of The Three Musketeers featuring a girl with chronic illness. A finishing school that is actually a training ground for lady spies. An assassination plot. A found sisterhood. Do I have your attention yet?
I loved the book and cannot recommend it enough. It is definitely among my favorite reads of the year.
Aanandi by Jyoti Jha
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐, Genre: Literary Fiction, Format: Audiobook
I have always tried to introduce (and re-introduce) English book readers to Hindi literature via my blog. To look beyond translated pop culture bestsellers.
A story that is as much about the state of women in India from the 1960s to the modern-day as it is about Aanandi. A story so rooted in India that it deserves to be told in Hindi. Listening to an author narrate it is a cherry on top. I highly recommend the audiobook version.
Daisy Jones and the Six
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐, Genre: Historical Fiction, Format: Audiobook
The rise and break-up of an iconic (fictional) 1970s rock band. Narrated as interview transcripts.
Daisy Jones and the Six is a kind of a book that either works for you or doesn’t. The audiobook came highly recommended but it failed to retain my attention. It also got difficult to keep up with who is who beyond a point.
The book joins a long list of popular books that did not work for me.
Zero Day by S. Hussain Zaidi
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐, Genre: Mystery/Thriller, Format: Kindle Ebook
Cyber terrorism. DDoS attack. Complete chaos in Mumbai as a result. Not something really far-fetched. And that is a scary thought.
Zero Day is quite a page-turner that is well researched. If you enjoy fast-paced thrillers, do pick it up.
Tales from the Café by Toshikazu Kawaguchi. Before the Coffee Gets Cold #2
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐, Genre: Magic Realism, Format: Audiobook
A book about time travel and second chances. Of love and loss.
Similar to Before the Coffee Gets Cold, it is a compilation of four stories. Four visitors, each of whom is hoping to travel to the past for different reasons. The book had been on my shelf for a while and I am really glad I got to reading it. I highly recommend both books in the series, although they can be overwhelming at times.
Four Aunties and a Wedding by Jesse Q. Sutanto
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐, Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Format: Audiobook
The aunties are back! Louder and boisterous than ever!
I loved the Dail A for Aunties but this sequel fell short. It did not have the charm of the former and some instances were way over the top and unbelievable, even by the aunties standard.
All said, it is an enjoyable read nonetheless. Once you suspend all logic, that is.
This Rebel Heart by Katherine Locke
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐, Genre: YA Historical Fiction , Format: ARC Ebook
There are numerous literary fictions about World War II and the Holocaust. But very few about the aftermath.
This Rebel Heart is set in Hungary during the 1956 revolution. Historical fiction with a hint of magical realism. One of my favorite reads of the year and highly recommended.
The Charm Offensive by Alison Cochrun
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐, Genre: Romance, Format: Audiobook
TV producer Dev Deshpande believes in fairy tales and happily ever afters. Tech wunderkind Charlie Winshaw is as pragmatic as it gets. All in a The Bachelor-esque style TV show setting.
The Charm Offensive is a cute romance. And one of the few that discusses mental illness without being too preachy.
Trigger warning in place.
A history of Indian Advertising In Ten-and-a-half Chapters by Ritu Singh
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐, Genre: Non-Fiction, Format: Kindle Ebook
Kharram khurram, khurram kharram! I bet you read that in a sing-song jingle way? But did you know about the Lijjat brand’s humble beginnings?
Originally titled Stark Raving Ad, this is an easy read about the journey of Indian advertising over the decades. Some as far back as the pre-partition era. All with a generous dose of nostalgia.
The Breakup Expert by Sonya Singh
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐, Genre: Romance, Format: Audiobook
The CEO of a highly successful “break-up” start-up wants to learn how to be more Indian. A lot of things can go wrong with this and unfortunately, some do.
The core of a romance read is the couple, and that is where the book disappoints. It felt too much of insta-love without a proper buildup.
Also going by the name Sari, Not Sari (I hate it when the not just the cover but the title changes based on the geo-location), it is a decent one-time read.
There are two books I am currently reading that couldn’t be more different from each other.
Onam in a Nightie: Stories from a Kerala Quarantine by Anjana Menon came highly recommended but I have mixed feelings about it.
Alongside, I am reading the ARC of Beauty and the Besharam by Lillie Vale, a gender-bent retelling of The Beauty and the Beast. I would be posting a review next week for the blog tour. Stay tuned.
Although we have only a third of the month remaining, there are a couple of books that I am looking forward to reading this month.
The first one is the anthology Disobedient Girls featuring short stories from some of my favorite authors.
I am also looking forward to reading The Living Mountain by Amitav Ghosh. An Indian climate fiction (based on a fable) is such a rarity. I plan to check out both the illustrated and audiobook versions to see how they compare.
I set myself a target of 24 books but have already crossed it in the first quarter. I am increasing the goal to 50. Seems doable as long as I get to it before the Fall madness begins.
On the Blog
I got back to writing reviews in March and April, something I enjoy as much as book lists and recommendations. There were some excellent book tour reads – The Ogress And The Orphans, One For All By Lillie Lainoff, and This Rebel Heart By Katherine Locke. And one for my recent favorite Hindi title, Aanandi.
I have signed up for the second quarter of #CauseAChatter. Stay tuned as I would be sharing some more book recommendations next month.
What have you been reading lately? Do share in the comments below.
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